Re: Definition of Racism (without rent-a-riot)

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Sat Aug 11 2001 - 08:52:30 MDT

Harvey Newstrom wrote:
> Mike Lorrey wrote,
> > I don't. Saying blacks have a cultural predisposition to like jazz music
> > isn't any more racist than saying that Japanese people have a cultural
> > predisposition to like sushi. Neither are racist statements, nor do they
> > exclude the possibility that people not of those cultures could also
> > like jazz or sushi.
> I think that this is technically racist. It is may not be negative, it may
> not be positive. It may be not true, it may not be false.

Come ON Harvey! Did I say that they were genetically predisposed? No, I
did not. Recognising that members of certain cultures, as a result of
being canalized in those cultures, have predispositions toward certain
activities, behavior, attitudes, etc. is NOT racist. If you think it is,
your definition of racism is HIGHLY messed up. Is saying "Americans have
a cultural predisposition toward baseball and apple pie" racist?

> > I doubt anyone here would say my statements about jazz or sushi lovers
> > are racist. It is only when such cultural generalizations are made which
> > illustrate members of that culture in a negative light do people try to
> > apply the 'racist' label to them. If it doesn't work for positive
> > statements but does for negative statements, it's not racism.
> I disagree. This is where some people get screwed up saying that unfair
> discrimination is racist while affirmative action to undo unfairness is not
> racist. Both policies are racist whether they are intended to help or harm.
> Both policies are racist whether they turn out to be truthful or fictitious.
> Decision-making based on race is racism no matter what.

Both policies are racist because someone is always harmed by either
form. There is no positive net benefit of either policy.

> This is where I strongly argue for objective definitions. The defense
> against racism should not be "but it's true!". Or else any racist activity
> could be defended as not racist. Hitler would claim he was not racist
> because Jews really are subhuman. Is this a defense? I don't think so. He
> was still evaluating a whole group based on their race not on their
> individual merits. This is the definition of racism. Negativity or
> Falsehood do no have anything to do with it. Otherwise, there would be no
> discussion. Nobody would choose the side of negativity and falsehood.

This is really bull, Harvey. Hitler (I'll overlook the fact that you've
hitlered yourself out) could claim anything. If it was not supported by
the facts (i.e. IQ, academic achievement, economic achievement, etc)
then his claim is baseless and is therefore racist. If it is true, he
would simply be recognising actual facts, despite the fact that he is
Hitler, and therefore his opinion is automatically demonized in the
minds of the members of this list.

Are these racist statements?:

"White guys can't dunk"
"White folk can't dance"
"Only blacks have soul"
"Jews are a gutter race"

Every one of these statements have not only been made by prominent black
leaders, but are generally accepted among the black minority as true.

> > But what about actions that indirectly causes people of one race to be
> > treated predominantly different than other races, for instance,
> > geographic based discrimination (like 'risky zip code' restrictions on
> > mail order deliveries to zip codes with high fraud rates)?
> This is not based on the race of the person ordering the item. Therefore it
> is not racism. It may effect more blacks than whites because of the racial
> makeup of a particular zip code. But whites and blacks in that zip code are
> treated the same. In fact, no one knows the race of the recipient of any
> piece of mail. No decisions or even knowledge of race enter into this.

Ah, but liberals say that this IS, in fact, racism. For example, a
recent court case actually said that these 'risky zip' policies are
racist, and court cases have also ruled that banks that make loan
decisions (especially for mortgages and cars) even partly on zip code of
the customer are practicing racism.

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