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

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Sat Aug 11 2001 - 13:17:40 MDT

Harvey Newstrom wrote:
> Mike Lorrey wrote,
> > Come ON Harvey! Did I say that they were genetically predisposed?
> Mike, you are ignoring the fact that genetics is not part of the definition
> of racism. I can find no dictionary definition that says racism is based on
> genetics. All the definitions I can find describe racism as any attitude
> that groups, distinguishes, prejudices or discriminates based on race. Any
> such grouping is racism.
snip many definition links...

Frankly, I don't care what *current* dictionaries say a word means.
IMHO, one reason today's society is so screwed up is that everyone has
their own damn definition of things, so that people get pissed off at
other peoples statements over meanings that were not intended, among
other things.

Today's dictionaries are as screwed up as today's society. Part of this
is from the propaganda and disinformation of demagogues, as I've
illustrated in past essays (if you haven't read them yet, Harvey, I
really suggest you read them).

Some people may think a word means something, when by rational semantic
analysis one can determine that objectively, it does not. Dictionaries
only record what many people think are different meanings of words.
Dictionary people today generally do not make strict calls as to whether
words actually do mean what some people think they mean.

For example, one can easily expose how non-genetic based statements
about cultural groups cannot be said to be racist when they are
describing cultural characteristics.

Races are not cultures, though in some geographical areas of the world,
most members of one race tend to share common cultural characteristics.
Thus making statements about those cultures are improperly misconstrued
to apply to the race in general when they are simply being applied to
the members of that culture to which most members are of one race.

In the US, it is a fact that blacks do generally have an overall culture
which is different from that of whites. There are of course sub-cultures
within that culture, but it is not racist to describe characteristics of
that culture, and there are some whites which ascribe to that culture,
or subcultures of it (i.e. white rappers, rastafarians, etc). You would
have to invent a new term, like 'culturist', to describe such
characteristics. Delineating between culturism and racism is of
paramount importance, and being strict about not conflating the two is
doubly so.

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