Re: Is white racism nec. all bad?

Lane Singer (
1 Apr 1995 23:46:01 GMT

In <3lkid3$> (Frank Forman) writes:

> Is the fall of communism now so far in the hoary past that
>Soviet mental hospitals have been utterly forgotten? Several responders
>to this thread have stated that racism is a mental disorder. So off to
>the booby hatch go those who espouse racism, however defined!
> I exaggerate perhaps, for Lane Singer, at least, said racists
>"suffer from a neurotic disorder, called racism, that requires
>compassion and treatment just like any disorder." I am glad for the
>compassion business, but I notice that she didn't say what she would do
>to those who are not responding to the treatment. Maybe she would have
>treated only those with advanced cases of racism, reserving only the
>tools of propaganda and mass education for less serious cases.

Who's propagandizing here? Weren't you just writing about rhetoric
on another thread? Jeeze!

It is most important that you realize that educating people to the
truth about racism has nothing whatsoever to do with propaganda, any
more than teaching children not to steal is imposing "propaganda" on

> It's hard to say, though, since I have no idea what she would
>regard as an advanced case of racism, for the thing itself is undefined.

You want a definition? Look in the dictionary. It's simple. You only
try to obfuscate the real meaning because you seek a =new= definition,
a term that isn't so justifiably despised.

>When I posted the original article that got this thread started, I said
>every word in the sentence (Is white racism necessarily all bad?) was
>important and that they should be defined. This did not stop several
>people, including Lane, from immediately saying yes. In fact, there was
>only one attempt at a definition, supplied by Paul Bernhardt, who said
>racism is "prejudices and discrimination based on racial
>characteristics." Prejudice itself is "a set of attitudes held about a
>specific group. Prejudices are based in stereotypic thinking, that is,
>the tendency to lump persons with common outward appearances with a set
>of behaviors or capabilities."
> So if I have made an at all thorough study of anthropology and
>psychology and come to the conclusion that blacks are inferior to
>whites, at least as far intelligence goes (and possibly in other areas),
>on average and as a result (in good measure) of divergent biological
>histories, then I am not thereby a racist, by his definition.

Regardless of semantic footwork, anybody who believes that there is
such a thing as race, biologically, and who assumes that one "race"
is superior to another, is a racist. End of story.

As for your:
"thorough study of anthropology and psychology and come[ing] to the
conclusion that blacks are inferior to whites."
This is neither here nor there. The greatest likelyhood is that you
started out a racist, and simply remained one, an easy thing to
do, evidently.

>I am
>guilty only if I stereotype, that is, suppose that persons with dark
>skins ("outward appearances") are uniformly of lesser intelligence
>(though not necessarily because of their biological history).
> The case against Paul's conception of racism (not made by Paul
>himself, at least as yet) would seem to be the case against any sort of
>premature jumping to conclusions. Well, I should not automatically
>suppose that a given black is not very bright any more than I should not
>try out some kind of fish I have never eaten before, merely on the basis
>of my not liking seafood generally. The seriousness of the two cases
>differs, but the principle of not jumping to conclusions is the same.
> Nor should I come to conclusions too slowly, as I have learned
>to my shame in a few cases where I trusted someone who turned out to be
>a rotter and which, in retrospect, should have been obvious.

What are you talking about, and what does this have to do with this
thread or the net in general?

>this is also as a neurotic disorder that "requires compassion and
>treatment like any disorder," I shall leave to Lane, as I will generally
>the issue of my being too slow in coming to agree with her about various

Agreement aside, it's interesting that you should make a thorough
study of psychology and yet seem to reflect surprise that I describe
racism, and bigotry in general, as a psychological disorder. I didn't
make this up, but read research done on the topic by a pair of
psychologists that was quite revealing. Unfortunately, I read it before
I knew that the time would come when I would need references to back
up any statement I made ;).

> Back to the drawing boards, folks! I don't think you are putting
>out very much in the way of intellectual energy to deal with the
>question this thread is supposed to be about. So far, and in a country
>that is supposedly wallowing in racism, there has not been anyone in
>this group arguing on behalf of racism. What are the arguments on
>behalf of racism? Is anyone accepting them suffering from a neurotic

Bigotry is well described as irrational hatred. Sounds pretty
neurotic to me.

Lane Singer