Re: Is white racism nec. all bad?

Lane Singer (
8 Apr 1995 08:08:07 GMT

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

>Now as long as there are visible
>differences between people, you and I and everyone is bound to make
>generalizations on the basis of our observations. So, if I have observed
>that blacks are on the average less intelligent than whites, I may
>assume, of a specific black in front of me, that he is not intelligent.
>That's stereotyping, or would you disagree.

No, that is stereotyping. I sometimes wonder if stereotyping
doesn't end up wasting more time than it saves. Let's say that
there are two races, one you like and identify with, and one
which you dislike. A person from the liked race is going to be
able to take advantage of you more easily, and you may take a
longer time in discovering that you really don't like that
person at all (by which time you will already have been ripped
off). The converse situation could apply to a person of the
disliked race, and in fact, it may turn out that you've failed
to hook up with a person destined to be your soul mate, simply
because of this bigotry.

>(I suspect you've pegged me
>as a "racist" and have assumed all sorts of things about me, not all of
>which are true.)

Are you a racist, Frank?

>Or do we confine racism to mean a belief that observed
>differences are due, in large measure, to biological factors?

You know, I'd have to say that it's possible to actually believe
in race and still not be a racist. It would be odd for anyone
with an interest in such things today to believe in race, but
consider that the person might be somewhat ignorant.

>Or and
>probably better, are there several different kinds of racism? Are the
>necessarily all bad?

I have no doubt that one could come up with finely tuned categories
for 'different' kinds of racism, but I don't consider it to be
at all necessary. Simply to believe that one race is superior to
another and should therefore be accorded unique rights is enough
of a definition. And it is "bad." I believe you probably understand
why I think it's bad.

[consequences of stereotyping are unfortunate]

>>> For whom are the consequences unfortunate? For the individual
>>>racist? For other members of the racist's race? For members of other
>>>races? Lane, who says racism (but I think hers is a different kind of
>>>racism) is a neurotic condition, would answer yes to the first. Most
>>>people would say yes to the third, as if it requires no arguing. But
>>>what about the second, members of the racist's race?
>>Racism is unfortunate for all three. Of the racist it makes a pariah.
>>Of the racist's target it makes a victim of crime. And of the racist's
>>fellow "race" some of the pariah's stain is shared, even though
>>the person be completely innocent.
> Need the racsit be a pariah? If some kinds of racism aren't bad,
>then that kind of racist should *not* be a pariah.

But there is no racism that isn't bad.

>Making him a pariah is bad.

No, it's society's job to provide proper guidance according
to well founded and decent moral prerequisites. I know that such
assertions lead to the slippery slope of all sorts of philosophical
issues, none of which I really care to discuss.

>>>And remember, there
>>>is the one kind of racism that results from finitude of brains and
>>>another that results from *too much* stereotyping.
>>I really don't think racism is asz complicated as that. Racism results
>>from poor cognition, from the fact that the child wasn't taught
>>right from wrong in this regard, and therefore, to learn it as an
>>adult is much more difficult.
> Hold on! I thought we were supposed to be *discussing* whether
>racism is bad on this thread, but here you are assuming that it is.

Well, yes. You asked the question and I immediately responded with my
answer of "yes." Am I now dismissed from the thread ?-)

Lane Singer