Re: Is white racism nec. all bad?

Lane Singer (
13 Apr 1995 06:26:27 GMT

In <3mh4fc$> (Judith Eubank) writes:

>> Morality is not a function of
>>religion, but of the nature of being primates who must honor social
>>contracts in order to survive. As such, morality precedes religion
>>by several million years. Racism is immoral. To expect our neighbors
>>not to indulge in it is to expect no more than what is required in
>>order to live, together, in a society.
>If morality precedes religion by several million years...well, how can we
>possibly know that? That seems to be one of those empty assertions that
>people make when they don't know--and can't know--about the interior life
>of early hominids.
>We may well define racism and then call it immoral by our own standards.
>Nothing really wrong with that. But try to find the roots of its
>immorality in evolutionary history and we run into some very difficult

I make no claim whatsoever that racism was immoral in ancient
history. I state only that it's immoral now - an assertion I base
on it's destructive and useless effects on our society.

>All human infants have a surprise/alarm response to strangers
>that starts when the infants are several months old. Some
>anthropologists, among them Melvin Konner, have speculated that the human
>tendency to divide the world into in-groups and out-groups may start with
>that infant response. Many other primates also have intensely hostile
>responses to out-groups, a primitive sort of "racism." Etc. etc.
>Primates can live and survive very nicely while conducting bitter
>quarrels with other primate groups.
>Racism may be immoral. It is, in fact, if enough people agree that it
>is. But you don't have to travel too far to encounter cultures that are
>much less embarrassed and conflicted about their tendency to despise
>people of other races than white Americans are. To claim that racial
>tolerance is good seems to me incontestable. To claim that it has been
>recognized as good for thousands of years is very dubious.

Again, I never made that claim. My statements about morality as a
function of society are arguable, to be sure, but I never attempted
to define the details of any society's moral code - except for the
one that I live in here and now.

Lane Singer