Re: Racism and ancient history

Robert Snower (
Tue, 31 Dec 1996 21:27:35 GMT (Gerold Firl) wrote:

>Knowledge of the difference between us and them is, of course,
>fundamental to any social species. Racism is a subset of
>discrimination between us and them, which can be based on any group
>marker; my point was simply that most people throughout our past never
>had contact or knowledge of other races.
> . . . discrimination based on smell, religion, politics etc is
>distinct from discrimination based on race. As you mention, they are
>all subsets of us-ism.

I don't think there is any disagreement between us. You are
absolutely right that I am talking about discrimination between
socially defined groups, not confining myself to groups which are
biologically defined distinct races. The human problem of "racism" in
the world today is the general problem as I am looking at it, the
problem of competition at the ethnic level, of which the pure race vs.
race opposition is but one, rather rare, instance. The word 'racism'
derives from that one instance, but the problem it connotes is the
very general one, and its meaning in ordinary usage has taken on some
of that generality.

Best wishes. R. Snower