Racism <comment>

John McCreery (JLM@TWICS.COM)
Sun, 24 Mar 1996 18:50:20 +0900

I say of a certain four-legged mammal, "That is a cow,
therefore I will milk it." The cow is barren, there is no

I say of another four-legged mammal, "That is a wolf,
therefore I will kill it." The wolf eats the rabbits who will
wreck my lettuce patch.

I say of a two-legged mammal, "That is a Chinese,
admirable fellow." Li Peng is a bellicose dictator. Wei
Zhingsheng is going to jail.

All are examples of misplaced concreteness, reacting to
the category instead of the mammal in question. Racism
is a species of this genus, an error in logic.

Racism is also typically a matter of "We are good," while
"The Other is bad," expressed in categorical (the famous
"essentializing") terms.

Let us agree that to say of the Other, "The Other is good"
is not racist. It may be simply foolish.

John McCreery
March 24, 1996