Re: Racism

P.S. Miller (psm2@CORNELL.EDU)
Fri, 21 Oct 1994 15:17:51 -0400

The contribution made to the list by S. Hicks has prompted me to another
contribution myself.

Racism as defined by Professor James Turner (Africana Studies, Cornell Univ)
is as follows:

Power + Priviledge + Prejudice = Racism

I believe his definition to be accurate. It helps me to understand the
systemic nature of racism in much of western civilization. What I do not
believe is that it is the only definition of of racism. I would classify
the above definition as something of a macro-definition. Racism operates
similarly in individuals. What S. Hicks fails to realize is that in the
cultural context of today a form of the above components are in use in the
arguement (atomic flame) that was presented by said same.

Prejudice: prejudice was clearly evident in the Hicks statement

Power: "people of color" have a great laundry list of inequities done to
them by "white" people. These acts of oppression can be used to hold some
sort of moral power over the ancestors of the oppressor.

Priviledge: "people of color" can, if they choose use this power in the
positions they attain

This is not to the exclusion of the fact that western culture is still
systemically racist. My point is that there is different dimensions to
racism and different forms of power, priviledge, and prejudice.

Perhaps those that react with propositions of murder and other acts of overt
racism ought to take a bit more objective look at their underlying

Your future colleague,
Patrick S. Miller