Is Racism NECESSARILY Wrong? (Answer: Racist!)
racism | ˈrāˌsizəm |
prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior: a program to combat racism.
·the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races: theories of racism.
—from The New Oxford American Dictionary
Racism is the belief in the superiority of one race over another. It may also include prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against other people because they are of a different race or ethnicity, or the belief that members of different races or ethnicities should be treated differently. Modern variants of racism are often based in social perceptions of biological differences between peoples. These views can take the form of social actions, practices or beliefs, or political systems in which different races are ranked as inherently superior or inferior to each other, based on presumed shared inheritable traits, abilities, or qualities. —from Wikipedia, “Racism” (not to be confused with Racialism)
Everybody knows by now that anyone who makes a critical statement about anyone who isn’t white, unless maybe it’s about a brown-skinned conservative, is liable to be accused of being a racist. Even to point out that various races differ from each other in measurable biological ways may be denounced as racist “hate speech.” The term is used as a convenient weapon for discrediting or silencing someone in lieu of actually refuting the statement or demonstrating that the person is wrong. Simply being a racist, or being accused of racism, especially by a person with a reputation for being “woke,” is supposedly evidence enough that someone is wrong. But is racism—any possible form of it, not just prejudicial hatred and violence directed towards members of some other ethnicity—necessarily wrong? And if so, why? That is the question, or rather those are the two questions.
But before answering these there is a preliminary question that should be answered, namely: What in hell is racism? In order to know if all possible forms of racism are wrong, we must first know what racism possibly entails, right? Many people who fling the term “racist” as a weapon or slur would have trouble trying to define the word precisely; many are no doubt working with a visceral feeling that a “racist” is anyone whose ideas about race are bad and wrong, with “bad and wrong” meaning essentially politically incorrect. This is not a particularly intelligent definition, however.
A further difficulty is that, even if we accept the sort of definitions that begin this discussion, there are many on the left who would reject them in favor of a more narrow, cultural Marxist interpretation. Many on the left now insist that only the dominant ethnicity in a culture (namely Whitey) can be racist, just as only the dominant gender (males) can be sexist. This conveniently flings the door wide open for black nationalists, for instance, to hate Whitey’s guts and demand his extinction without the stigma of racism. Also it exonerates practices seemingly biased against white people, like affirmative action and multiracial hiring quotas, which may prevent the most qualified person for a job from being hired because he’s too white. However, we are endeavoring to understand what racism is in all possible forms, and to reject the dictionary definition in favor of a narrow neo-Marxist one seems rather unrealistic and silly.
So, let’s accept a very broad definition of racism, so broad as to include what almost anyone, including lexicographers, would call racism: a belief that humans are not only divided roughly into races, but that these races differ from each other in physical, psychological, and genetically conditioned ways; and that therefore some races, generally and statistically speaking, are better at some things than other races are. Thus “superiority” would not necessarily imply some vague state of being better in general, but could include ideas that, say, black Nigerians are superior to the Japanese with regard to certain athletic abilities, whereas the Japanese are superior to Nigerians with regard to certain cognitive abilities. Consequently this could include the rather mundane point that blacks on average are superior to East Asians with regard to height. That very observation, a pretty obviously true one, could be considered racist. Nigerians are superior to the Japanese…with regard to average height, or average running speed. Similarly, though more politically incorrectly, the Japanese are superior to Nigerians with regard to average IQ test scores.
And so, as in the case of so-called race realism or human biodiversity studies, racism can be backed up by presumably valid empirical science. I remember once seeing a young protester on a college campus (I think he was protesting against Charles Murray being allowed to speak there) holding up a sign which read SCIENTIFIC RACISM IS RACISM. I agree with this, tautology that it is, and would also observe that it is equally true that scientific racism is scientific.
Even with this broad definition of racism, though, many people, especially on the political and cultural left, would insist that all racism is still bad and wrong, even to the point of implying, if not blatantly asserting, that some empirical facts are bad and wrong. After all, many of these same folks assert that truth is merely a cultural construct anyway, with objective scientific empiricism being a tool of white patriarchal oppression, an invention of evil Whitey to oppress and marginalize people of color, who are essentially the same as Whitey in every way, except I suppose in the most undeniable and obvious ways, like skin color. In fact cultural Marxism is largely based on the idea that everyone is essentially the same, implying that all inequality is the result of institutionalized oppression. Thus even scientific racism must be rejected, because it is ideological heresy even if obviously true.
Plenty of anti-racists probably would be flabbergasted by such a question as the first one above, namely: Is every possible form of racism necessarily wrong? A question like this could have progressive types exclaiming more or less incoherently in more or less hysterical spluttering outrage…through sheer inability to deal with the question intelligently. The question of racism necessarily being bad may never have occurred to them—well of course racism is necessarily bad in all its forms! It’s bad by unspoken definition! But why? Setting aside race-motivated hatred and violence, why? It would be like asking these same people if fascism is necessarily bad, or torture, or President Trump, or global warming, or plastic straws. The badness of it is somehow intrinsic to its essence and must not be questioned. One needn’t even stoop to the point of understanding it intellectually or explaining it coherently. I suspect that most people inclined to hurl the slur “racist!” do not think about such complications.
For a white person in the west to criticize a member of another race for any reason can easily be denounced as racist. President Trump especially is called a racist (and a sexist too) because he is equally willing to criticize anyone, regardless of race (or gender); so racism is spun, very ironically, in such a way that someone who treats everyone equally is thereby a racist. One must treat white people worse than anyone else, it seems, in order not to be a racist from a cultural Marxist perspective. This is of course a no-win scenario for people of European ancestry, especially considering that some (including quite a few self-righteously self-loathing whites) consider all white people to be racists by default, even born that way. Again, “racist” is an expedient political weapon more than a meaningful term at this point; even to question racism’s necessary badness has been manipulated out of the range of the Overton window. But to condemn white people as racists by default is itself racist by the dictionary definition of the word.
The new left has perverted the meanings of words until they now mean the opposite of what they used to mean, as was observed above with regard to Mr. Trump. A similar case is the so-called Remoaners of the UK demanding that the democratic vote to leave the EU be overturned for the sake of preserving democracy, or the so-called idiots of the USA demanding that a constitutionally elected President be overthrown by any means necessary, including palace coups, Machiavellian propaganda, and mass hysteria, because he is a threat to democracy. But I digress.
So again, seriously, is ALL racism necessarily bad? If so, why? Is admitting that races are different bad? (And if races exist, which theory is itself sometimes called racism, then of course they have to be different somehow, otherwise there wouldn’t be different racial divisions at all.) Or if races do exist, must they differ in affectively neutral ways that don’t trigger anyone? If admitting that races differ in genetically conditioned ways is racist, then racism includes simple acknowledgements of empirical reality—and really, as I’ve observed more than once in my life, empirical facts are now considered to be politically incorrect hate speech.
Is it racist to acknowledge that some races, on average, are “better” than or “superior” to others in some respects? In any respect at all? Then again, acknowledging reality is now racist. Is it canine “breedism” to admit that German shepherds tend to be more intelligent than Airedales, or that Rottweilters tend to be more aggressive and dangerous around children than golden retrievers, or that Great Danes, despite their imposing size, do not make very good watchdogs because they tend not to be aggressive enough? Of course sensitive leftists can easily and emotionally retort, “People are not dogs!” This is a bigoted speciesist attitude to adopt however, a pernicious expression of human supremacism; and furthermore it is a superfluous tautological statement of the obvious, not any sort of refutation, any more than the slur of “racist” actually refutes any argument. (Actually, we humans are about 90% genetically identical to dogs, and more than 60% identical to fruit flies. Genetically at least, we are more the same than different.)
It seems to me that people insisting that ALL racism is bad and wrong should 1) be able to define racism in an intelligent manner that most people (and not just indoctrinated cultural Marxists with degrees in Grievance Studies) can accept; and 2) demonstrate that, say, there really are no genetically conditioned differences in abilities, statistically speaking, among various ethnicities (because even if races can be denied, ethnicities obviously exist regardless). The trouble is that they CAN’T DO IT. There is plenty of evidence that there are indeed differences, anatomical, biochemical, and cognitive, between races, even when cultural factors are taken into account. I’ve written about some of this before, and won’t repeat it here. Radical leftists may insist that all these measured differences are the result of white patriarchal oppression and/or damned lies, but of course they can’t prove that, and the mass of empirical evidence refutes it. How is it Whitey’s fault that black men have 19% higher testosterone levels than Europeans, and around 40% higher levels than East Asians? Is their consequent higher susceptibility to hypertension and prostate cancer also the fault of Mr. Charlie? How is it the fault of ethnic Europeans that East Asians in America have, on average, higher IQ, lower tendency to violent crime, and higher monetary income than the ethnic Europeans there who have allegedly rigged the system in their own favor?
This acknowledgement of differences, even genetic differences conditioning some abilities, is not the same as saying that one race is inherently superior to another, much less that ALL members of race A are superior to ALL members of race B (an attitude adopted by very few people in the west, mostly very ignorant ones). Are ducks superior to chickens? Are dogs superior to cats? Are golden retrievers superior to Rottweilers? How can a statement like “Scandinavian people are superior to Japanese people” even be understood without some sort of context? White supremacism, or any other variety of supremacism, makes no sense to me without some specific context: superior or inferior with regard to what?
Obviously, if racism reaches the level of prejudicial hatred or violence toward anyone of a certain race just because of being a member of that race, then it is unethical and reprehensible. (And “hatred” here means real hatred, not just whatever a radical leftist is pleased to identify as such. Furthermore, so-called microaggressions are not violence.) Ideally, people should be judged in accordance with their own personal qualities whenever possible, if they are to be judged at all; on the other hand, acknowledging empirically supported stereotypes and being influenced by those until one knows a person personally is simply a reasonable, intelligent approach to interpersonal interactions. A parent who is more reluctant to let their child go near a Rottweiler than a golden retriever, especially if they don’t know the dog, is simply behaving intelligently, in accordance with statistical likelihoods, even though it is “breed profiling”; and likewise, a person more wary of black strangers on a dark city street than East Asian ones is also behaving intelligently, in accordance with statistical likelihoods, because it is a plain fact that black people commit more violent crimes in the west than do East Asians.
People don’t like the idea that some races are better at some things, because it’s not fair. But it’s just as true that some individuals are smarter than others, or healthier, or prettier, or more energetic, or more talented in some way, or taller, or whatever—this also is “unfair.” But that is the way of the world, and my advice is deal with it, don’t deny reality out of a preference for neo-Marxist utopianism, or for compassionate feminine feelings. Feminine feelings have their place, but social engineering isn’t one of them.
The moral of the story: If you are called a racist, yet you do not endorse hatred or violence against members of other races, then so what. You may be politically incorrect, but you may also have reality on your side.