Re: OFF: TAN: What does 'racism' mean to you? (was Re: Ebonic Xmas)
|From:||John Cowan <cowan@...>|
|Date:||Friday, January 14, 2000, 3:03|
Tundra Slosek scripsit:
> racism = a pattern of behaviors or customs which is both specifically
> intended to lower the worth, character, esteem or quality of one (broad or
> narrow, but membership determined by brief visual observation) ethnic group
> and which (pattern) plays a significant part in society
I agree with this. I will add that there may be socities in which the
lighter-skinned are the targets of racism by the darker-skinned, but I
can't think of any. The case of Haiti, where a dark elite dominates
both a small light minority and a huge dark majority seems to me
to be class-based rather than race-based.
> You seem to be making a distinction between race hatred or discrimination
> and racism. To me, in simple terms, race hatred is a general very strong
> negative feeling about a person/group simply because of membership in that
> race. Discrimination is not about positive or negative feelings, but rather
> about forcing certain actions based solely on race. Racism, by my
> understanding of your definition is entirely about society acting in a way
> to lowering a person based entirely on race.
Just so. Some blacks may exhibit race hatred against whites, or
(in a limited sphere) discriminate against whites, but whites are
not a target of racism in the U.S.
> Now, if I do get your meaning correctly, may I ask where you get your
> definition? I don't mean that by way of 'I challenge you to prove that you
> are right'; I only ask that you indulge me with the general source of your
> understanding of the term.
Pretty much from listening to people using the word "racism" and other people
objecting to its use. The definition above represents the consensus
case: what both blacks and whites are willing to call "racism."
Some people use "racism" as a synonym for "race hatred", but others
will make a distinction between the terms that seems to me similar
to the ones you and I have made. I have observed a similar distinction made
between "racism" and "race prejudice".
OTOH some people use "discrimination" only in the institutional sense,
and deny that blacks discriminate against whites. I do not know what
terms they use instead. By making these distinctions, we can find out
what part of disagreements are merely verbal rathher than substantial:
asking "Is there reverse racism [sc. against whites]?" cannot be answered
until we know the relevant sense of "racism", e.g.
John Cowan firstname.lastname@example.org
I am a member of a civilization. --David Brin