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OFF: TAN: What does 'racism' mean to you? (was Re: Ebonic Xmas)

From:Tundra Slosek <tundras@...>
Date:Friday, January 14, 2000, 1:04
At 12:17 1/13/00 -0500, John Cowan wrote:
>Because "racism" is not synonymous with "discrimination" or "race hatred"; >it refers specifically to a pattern of *institutionalized* denigration >and degredation of dark-skinned people. (This point is not >well understood or explained in general, and a non-native speaker >can certainly be excused for not being aware of it.)
Being middle to low on the education spectrum, I've always had a speck of self-doubt that I don't quite understand the way that some people use the word 'racism'. Your mention of this reminded me again of that doubt, so I decided to delve a bit. While I know it is only a starting point, I poked around in a couple of dictionaries I have on hand. For reference, the definition found at pretty much matches the paper and CD ones I have access to. The dictionary definitions also much more closely matches my 'gut level' feeling of the word racism. Huffing and puffing on, (and making the assumption that you aren't really implying that 'dark-skinned people' are the only ones who can be the target of racism), but I come to the following from your comment: 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 *whew*... that's a mouthful. Am I understanding your meaning? If not, please correct me. 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. 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. It has been interesting giving this some thought. --- ...but the tigers come at night, with their voices soft as thunder... ---