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 http://www.m-w.com/ 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 m-w.com, (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...