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The perennial enablers.
The interesting thing about racists is that every one of them will admit it. The interesting thing about those pointing fingers at racists is that it enables the racists by being racialist themselves.
Racialism is very much like astrology. Here are the wonky paragraphs.
The Racial Realist
The belief that there are differences between human beings which are inherited such that they can be ordered into separate races in such a way that each race shares traits and tendencies which are not shared by members of any other race. Each race has an 'essence'.
All forms of racism build from the premise of racialism. Notice that racialism is not saying anything 'good' or 'bad' about races just that mutually exclusive races absolutely exist and divide the species. The racialist would argue that you could trace the bloodlines of blacks throughout history and that you can definitely determine the 'blackness' of any human being according to his racial 'essence'.
If you take a 23 & Me test and you are surprised or you feel that you have learned something more meaningful than what your horoscope says, this is racialism.
A racialist does not necessarily believe that the races, as we understand them in America are complete. He may say that there are, in actuality, 37 races. We just don't know what they are yet. The racialist's point however is that race, whatever it turns out to be, is deterministic of human behavior and that we need to know.
A racialist will discount psychology.
If you ask a racialist what is the essence of a race, they will have some answer or search for some answer, but they will not say that makes a race better or worse. A racialist searches for and finds meaning in racial theories and incorporates them into their worldview. The racial realist will not claim to be a racist, their explanation says "That's just the way it is."
Finally, for the racialist, the essence of a race is not necessarily something that dominates that which comprises humanity, it’s just the thing that makes them unique and interesting. It’s not that Blacks are less human than Whites or vice-versa, but they have superhuman abilities.
It’s that Blacks can do X naturally, where as Whites naturally do Y. That’s racialism. The racist says that X is more important to the world than Y, or that society needs Y, now more than ever. Fill in your favorite blank. Last time we talked about race it was colonization or scientific rationalization or some such. Still racialist.
<obligatory seriousness> Whoopi Goldberg got in trouble with her boss because she did not use the correct definition of race underlying her statements about the Nazi agenda. It was not sufficient for her to assert that the Shoah was essentially a ‘white on white’ crime or a war crime. It was necessary for her to cast the tragedy in the light of a conflict between separate races. The conventional wisdom requires this racial difference to justify the outrage that counts; in other words great moral outrage requires a racial oppressor and a racial victim. If you don’t get this right, you’re in trouble with the racialists. At the length of the info-bites that Goldberg is expected to blurt, she quickly ran into a wall by asserting a larger truth than could be consumed between commercial breaks. Goldberg should not be punished except by forcing her to have longer form conversations than the networks currently allow. Put her on the Joe Rogan podcast.</obligatory seriousness>
Any Difference In A Storm
If you find the racialist view to be morally neutral, you might consider that racial realism is ethically justifiable. After all, race, like so many other things is socially constructed. People use race for practical reasons that aren’t necessarily evil, you say. Let’s deal with this position. It helps if you respect the findings of psychology, specifically those of Henri Tajfel. He proved in the 1970s that groupthink is arbitrary. This is known as the Minimal Group Paradigm.
In a second experiment such categorisation was achieved by, again randomly, telling 48, 14-15 year old, schoolboys that they were individually members of a "Klee" group or of a "Kandinsky" group after expressing their preferences, for a right or left hand painting, during a viewing of a succession of six pairs of un-labeled abstract paintings about which they were only told that one was painted by Paul Klee and the other Wassily Kandinsky.
It can be suggested that there was no rationale for any of these schoolboys really feeling that they somehow "belonged" to such arbitrary, and in many ways meaningless, groups. Each boy could not feel that they had any important shared history with other group members who were just his school-fellows. He could not know if other boys he liked or disliked were in his "assigned" group or not.
It was found that even under very flimsy and apparently baseless assigned social categorisation into two distinct, and previously "unheard of" social categories, in-group favouritism and out-group derogation occurred in the distribution, by the schoolboys as research subjects, of "rewards for participation" in the study.
It is the very acknowledgement of race that enables racism. The very idea of race in America existed entirely to justify slavery. This justification was never necessary outside of America precisely because of the then uniquely democratic processes of the House of Parliament upon which the colonists assumed as their rights. Much is made about the rules governing slavery enacted in the Virginia House of Burgesses established in 1619, but seriously, where on earth were there never laws regarding the treatment of slaves vs that of free citizens?
Understanding Tajfel means you understand that in-group and out-group discriminations can be established on any basis regardless of a prior history (real or imagined) of conflict. So any category whatsoever can be socially constructed and discriminations will take place so long as the categories are maintained. Categorize by zodiac sign. Categorize by generation. Categorize by Ford vs Chevy, red vs blue, X vs Y. Any label you can make stick will generate carrots and sticks.
Clearly if you are able to dismiss the import of any astrological theory or predictions, then you have exactly done all of the elementary mental gymnastics necessary to dismiss the import of any racial theory or predictions. Having done so, discarding the use of the terminology is a simple step. It eliminates the redundancy. But this is not a good idea only for its simplicity. The downside of using race is that it enables racism, which is the simple assigning of different value to human beings by race. Discriminations will happen of any and every sort. Why enable racial reasoning that inevitably produces racial discrimination?
There is irony here to be sure. A racist discrimination that happens to somebody ascribed to be in your race is supposed to hurt you more, but does it? Anti-racism is said to be in the natural and permanent interest of racial minorities. Is it? Can it be said that the way Hitler identified Jews was precisely the way that Jews identified themselves? Well, I think a tautology is in order here. In the words of Morpheus, “Your mind makes it real.” This goes back to what I was saying in Stoic Racelessness, and before that in Race Talk Doesn’t Work. You are in control of how necessary or relevant matters of race are, whether confirming racial theories and adhering to the identity or defending any idea about race. As soon as you recognize your emotional attachment to the subjects, you can start a Buddhist path away from it. Or not. Or occasionally. If you’ve ever acknowledged and championed being proud, you then have to deal with the existential dilemma. Today, I confess I’m going for (Whoopi) clicks, but also to note with a raised eyebrow exactly how extraordinarily catty are those people who would cancel Whoopi Goldberg who for many years, and especially at her debut, represented a standout non-racial black woman. Has she swum with the Wokies in over her head? You tell me.
If you look at this matter scientifically, you have to deal with the fact that all phenomena that are allowable by the rules of the Universe have practically infinite dimensions. But let us remember something about Newtonian physics. An object in motion will tend to stay in motion unless acted upon by another force. It takes more than gravity and friction to deflect the immoral vector of racism in the field of racialist concepts. We have to conceive of human behavior in a higher dimensional space. It is only when you acknowledge and account for them that you can come more closely to an accurate model.
Literally just yesterday, somebody had the nerve to suggest that it was impossible for African Americans to fall in love, have babies and be happy in 1940s America. “White people did. Hispanics? Not so much. Blacks? Not so much. No one but a white male Christian Anglo-Saxon was treated as a real American.” You cannot make such a statement unless you are overloading the racial dimension of life. It was explained by this person that such things were not possible “by today’s standards”. Even okey-doke black history has that covered. At any rate, the conceptual flaw is missing following sort of rational requirement.
In a high-dimensional world, effective science looks like scenario 2. This isn’t mutually exclusive with the Scientific-Method-as-taught-in-high-school, there’s still some hypothesizing and testing, but there’s a new piece and a different focus. The main goal is to hunt down sources of randomness, figure out exactly what needs to be controlled in order to get predictable results, and thereby establish which of the billions of variables in the universe are actually relevant.
It was some time in the mid 1990s that the conventional wisdom completely broke in my head about the matters concerting hypertension in black Americans. Every doctor I ever knew asked me such questions, and more than a few raised eyebrows to my negative responses. No, nobody in my family has high blood pressure or has had a heart attack or died of one. It was in that year when it was reported that nobody had ever done a study of diet among African Americans when they reported higher incidences of heart disease. It was a striking moment for me to realize what was plainly obvious. We never ate all of those traditional soul foods in my house. Race was the given reason, diet was the actual reason. Since then, news about good and bad cholesterol developed and now the conventional wisdom has changed again vis a vis butter vs margarine. It should be obvious that race is a bad shortcut but still used by racialists everywhere.
I don’t feel particularly sorry for Whoopi Goldberg, and I still think her most profound statements were uttered by her Guinan character on Star Trek, the closest humanoid approximation of Yoda. But also those that had to do with how in network television, having 1 million friends is simply not enough, and how coming back to America from Europe or Asia is always a relief so she can disappear among our large numbers of Africans. Being famous is quite a burden, it forces you to pay attention to many more critics and haters than is reasonable. Then again, her fame can and does bring attention to lessons we might all learn and such is the value of Shakespeares tragic plays relating as they do to the conduct of kings.
The wondrous thing about our civilization is that it affords us of ordinary birth and means to the lessons of kings, of history, of the accumulated knowledge of the ages. Picking up on those lessons, especially if we are to assume greater levels of power, wealth and influence are obligatory. It is better to be the king of a small hill than a prince at a higher elevation. The obligations of kings are greater consequently the moral probity. Racialism might be as innocuously useless as astrology, only of interest to yokels of no particular consequence. For the most part, that is precisely how I view it. But we are in the midst of a turnabout in which the powerful are aiming to empower each racial minority to a fiefdom deemed appropriate. Thou! Yea thou people over yonder; get thee haste to the equity corner. We have snacks for thee.
As the kerfuffle develops, you can expect head explosions around ‘blacks & jews’ and the prior lofty expectations of Whoopi now being reversed as what ‘she really thinks’ has been observed. Whoopi Defends Nazis. Or have I been too late to actually predict that headline you’ve already seen?