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Old 09-14-2017, 10:20 AM   #401 (permalink)
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Because words have practical applications. Being racist is like being xenophobic or homophobic, etc etc. Unless you have a means of imposing it, who cares? You're just a person with a belief system.
What a bizarre premise. I'm not even trying to be snide, it just literally doesn't seem sensible to me.

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Our conversations about racism, as a country, can't be about the individual beliefs of 320 million people. They have to be in the aggregate.
Then make that clear when you have those discussions on a larger level. Win win. This goes back to what I've said on this subject before: it's a valid concept for academia as it would remove a lot of qualifying that would clutter up a paper, but that doesn't mean that it's a firm rule to redifine the word by.
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Old 09-14-2017, 10:42 AM   #402 (permalink)
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racism is racism and an African American can be racist

but institutionalized racism/systemic racism in addition to the class divide left in the aftermath of apartheid makes a decent person a lot more sensitive to racism against African Americans even of the casual nature
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Old 09-14-2017, 11:01 AM   #403 (permalink)
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What a bizarre premise. I'm not even trying to be snide, it just literally doesn't seem sensible to me.
How so? What I'm getting at is the personal beliefs of any one individual are rather meaningless in the scheme of things. Who cares if the guy on the corner thinks all Asians are sneaky or all white people love Trump - his beliefs don't have any effect on others. He can't enact policy, pass laws, deny rights, etc. Now if those views are held by the dominant group that also controls political and social levers of control...

That's what I was driving at. I don't care about the white-genocide advocating, radical black preacher. Racist? I guess yes, as the word is used colloquially. Can he use the system to oppress me? No.

I've spent time thinking about this because every time the alt-right/associated groups would be accused of race-baiting or racist statements they'd point to fringe black movements or hardcore, misandrists feminists groups as in "see they do it too". I started working on a, 'it doesn't matter, you're the ones that actually hold power and influence so if you want to be the leaders and adults you keep saying you are, ****ing act like it' response. Results have been.... mixed. Racial politics are NOT my forte haha

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Then make that clear when you have those discussions on a larger level. Win win. This goes back to what I've said on this subject before: it's a valid concept for academia as it would remove a lot of qualifying that would clutter up a paper, but that doesn't mean that it's a firm rule to redifine the word by.
I'm not necessarily trying to redefine the word as it's commonly used, just trying to show that racism is not uniquely black/white or a Western phenomenon, but happens almost everywhere when a dominant group controls the means of governance; and the importance of the "governance" aspect to expression of racism, which is often overlooked. I know the dictionaries say it's a "belief" but the "ism" suffix is what gets me. Almost all "isms" have some form of an ideological skeleton, around which movements are built (Judaism, Communism, Nazism, Dominionism, etc.).

None of this means this still isn't one of my all-time favorite gifs:
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Old 09-14-2017, 11:08 AM   #404 (permalink)
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How so? What I'm getting at is the personal beliefs of any one individual are rather meaningless in the scheme of things. Who cares if the guy on the corner thinks all Asians are sneaky or all white people love Trump - his beliefs don't have any effect on others. He can't enact policy, pass laws, deny rights, etc. Now if those views are held by the dominant group that also controls political and social levers of control...
This just reads like a bandwagon argument to me and reflects my thought that your argument confuses the trend for the rule. Do we define beliefs by how easily they can be enacted? This concept adds a lot of baggage to a pretty straightforward descriptor.
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Old 09-14-2017, 11:32 AM   #405 (permalink)
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This just reads like a bandwagon argument to me and reflects my thought that your argument confuses the trend for the rule. Do we define beliefs by how easily they can be enacted? This concept adds a lot of baggage to a pretty straightforward descriptor.
I understand your concern regarding the 'bandwagon' argument. I don't mean to say repulsive beliefs shouldn't be opposed no matter how widespread, I'm arguing that we should expend our political capital on those fights that are "worth it". I define worth in this case by how widespread and pervasive they are. Rally in Charlottesville that drew thousands of self-described white supremacists? Worth it. Tumblr blog with a couple thousand hits a year? Probably not.

In terms of "what is racism", I'm essentially arguing that the power dynamic is so at the fore, the ability to substantively 'act' on one's beliefs, that other concerns have to be considered after said dynamic is addressed. So while "racism" can be expressed by anyone, in America, racism expressed by white men is much more concerning that any equivalent vitriol coming from another group. Hence it being a rebuttal to "but look they do it too".


edit: I'm enjoying these questions/counters. I'm having to reconsider and sharpen my argument and might actually be able to get a self-contained, succinct argument here soon
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Old 09-14-2017, 12:00 PM   #406 (permalink)
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That's totally valid.

I'm a proponent of critical race theory which makes it easy to agree with what you just said, I just think that people just take it too far in the wrong direction (and are ironically uncritical of their own views once they reach that point, as I love to point out). Instead of saying that African Americans can't be racist, say that racism from African Americans isn't reinforced by social dynamics and as a result, is less likely to go by unchecked.

Or if you're talking to neo-nazis directly, just tell them that white people are just better at racism. They'll high five and be on with their day.
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Old 09-14-2017, 04:39 PM   #407 (permalink)
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Because words have practical applications. Being racist is like being xenophobic or homophobic, etc etc. Unless you have a means of imposing it, who cares? You're just a person with a belief system.

Our conversations about racism, as a country, can't be about the individual beliefs of 320 million people. They have to be in the aggregate. I used to get really angry when I heard black academics say that "only white people can be racist". After reading about and considering the issue (slowly and over many years), I actually understand what they mean. Anyone can hate anyone else for any petty reason. In America, as European white folks are the dominant ethnic group, nearly all of our political and social institutions reflect that (America is white, Christian, conservative, generally egalitarian in outlook, and generally compassionate in conduct. Some good, some bad, but all directly informed by the Western European heritage of our founders + first 80 million residents.). Therefore, racism, the ideology of racial superiority, can only be enacted by the group that controls said political and social institutions. Other groups can hate. Minorities can believe their own group is superior to the majority. But what can they do about that? Pass laws? Use the police department to enforce social order?

This is what I and many of those academics mean. "Blacks can't be racist" is an unfortunate shorthand than 100% does not address the nuance of the argument and I have no doubt it's used as a club by ignorant black folk. I just want white people to not make the same short-cutting mistake. It's a subtle argument and quite a powerful one, imho.

"Institutional racism" is, in light of the above, almost redundant. It also removes agency from all parties by painting racial issues as systemic or inherent to either governance or the human condition, as opposed to the artificial barriers they are.
Wow! Now that is what I

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Old 09-16-2017, 03:54 PM   #408 (permalink)
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Old 09-16-2017, 04:10 PM   #409 (permalink)
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https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/selectatest.html

(drop down to the race test, I can't link it directly)
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Old 09-16-2017, 06:50 PM   #410 (permalink)
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Your data suggest a moderate automatic preference for European Americans over African Americans.
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