Thursday, January 21, 2016

Don't Fool Yourself. Anyone Can Be a Racist.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines racism as "the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to other races."  Seems pretty clear and easy to understand.  And using this definition, everyone and anyone can be a racist.  People with light-skin, people with dark skin, people in between.  Everyone and anyone.

This has been the definition of racism for centuries.

As time has gone on, however, people active in the Social Justice communities began to reject this definition.  Instead, they have put forth a new definition.  The traditional, long-held definition of racism was relabeled "prejudice", and racism was redefined as "prejudice + power."  Now, on the surface this new definition does make sense, as it does explain broader societal examples of racism.  But problems arise from the fact that most people who began with the idea that "racism = prejudice + power" have come to conclude that this ultimately means "only white people can be racist."  And some of the people who came to this conclusion were scholars who supposedly know better than that.

Over the last several years, I've read a lot of so-called "scholarly works" that are based on this assumption, and they all suffer the same problem:  circular reasoning.  They begin with the assumption they seek to prove -- only white people can be racist because only white people have power -- and then go on to manipulate the definition of "power" so that people who aren't white cannot ever be considered to have any.

Power, that is.

I'll give you a for instance.

In order to deny that even the most wealthy and politically connected black people in the US have any power, and thus could, conceivably, fall under the "racism = prejudice + power" definition, the people manipulating the definitions argue that, since white people established the system within which the wealthy, connected black people operate, its actually the white people and not the wealthy, connected black people who really have the power.  Thus, white people can be racist, but no black person can.

Not only is this completely contrary to common sense, but this automatic linking of "power" to "white people" is a flawed idea almost by definition.  Sure, admittedly the history and current state of white supremacy and white privilege should not be ignored, but we simply cannot and must not ignore inter-minority relations as either being powerless or as originating from the white power structure.  This is especially true when we talk about foreign countries.  Although it is true that the world is now linked in a complex web of influence and power, there was in fact a time not too long ago when there were entire continents of people who were not influenced by white society.  Non-white people were -- and still are -- at the helm of power in such countries.

Furthermore, while white people might have more power than minorities in the United States, its not like there aren't any non-white people in positions of power.  If I might point out the obvious, but as I write this, there is a black man in the Oval Office.  There are three members of the US Supreme Court (one third their total number) who are ethnic minorities.  Twenty percent of the US House of Representatives are minorities, while eighteen percent of the US Senate are minorities.  Roughly one fifth of all Fortune 500 CEOs are minorities.

So the idea that only white people can have power, and thus only white people can be racist, is simply false.

Let's look at it intelligently, shall we?  If we rightfully assume that racism is a bad thing, then we should ask ourselves this basic question:  which is worse.  a poor white homeless man living in a cardboard box and eating out of dumpsters, who hates non-whites, or the multi-millionaire black chairman of the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security with connections to big business, the press, and other politicians, who hates non-blacks?

If we accept "racism = prejudice + power" as true, then naturally will have to say that the white farmer has less power than the black congressman.  Except that's bullshit according to the SJWs.

By arguing that minorities have no power with which to be racist, we forget instances in which minorities clearly do have power.  I am called to mind an article I recently read about the Roe v. Wade decision which began with the line "So these nine white men walk into a courtroom."  The nine white men in question being the nine justices of the US Supreme Court who made the Roe v. Wade decision.  Except -- and this is important, I think -- wasn't one of the "nine white guys" who made that decision Thurgood Marshall?  And wasn't Thurgood Marshall a black man?

Clearly, the writer of the article has bought into the idea that only white people have ever been in positions of power to the point that the real and important achievements of non-white people are being lost in the political rhetoric.  We shouldn't ever forget the struggles that minorities have gone through to achieve equality in this country, but at the same time, we shouldn't be overlooking their important contributions, either, especially if we forget in the name of maintaining the propaganda narrative.

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