Thursday, July 29, 2010

Racism, What I Have Learned ( Part 1 )

I’ve participated in a very interesting discussion with a very good friend on the issue of racism. And I’ll admit that I have come out of that discussion with a whole new perspective of the issue. One reason the issue of racism was brought up has to do with the Sherrod incident.

One thing I have learned is that the idea of what constitutes racism has changed over the generations. With this change of generational attitude of racism we would have to say that the definition or the meaning of the word has changed also. This left me in a quandary of thought.

If the purpose of any discussion on the idea of racism is to find a solution then how can a solution to the issue ever be found if the ideas of it is keeps changing. For once we change our idea of what racism is then we only perpetuate the problem instead of solving it. And if there is a need to change its definition in order to perpetuate it then the issue of racism no longer exist under the prior definition.

When asked for a definition of racism I got this answer from my friend.

“ A belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.”

Now, if we look at that definition closely I’d think that we all could agree on the fact that this belief no longer exist in this nation. And if it does then the number of person’s with that belief are so few as to consider it an insignificant number just as we do in the case of those that still believe that the Earth is flat. If that be the case then it can be said that racism no longer exist in this nation based on that definition of racism.

Unfortunately the perception of racism still exists in the minds of many persons. The question must be Why, if the belief can be declared as no longer in existence in this nation? The only answer that can be found is that people are seeking some personal gain at the expense of others from it and perpetuating the myth by falsely accusing others of racism. The problem with this is that just denial of it is not enough for those who choose to believe the unjust accusation and since we are speaking of beliefs and attitude there is no way to prove any denial of it.

Another argument put forth is the fact that it can be known and proven through a person’s actions or responses. And I’ll admit that many see it from that point of view and is one of the reasons for the Sherrod incident. But as found out later it was a poor basis of judgment of her character and attitude in this particular situation. And it can be explained so as to show why it is a poor basis for judgment.

Our every action or response is nothing but the exposure of a inner decision ( a thought of action to be taken). And every decision we make is governed by a belief that we consider as a truth. .The problem lies in the fact that a particular response or action may be governed by more than a single belief. Our recognition of implications proves this. Our actions or response may imply a racist attitude and belief. We also know that any implication we may derive from a response or action can be incorrect and when that happens we know we were jumping to a false conclusion.

This brings us to the idea of intent. What was the belief that the person intended to reveal by his action or response? And as we saw we could find out the intent by listening to the whole speech of Ms Sherrod instead of just accepting just a snippet of it to come to a conclusion of what she believed.

If we are to end racism in this nation the first thing we need to do is bring false accusations of it to an end. That is the only way to measure racism without relying on implications of it. Next we must determine intent rather than relying on the feelings of others to ascertain the beliefs of people. This requires an open mind. It is only when we look at the actions and responses of others with an open mind that we will not fall prey to those who would perpetuate racism for their personal gain.


Gorges Smythe said...

I don't feel that the above definition is particularly correct, either. Think about the history of the world and the races. Now think which races have been world powers and which ones have not. NOW think about whether those same races have any more or less such capabilities than before, in comparison with the other races. If you're both honest AND politically correct (highly unlikely), you will probably find yourself in a very uncomfortable situation.

The Griper said...

and how would you define racism, my friend?

msladydeborah said...


This is really a great post. I enjoyed our exchange. You raised some great points. I always like good food for thought.

I like the look of your blog! Very nice.

The Griper said...

well, Deb, if it be a good post it is all because of you and again i thank you for the discussion

Gorges Smythe said...

I guess I'd have to say that I believe that your friends definition is alive and well, I just believe that we've moved it to the subconscious level and it's therefore denied by the very people who may believe it most. Racism, as a thought, may be a sin, but it shouldn't be considered a crime or we've come to Orwell's "thought crime." (Think "hate crime".) It's manifesting that sin through violence that is, or should be, a crime. Once that line is crossed, I'm not sure intent is relevant. As for non-violent racism (supposedly adressed by hiring and renting quotas and such), I feel we've infringed on people's right to choose how to manage their own business. If people choose to be discriminatory and narrow-minded, that should be their right in a "free" country.

It's late and I'm tired, so whether any of this makes any sense, I don't know. Regardless, I mean no disrespect to your own opinion, I'm just not sure that I agree.


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