Is Racism really THAT bad?

My friend is not a racist but he looks down upon those in society that are. Usually the people who he doesn’t like are only racist because they were brought up that way and no one has taken the time to really teach them. I’ve pointed that out many times. I’ve also told him that they are passive racists and are not hurting anyone physically. That their hate towards a race isn’t really hate, but more like ignorance. But sadly, he didn’t accept that as a good argument.

Many of you might be wondering why I chose to defend racists. I did it because people should have the right to dislike people for whatever reason they wish.

Of course I am contridicting myself by saying that while I’ll accept racists, I won’t accept people who don’t like racisits.

I choose to try and educate my friend because I am around him more, and because it would be easier to help him accept other people and their differences then try to convince racists that what they have been raised to believe is wrong.

I now ask the teeming millions why they do or do not accept racists.

Eh… yes.

Your friend isn’t arguing that people don’t have the right to be racist. They have the right to hold and express whatever opinion they like. That doesn’t change the fact that racism is ignorant and stupid. I’m aware of zero positives about racism and plenty of negatives, and I have to say I’m with your friend as far as the contempt factor goes.

What you say isn’t totally wrong, of course. Ignorance is usually to blame, and yes, you can’t change everybody’s mind and you just have to deal with it at some point. That doesn’t mean your friend should feel any less strongly about bigotry.

I’d say that’s more a case of screwed-up priorities. You’re annoyed that your friend criticizes racism (which has lead to lots of war, murder and slavery), but racism itself isn’t enough to bother you?

It’s not. Like I said, you’re right about the cause, but it’s still hate. It’s just hate based on ignorance. I’m not sure there’s any other kind. I think there’s a difference between a having a good reason for something and just having an excuse for it. Ignorance isn’t a good reason, even though it is indeed the cause of hatred; I think you’re more using it as an excuse for it. If an ignorant racist kills, hurts or harasses someone, it’s just as bad as if it was done by a non-ignorant racist, isn’t it?

Yes, racism is bad.

And yes, disliking people based on their race is MUCH worse than disliking people because they dislike racists.

You do raise a point, however, even though you’re making it very crudely and, yes, disprespectfully (it is disrespectful merely to suggest that racism “isn’t that bad”).

However, hating others for their hatred is a trap that we often fall into, and it can be dangerous. Hatred just doesn’t solve a problem, no matter how righteous, and that’s part of what makes dealing with these issues difficult. That doesn’t mean that it’s wrong to dislike people for being racist, or that it’s wrong to despise racism as an institution and a social evil, but lashing out and responding to it with more hate only really serves to make people defensive and to respond in the same way. It certainly doesn’t tend to make them decide to change their beliefs!

But that aside, racism is a terrible, terrible social ill, and should be treated as such. Any racist individual, of course, should be treated with the respect and dignity that should be accorded to EVERY human being, but their ignorance and mis-held beliefs should not be given any respect whatsoever, because they are poisonous and harmful in modern society.

Short answer: Yes.

Long-ish short answer: Love the sinner; hate the sin.

Racism doesn’t fall under the heading of “dislike people for whatever reason they wish.”

Being racist means ynot seeing individuals of a certain race. You can’t dislike someone if you’ve never look at that someone.

Trite, I realize, but I think it makes my point.

I could give a shit if people are racist or not (hey, if you want to be ignorant, thats your progative.) as long as we can all at least be civil to each other is all that matters to me. Respectfull too I guess.

I was talking about this to a friend of mine not too long ago. We were talking about this guy whos every other word out of his mouth was seemingly “nigger this and nigger that” but as soon as a black man walks into the room he pretends like the guy is his best friend. My buddy was talking about how hypocritical this was and that its almost more anoying than being a racist itself. I however was of the opinion that “hey at least he’s nice to the guy had this been 50 years ago he’s probably have this guy on the end of a rope tied to a tree.”

Now granted it would be great if we could make this guy see the light but lets not throw the baby out with the bath water just yet.

racism is just a stereotype. we all have our brains stuffed with stereotypes. racism just happens to be the hot-button one.

you are not going to consider somebody who thinks that “women can’t drive” to be evil are you? now if he starts screaming that women shouldn’t be given license, thats different.

i have friends who are somewhat racist, they are still good people ( else i would not talk to them ) but when referring to blacks they often use terms that i dont even want to mention :slight_smile:

i am not going to try and change them, cuz for example i hold a similar attitude towards fat people as they do towards blacks :slight_smile:

tolerance is of course a virtue, but it just may be too much to ask :slight_smile: you can’t just order everybody to love each other.

to summarise : i do not hate people for being racist, though i do look down on them somewhat.

Racism is a survival heuristic.

If you see a tiger in the jungle, you’d tend to run away. Why is that? It’s because the tiger is likely to be wild and carnivorous, therefore likely to attack and eat you.

For all you know, it could be tamed and/or raised as a herbivore, but the chances of that are small. So you go with the better odds.

Similarly, racism arose because of the perception (once valid, now less so) that people of a certain race are more dangerous / more criminal / less safe to be around.

There is a survival advantage in helping those people who are nearest to you, such as neighbors and family. As such are more likely to be in a position to help you back. This I think may have led to the situation where people are more positive to others who look, sound, and act like them. This unfortunately created an us and them dichotomy which though perhaps useful in the distant past is now more of a hindrance in society than a help. The immense anti-racist feeling that exists is the natural process by which society removes outdated survival heuristics from within itself. Racism is bad, very bad, but to get rid of it it needs to be considered even worse than that.

This is utter crap.

At what point in history did white Southerners have to fear the “savage darkies”? For that matter, at what point in history have white Englishmen been threatened by Indians? Or Germans by, say, the Turks/Jews/north Africans et cetera?

You might make a somewhat convincing case that the latter two examples involve fear of losing one’s job due to percieved overcrowding, but never in a million years would anyone try and argue that in the first case.

Racism isn’t a “survival heuristic”. It is, and has always been, what is retained by the oppressing group after the emancipation/manumission/enfranchisement/independence of the previous group. The oppressor sees the oppressed as inferior because he’s in charge, and his kids see the newly freed as inferior because they used to pick Dad’s cotton/tea/jute and so on.

Racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, ageism, looksism, xenophobia, etc.

They’re all based on ignorance and fear, neither one of which is an excuse. We’re all responsible for the content of our brains, or lack thereof.

You’ve clearly never encountered people who’ve been on the brunt of this so-called “passive” racism. Just b/c people aren’t being lynched, doesn’t mean that racism is a-okay.

If I could throw in my two cents here. I’m not a racist, nor do I agree with racists or the groups they believe in (eg, the KKK or NAACP, which, bluntly, are both about as racist as one can get.) But what’s so wrong about racism? It is an attitude, albiet an ignorant one, but a valid one none the less. It is my right to think of you as a ‘nigger,’ a ‘kike,’ a ‘gook,’ or whatever other ignorant phrase would apply to your ethnicity. What is NOT my right is to cause physical harm to you for said attitudes. It is NOT my right to burn a cross in your yard, and it is NOT my right to deny your rights, including your right to think of me as a ‘skinny assed gook.’

What America, and much of the world seem to forget is that there is nothing wrong with racism, so long as you observe and respect the individuals rights and freedoms. Many people seem to equate ‘tolerance,’ (eg, not burning crosses in my black neighbors yard) with ‘acceptance’ (eg, inviting said black neighbor for a beer and a steak on Superbowl Sunday.) No person should be required to ‘accept’ another person, so long as they ‘tolerate’ that individual. Dislike them all you want, that’s ok (stupid, ignorant, but acceptable) so long as you don’t cause harm to them.

In any case, this ‘gook’ would like you to know that you may think whatever you want of him, it won’t change the fact that tomorrow, I’ll don my BDU and defend your right to think of me as you will.

It’s hard for me to see those two organizations as equivalent. Does the NAACP have a history of lynching white folks?

But what about the harm one causes to oneself by hating others? Hate hurts, even if it isn’t acted upon. What if I refrain from acting upon my hate, but still pass it on to my children, either explicitly or implicitly? Does this not hurt my children?

It influences your actions and decisions based on erroneous data.

What, only physical harm? So if I call you a “scum-eating ugly waste-of-sperm bloodsucking resource-squandering wife-beating child-molesting filthy uncultured primitive goat-feltching clueless moronic delinquent sh*t-headed useless skinny-assed gook”, that’s okay?

How about if I used that phrase to refer to you when I talk to your family or friends or co-workers or associates?

Or how about I sabotage all of your attempts to advance economically or socially (a new job, a political office, volunteer work, whatever), because I don’t think a “skinny-assed gook” like you should be allowed to progress like the rest of us decent folk?

Or maybe you’re shopping for a new house, I’m your agent, and I covertly avoid showing you good, affordable homes in quality neighborhoods because I think a “skinny-assed gook” like you should only live in slums and ghettos?

After all, none of this is physical harm from racism…

As for KKK vs. NAACP comparison, when I first came to SC after tech school, we were in the middle of the Confederate Flag controversey. The pro-flag supporters had a peaceful rally which was broken up by a mob of black individuals led by then NAACP Chairman Julian Bond. There were no casualties, but there were a few molotov cocktails thrown at the predominantly white pro-flag crowd. May not be a lynching, but seeing as there was only one arrest and no convictions for these attempted murders…well, sounds like the (not so) good old days of the '30’s Klan… The KKK wants to press ‘white’ supremacy issues, the NAACP wants to press ‘black’ supremecy issues. They advocate racial superiority of one group or another. At least the NAACP advocates their racism in a public and legal manner. I forget the name of it, but there’s this group out west which is advocating the “Reunification of Azteclan,” basically the succession of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas and reunification of said states with Mexico, but only after removing or enslaving all the whites and blacks on those lands. That’s not only racist, but that’s conspiracy to commit treason.

At the risk of sounding harsh…so what? Causing harm to onesself is fine and dandy by my standards. Go ahead, smoke your tobacco. Go ahead, drink your booze. Go ahead, stay up all night and work yourself to death. I DON’T CARE about self destructive habits so long as they are within the bounds of law. If you pass your ignorant hatrid to your children, then your children become the next generation of backwards-assed individuals (whether you are white or black.) I’d like you to show me what harm it does? How does it harm your children? Does it cause cancer, or dimentia, or obesity? No. The ‘harm’ it does is it creates a worldview which may deprive the child of experiences which may or may not strenghten him or her. Thats not harm. When I was in Song-ton, South Korea (Osan AFB, specifically) I learned many a new and interesting thing (although my mom’s Korean, I didn’t learn much of the culture until I joined the Air Force.) I finally grew to appreciate kimchee, bugogi, and yakimondu. Now, while I’d LOVE to share those things with the racist family down the street, they’re not being harmed by the ignorance of them, are they?

Fine, you don’t care. The question is not what you care about, it’s about whether racism is harmful. Do you also claim that tobacco isn’t harmful, or just that you don’t care about the harm it causes?

So far, you haven’t supported the idea that racism isn’t harmful, only that you don’t care about the harm it causes as long as its done legally. I still feel pretty sure that racism is harmful, whether anyone cares or not.

By the way–kimchi, bulgogi, and yakimandu are all great. Just don’t introduce anyone to soon-dae. It would only lower their opinion of Korean cuisine.:wink:


Please let me clarify. Its not that I don’t care, its that I see no harm being done save for the fact that these individuals remain ignorant of the world outside their own narrow viewpoints. I see no difference between ‘tolerant’ racist views, which are artifically ignorant, and the non-racist ignorance of someone who lives in a small community and has simply never had the chance to become familiar with outside cultures (eg, the whole 'never been farther than 20 miles from home viewpoint.) I say that this ignorance does no actual harm to the individual because it precludes causing harm to others, and can thus be equated to so-called ‘harmful’ behaviors which do not actually cause problems beyond the individual who indulges in them.

And, thanks for the spelling tips on the foods. I’m looking to take Korean at USC for the next few semesters, just so I can floor my ma’ the next time I’m at her house.

Oh well, don’t take my spellings as gospel. I only used “soon-dae” to avoid confusion with an ice cream sundae. Anyway, in Korean class, I guess you’ll be using Hangul, not the Roman alphabet. Good luck with your studies!