I used to condemn any form of organization by race. A union of hispanic engineering students or east asian plumbers seemed to me at the least silly and at the worst harmful to race relations. I could never see how the color of one’s skin should be relevant to anything except the color of shirts one wears. In principle this stemmed from my Catholic upbringing, which stressed that we are all created in the image of God, etc. and historically the church has always been, well, catholic (universal) in its approach to humanity. And for practical purposes, I would have maintained that racism will only ever die when the category “race” dies and people stop thinking in those terms.
But now that I am an atheist, all bets are off. I am in a sort of moral/ethical vacuum.
Without Christian principle prejudicing me, just viewing the world as it is, I see that people tend to like to be around people like themselves. When given the opportunity to freely associate, such as when they choose where to live, what church to attend, or where to sit in school lunchrooms, race will be a significant factor in those choices for many. Is that racism? What is wrong with wanting to be around people with whom you share a common heritage/ancestry, a common language (or dialect), common fashions, taste in music, and body language?
Ok. But then we have groups who form along these lines and become active in trying to initiate change which is beneficial specifically to that group, with disregard for other groups. Student organizations, political organizations, charities which selectively help only certains races, etc. In the past, I would have said such things are ultimately more harmful and perpetuate the friction between the races. Now … i don’t know.
So two questions:
(1) Is it ok for people for organize by race? e.g., unions of hispanic engineering students or east asian plumbers. If no, why not?
(2) If so, is it ok for white people to similarly self identify and organize along those lines? If no, why not?