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Author Topic: A Question of Racism and What Defines It  (Read 1741 times)

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Offline mrsjaz

Re: A Question of Racism and What Defines It
« Reply #50 on: June 01, 2013, 05:21:44 PM »
I don't know, I think history will prove that wrong -- even though heavily criticised this Report is still very influential.

My argument isn't that institutional racism doesn't exist; it quite clearly does. My argument is that there can be (and is) racism outside of the institutionalised form and "white people can't suffer from racism" style arguments only work if there isn't. If someone is attacked merely because of their race then they've suffered a racist attack. Telling them afterwards that it "wasn't really racism" because of the relative privilege of their race compared to their attackers is at best insulting and at worst a form of racism itself (as it reduces the victim to simply being part of one race)... while also flouting the first point you made above.

I think part of the problem with the “its not really racism” statement and the feelings it generates is because (and I don’t know the stats on this) the more a person can be identified as a “minority” and discrimination is identified, then the more racism becomes identified with them. Do men suffer from sexism and exploitation? Yes, they do but the scale is much small and not as identified.     
So I understand your point , but I find the definition of racism lacking , and the more I dig the more the definition is critiqued and modified. But I may have assumed you agreed racism was not a clearly defined idea (within some circles ), and I should not have.

In its most basic form it’s racism if a white boy stabs a black boy (or vice versa ) and has a least a tangible history of racism that can be proven in court , otherwise it‘s ‘allegedly’ racist.
I think one of the reasons the definition is problematic is that the victims of racial prejudice helped define racism  ( as apposed to racial prejudice )  and they delved deeper into why racial prejudice existed.
So, for instance, it was known people learnt to be racist ( as opposed to it being natural (although xenophobia includes a racial definition -- amongst others ) , but it also existed outside of the home and had it had an impact on society and all its institutions. It had an ideology and a politic and so on.
So the basic level of racism for them … “ Ooh a white man, I hate whites, I’m going to kill him,”… represented a symptom of racism. And that type of racism contained no power and no ideology but it did contain prejudice  leaving the cause -- the actual racism, unaddressed.

They obviously had to go against the norm, politically, socially and academically, to try to prove what you’ve just said in such a matter-of-fact way: “institutional racism quite clearly exists.”  So the point I’m making is that definitions of racism are not free from critiques. A black man stabbing a white man while saying ‘I hate all whites,’ is a definition of racism that requires explanation because was he killing the man because of his racism? Or his prejudice? Racism has been ingrained into our culture and society, it acts on the majority. In other words, and in my opinion, racism is like a political identification of the ideology of racial prejudice.

Racism seems to have evolved from the term ‘racial discrimination.’ It’s a shorter, easier word to use, and means the same thing anyway right?
A racially motivated killing is what it really needs to be called -- forget racism. Is it racism though? Well yes, a form of racism.

Racial prejudice is type of racism.
Racial discrimination is also a form racism can take. Institutional racism, well as I said it’s still not a clearly defined thing and subject to criticism -- some would say your statement that it “clearly exists“ is a false one.

Anyway I do enjoy reading this thread but promise myself time and time again not to reply because well I’m lazy about research and hate generalizing too much.