30 September 2008

Racism -- Some Thoughts

“In order to get beyond racism, we must first take account of race. There is no other way. And in order to treat some persons equally, we must treat them differently.”

-- Harry A. Blackmun (American Supreme Court Justice, 1908 - 1999)

“Racism is man's gravest threat to man - the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason.”

-- Abraham J. Heschel (Jewish theologian and philosopher, 1907 - 1972)


Polar Bear said...

There is no justification for racism, where racism is based upon race. Not liking someone for their ethnic origins when ALL OTHER THINGS ARE EQUAL is stupid.

On the other hand much of what is claimed as racism isn’t really racism. Its factual based personal choices.

If an ethnic group predominately feature in an activity then facts are facts. At midyear 2007 there were 4,618 black male sentenced prisoners per 100,000 black males in the United States, compared to 1,747 Hispanic male sentenced prisoners per 100,000 Hispanic males and 773 white male sentenced prisoners per 100,000 white males.

That isn’t anti black racism, its simple facts. Not nice ones, and it may not be polite to mention them to a black person, but they are the truth. And so often truth is hidden by the smokescreen of racist chants.

Rob Baiton said...


There is plenty of "literature" floating around in cyber space and elsewhere that make statistical, scientific, and psychological arguments for an individuals penchant to stick with their own or to explain the differences.

I have read recently, for example, that sub-Saharan Africans have on average a lower IQ than Whites who in turn have a lower IQ than East Asians.

I have also read that black men have higher serum testosterone levels which makes them prone to spontaneous and high risk behaviour (and also good at sport) and this can explain the higher rates of crime.

I am not sure that we can break these things down into the simplest common denominator and explain away all of our ills as a community.

However, my recent readings are important to me because if I am going to argue against these things then I need to be well-informed as to what I am arguing against.

Knowledge is power!

Polar Bear said...

I fully agree. The internet puts research into all of our hands, and ends the “because I say so” type arguments. Its hard to argue with facts, and researching those facts give us better understanding of the issues.

There may be conflicting facts, and there may be complex circumstances behind seemingly simplistic facts, but at least it provides rational grounds for discussion.

Rob Baiton said...


Unfortunately, "we" do not always enter into rational discussion. The "we" being communal.

I often find rational discussion means a yelling / slanging match until someone turns away or gives up. This is generally premised on my arguments and proof are well founded and your arguments and proof are not.

Oh well!