Sunday, August 7, 2016

Racism as fault vs Racism as the worst sin

I dislike racism. Racial supremacy talk? I think it's idiotic and impossible to meaningfully sustain, and I strongly question attempts to make genetics a pivotal factor in arguments about cultural supremacy. For various definitions of racism, you don't have to work too hard to convince me that it's wrong, immoral, etc.

But things get complicated. Tell me that a person's dislike of rap music is itself racist and condemnation-worthy, and my skepticism kicks in. Tell me that a person's dislike of black culture - framed properly - is racist, and that skepticism goes into overdrive. I think many people agree with at least this much, increasingly forbidden as it may be to say.

Let's put that aside, however, and talk about more basic, straightforward acts of racism. Calling a black person a nigger or a coon. Making a racist joke. (Why can't Stevie Wonder read? Because he's black.) Very rude, I grant you. Racist? Sure, under some typical definition of the term. In general I think criticizing someone for an aspect of themselves they have no control over is often a bridge too far, though honestly that picture of the one atheist philosopher with the lazy eye has gotten a cheap laugh out of me before. Still, I can generally get onboard with the sentiment that a guy calling some black man a nigger is doing something wrong, and I'm going to think he's being at the very least a moron.

Here's where things get tricky.

People do wrong things all the time as near as I can tell. Obama chiding people for being critical of Islam because 'the crusades' is wrong. People screaming about the evils of 'white males' is wrong. Lampooning Christians - yes, even creationists - as morons or hicks is wrong. Every day I read the news or I watch TV or I just walk down the street and I am absolutely swimming in Stuff That is Wrong. And, when pressed, a lot of people will admit that either the things I'm talking about are wrong, or at the least, one can understandably be critical of such a thing.

But when it comes to racism, 'wrong' is insufficient. Stupid utterances, even private utterances, are held as so foul and vile and wicked that the offending party must be attacked, villified, fired, sued, hurt in every way possible until they humiliate themselves in grovelling apology, upon which they will STILL be destroyed because it's important to make an example of them. Suggesting that maybe this is going a bit too far is taken as evidence that one is a klansman. Demands for consistency on this topic are ignored as well.

Pardon me, I think that's fucking nuts and I want no part of it. Wanting no part of it doesn't mean I have to join the klan - it means I'm not onboard with the great holy purge. I'll settle for something a bit closer to 'tsk tsk' like we do for most other crimes of verbal offense. I think that's appropriate enough, partly because of the inconsistency with how crimes of racial offense are treated. Partly because I truly believe it's not much of a concern anyway, especially at the level of jokes and casual talk. Partly because I think policing for racial offense does a great job of policing for cultural coverups. Better for all of us that these taboos be the cultural equivalent of decriminalized.


B. Prokop said...

I HATE rap. I can't even bring myself to say "rap music" because I sincerely do not believe it to be music. Noise is not music.

Crude said...

I like Eminem at times, and I admire his lyrical abilities. Of course he's about as black as Shaun King so hey.

Anonymous said...

Rap is just a form of chanted folk music. Not all folk music is euphonious across cultures.

The Deuce said...

I wrote something very much along these lines yesterday that you may be interested in:

Crude said...

Yeah, you touch on things I've thought but haven't gone into. Good post.

It's weird that the one absolutely obsessive sin in the modern era isn't much of a 'sin' at all. People act like a community of religious people of the same race and religion is some kind of horrifying anomaly, and not 'the freaking norm throughout history'. A community can, to a degree, but different. But it's not mandatory.

GoldRush Apple said...

>>It's weird that the one absolutely obsessive sin in the modern era isn't much of a 'sin' at all. People act like a community of religious people of the same race and religion is some kind of horrifying anomaly, and not 'the freaking norm throughout history'.

The Collective. It's part of the expanding Ten Secular Commandments.

Add on (no particular order despite the numbering) -

1. AGW
2. LGBT "rights"
3. women's "rights"
4. wage gap myth
5. universal health care & free higher education
6. allow mass, undocumented immigration
7. The Patriarchy aka The "New" Man
8. TBD
9. TBD

Crude said...

I'm sure coming up next is 'pedophiles are victims who can't control themselves, you shouldn't make them feel like monsters, they won't touch children'.

'Without their consent' will be added later.