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Racism is A Heterogeneous Thing

March 28, 2012

‘Racism’ is a useless notion that encompasses quite different attitudes surrounding quite different (and often largely ineradicable) social dynamics.

Some ‘racism’ amounts to no more than noting or making fun of basically trivial group differences: Asians are short; white people can’t dance, blacks love fried chicken. At worst this is xenophobia, or perhaps bullying on a larger scale—akin to teasing a fat or socially awkward kid. But sometimes it’s perfectly good-humoured and totally harmless, as long as everyone in earshot shares a sense of humour and a modicum of trust.

Sometimes racial attitudes are genuinely coloured by fear or even hatred. But even here the cases are very different. Blacks, for example, commit a lot of crime and demand a lot of social services. The fear and hatred people sometimes feel towards blacks thus reflects contempt and literal concern for physical safety. On the other hand, Asians can seem too talented—too smart, too hard working. So the fear and hatred that whites may feel for Asians is coloured rather by resentment and fear of losing out—losing jobs and college spots, for example.

Moreover, all of this goes in more than one direction. Whites can fear or resent blacks for their positive (social, physical, musical) abilities as well as feeling contempt for blacks because of their social pathologies. Blacks likewise can resent white success while also feeling contempt for white softness or physical inferiority. Asians feel contempt for whites pathologies and lack of intelligence while also resenting them for stealing their women. And so on and on.

Nothing much can ultimately be done about any of this, so long as there are racially heterogeneous societies. Status jockeying is inevitable, so you’ll never get rid of bullying. And groups are different, with different strengths and weakness, and everyone knows it, so fear and resentment and insecurity and so on are inevitable. Intermarriage will change some of this over time, but only by creating new divides.

People who talk about ‘racism’ are just declaring their ignorance of, or unwillingness to learn about, the genuine difficulties and complexities of a multi-racial society. As long as ‘racism’ is the rubric we employ in trying to understand social friction, we will never be able to do more than muddle along.

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