Racism, Axiomatically

  1. Racism in any form is abhorrent.
  2. Anyone can be a racist, regardless of their own race.
  3. Racism, even when rooted in a desire to exact retribution for racism, is unjustifiable, in part because it creates a negative feedback loop that results in increasingly virulent racism.
  4. There are different kinds of racists: some are unrepentant, but others are deeply troubled by their prejudices and seek ways to repress, redress, and expunge them.
  5. To address all racism with a single response is unconstructive. The response must match the situation and the perpetrator.
  6. Racist behavior and actions can and should be regulated by law and government as a matter of protecting the fundamental rights of all.
  7. Racism itself cannot be eliminated by government action or legislation.
  8. Racism often takes insidious forms and can hide behind ostensibly non-racist or even anti-racist behavior.
  9. At the same time, projecting racism into a situation in which it does not exist is as reprehensible as ignoring racism where it does exist, if for no other reason than it undermines efforts to address and eliminate actual racism.
  10. Historically, in the United States, European-Americans have been the primary vector of racism.
  11. That does not mean, however, that only European-Americans can be racist, nor that racism today is found only among European-Americans.
  12. De-legitimizing or ignoring European-American voices in the dialogue about racism is prima facie a racist act, especially as European-Americans undergo the transition to ethnic minority status.

 

 

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Author: David Wolf

An adviser to corporations and organizations on strategy, communications, and public affairs, David Wolf has been working and living in Beijing since 1995, and now divides his time between China and California. He also serves as a policy and industry analyst focused on innovative and creative industries, a futurist, and an amateur historian.

2 thoughts on “Racism, Axiomatically”

  1. Don’t forget to include the influence of a deep seeded predilection for tribalism among humans and a primal fear of those not from your tribe. Skin color just makes it easier to group people you don’t know. And while in modern society it may be abhorrent, it is not, in a fundamental sense, irrational.

  2. I’ll have to disagree with you here, Bill.

    The deep-seatedness of an inherently irrational system of categorization doesn’t make it less irrational!

    “Us vs Them” is only a “useful” instinct if you truly believe that the universe really is a nil-sum-game, where every win for you and yours is a loss for me and mine.

    I’d argue that is also irrational, just like every impulse (like “grouping people you don’t know”) that flows from it is irrational.

    Poison tree. Poison fruit.

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