• Judaka
    1.7k
    Racism & Sexism have evolved as terms to incorporate the societal realities left out by the interpersonal or ideological understanding. To incorporate how those affected endure hardships due to the comprehensive impact of discrimination by public & private institutions and cumulative individual action. These prejudices influence the cultural norms and values, in law, education and media. Racism & sexism are terms for describing the overall of these and other factors, as well as their intricate dynamics, which create the environments in which people are oppressed.

    Understanding sexism, racism and other similar in this comprehensive manner is distinct in many ways from understanding it as an ideology. Words, actions, thoughts, and ideas, motivated by ideology or not, can nevertheless contribute to the overall problem.

    We can't, for example, measure the social and cultural effect of sexist depictions of women in films. We can assume the perspectives such depictions encourage still manifest in some form as discrimination.

    I recognise the need for this change in understanding overall and I support it. There are some consequences for it though, and while it's in the best interests of some to ignore them, for the rest of us, they need to be addressed in some way.

    In the West, racism & sexism are considered immoral, there are no cases of either that can be justified. The terms condemn, and there are serious issues with this when you look at what the comprehensive understanding is. It's fine for the terms to generally refer to and acknowledge factors beyond explicit, personal ideology, and to acknowledge that we can't rely on people opening stating their motivations, but then we can't treat the terms the same as before.

    An important question is to ask, what is it that determines what is and isn't part of racism & sexism? For instance, when I mentioned "sexist depictions of women in films", what does that actually mean? What does it mean for a depiction of a film to be sexist?

    Just generally, the terms "racist" and "sexist" within the comprehensive view contain no specific logic. Not in the "why" or the "how", just the effect and even that approximates just "harm".

    It is not that we condemn racism or sexism in the modern context. Since one will use those terms only when condemning something, and will reject their use otherwise. To prove something is racist or sexist, only requires one to prove the effect. If one can argue that X thing was harmful and contributes to the overall experience of racism and sexism, then one can argue X thing is racist or sexist.

    Whether one believes there was intent or that their act demonstrates intent, is irrelevant anyway. Combatting racism/sexism will entail correcting behaviour and policies that contribute to the overall oppression. Why would it be okay to do nothing just because there was no intent, or it can't be proven?

    The comprehensive definition doesn't differentiate in intent, since it's merely a descriptive account of an environment or societal realities. It's exceedingly difficult to prove the extent to which "societal realities" were a result of racism & sexism using the simplistic definition. How this difficulty is dealt with, and what, specifically, racism & sexism as terms condemn, is central to dealing with the consequences of the comprehensive definition.

    I pose some questions, feel free to answer only what interest you:
    1) Is it correct that sexism, racism and other similar terms, do not function descriptively, and are moral terms that we use if and when we perceive something to be harmful to the relevant demographic?

    2) To what extent do you agree that the terms are ambiguous in terms of "how", and "why" and in describing the harm they cause?

    3) Is "ending' racism & sexism, for you, referring to the simplistic definition (prejudice) or the comprehensive one (societal realities)?

    I wanted to ask more questions but that'd be too much for one thread. I'm also happy to hear a reframing of my outlining if needed. However, I'd prefer to avoid descriptions laden with ambiguous moral terms, please try to keep things descriptive. The subjectivity involved in interpreting and applying moral terms is at the heart of this topic. I request that if you must use moral terms such as "oppression", "discrimination" etc, explain them as though they're words you've just made up, or share a link that explains them for you.
  • T Clark
    13k
    In the West, racism & sexism are considered immoral, there are no cases of either that can be justified. The terms condemn, and there are serious issues with this when you look at what the comprehensive understanding is. It's fine for the terms to generally refer to and acknowledge factors beyond explicit, personal ideology, and to acknowledge that we can't rely on people opening stating their motivations, but then we can't treat the terms the same as before.Judaka

    As I've said before, I don't use the term "racist." I don't think it's useful and it certainly is misleading. As the text from your post I quoted suggests, the term paints all offenders with the same paint - white nationalists are grouped with people who are well-meaning but unaware of their unspoken attitudes and how they are expressed. There is no policy or action that will be effective in changing racial attitudes by treating those two types of people the same.

    It's also misleading because it doesn't focus on the consequences of white peoples attitudes towards black people, which is what really matters.
  • LuckyR
    380


    I agree that "racist" more accurately describes situations or rules than people.
  • T Clark
    13k
    I agree that "racist" more accurately describes situations or rules than people.LuckyR

    I don't think it's ever useful.
  • Tzeentch
    3.4k
    They're terms that in the modern day are primarily used to whip people up into a self-righteous frenzy; a mechanic through which people are easily controlled.

    It sets up (ironically) a heirarchy of moral superiority. The racist, morally inferior - the anti-racist, morally superior. The opinions and well-being of people deemed morally inferior may be disregarded at will - very useful to silence people or get rid of people espousing unwelcome opinions. Note how RFK was recently smeared as being anti-semitic in a not-so-subtle attempt at silencing political opposition. This is degeneracy parading as moral virtue.

    While racism and sexism undoubtedly exist, the use of these terms I regard with the utmost suspicion, because people who genuinely care are rare, and it's almost always about power, manipulation, or plain old social masturbation.
  • DubiousDachshund
    4
    Descriptively, there is certainly a taboo against racism and sexism. There seems to be moral emotions like anger, contempt and perhaps even disgust towards people expressing views percieved as prejudiced. However, I'm not sure any harm is necessary to explain why these terms are used. For instance, I believe most would have these emotions even in cases where there is no link to any real harm to any of these demographics. If I met a hermit in the woods expressing negative stereotypical views about certain demographics, it's hard to say what harm this hermit caused, yet I would still likely feel the same contempt as if I heard it uttered by someone in a social context. Thus, I don't think harm is the relevant factor why we have these responses.
  • T Clark
    13k
    RFK was recently smeared as being anti-semitic in a not-so-subtle attempt at silencing political opposition.Tzeentch

    RFK was "smeared" for saying that covid had been engineered so that Jewish people would not get sick. How would you characterize Kennedy's claim?
  • Tzeentch
    3.4k
    RFK was "smeared" for saying that covid had been engineered so that Jewish people would not get sick.T Clark

    That's not what he said, though. But if you're a political opponent of RFK that's how you might like to frame it.

    I appears that you might be showcasing the degeneracy I mentioned - using racism as a stick to beat political opposition with.
  • NOS4A2
    8.4k


    If the suffix “ism” denotes a practice, system, or philosophy, it is not possible to see racism in an effect or social condition because neither have any beliefs nor adhere to any. A certain state of affairs may be the result of racism, but it cannot itself be racism. So in my view such a comprehensive view of racism just doesn’t work.

    I also believe that if one adopts such a comprehensive view of racism he risks using racism to maintain it.

    Before all else he must adopt a belief in the taxonomy of race and apply it to individual human beings in order to classify them under its rubric. If this taxonomy informs his worldview in this way he must at some level, from benign thoughts to overt actions, treat people differently on the basis of this one specious classification. This is the fundamentals racism.

    Race can only ever serve as a vehicle of fallacious assumptions, anyways. It cannot inform us about an individual or the life she leads. It can only ever benefit the user, not because it provides him with information about people, but because it provides him with a way out, a means to escape learning about someone from the source, which is the only means to acquire understanding of others. So I’d say ditch race and racism altogether.
  • Paine
    2.1k

    I get the impression you do not live in one of those places shaped by racial differences.
  • NOS4A2
    8.4k


    What did I write that someone with your species of race-thinking would object to?
  • Judaka
    1.7k

    I agree the term "racist" is misleading, in more ways than one. I don't know what the term should mean within the comprehensive definition of racism.


    I believe it would be the type of thinking that is found harmful, not the instance of its use. I do recognise that someone could find it offensive for other reasons than harmful and the general notions of "immoral" or "wrong" are also applicable. The condemnation of sexism/racism isn't part of a larger effort of condemning prejudice, nor is it part of a condemnation of generalisations. It's because of their history of harm that these terms have any weight to them. We're quite happy to do prejudice and generalise in some contexts, aren't we?


    I suppose that "ism" is yet another example of how the terms really should've been relabelled but nonetheless. The comprehensive definition does describe some important aspects of racism, and the simplistic definition can be trivialising. Neither of them works well in every context, and there should be two different words, that we could use whatever is most appropriate. I do think when we condemn racism, we are often condemning "The justification and acting out of X, Y and Z using racism", rather than "Prejudice is bad", right? In that sense, the comprehensive definition has some validity.
  • T Clark
    13k
    That's not what he saidTzeentch

    “COVID-19. There is an argument that it is ethnically targeted. COVID-19 attacks certain races disproportionately,” Kennedy said. “COVID-19 is targeted to attack Caucasians and black people. The people who are most immune are Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese.”New York Post
  • Paine
    2.1k

    Race thinking. So, what is that?

    An acknowledgement of a sequence of events or something else?
  • NOS4A2
    8.4k


    You use the concept of race to inform your worldview. For instance you speak of “racial differences”.
  • Paine
    2.1k
    Are you using a rubric where all are the same?
    I agree as a matter of identity but situations in the world are very different. You have not expressed much interest in those differences.
  • NOS4A2
    8.4k


    I’m speaking of people, not situations. The taxonomy of race pertains to human beings. Do you apply the concept to people or situations?
  • 180 Proof
    14.4k
    1) Is it correct that sexism, racism and other similar terms, do not function descriptively, and are moral terms that we use if and when we perceive something to be harmful to the relevant demographic?Judaka
    No.

    2) To what extent do you agree that the terms are ambiguous in terms of "how", and "why" and in describing the harm they cause?
    Consider this post from an old thread "Racism or Prejudice? Is there a real difference?" in which I sketch the "why & how" of these "isms" ...
    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/543213

    Also, more succinctly, from another thread "Reverse racism/sexism" ...
    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/733571

    Lastly, from "Does systematic racism exist in the US?" ...
    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/451840

    3) Is "ending' racism & sexism, for you, referring to the simplistic definition (prejudice) or the comprehensive one (societal realities)?
    "Social realities".
  • Tzeentch
    3.4k
    So clearly you have no idea what he said, because here's what he actually said:




    Degenerate journalism from the New York Post to smear a political opponent, and you're enabling it because you view RFK as a political opponent too.

    So it appears I was right - you are showcasing the exact degeneracy I was talking about. It's disgusting.
  • LuckyR
    380


    Uummm... never useful, eh? Becsuse racism and sexism don't exist?
  • Paine
    2.1k

    The distinction you make between persons and the situations they find themselves in is interesting. What I would approach as degrees of freedom are imagined by you as a given condition. Your assumptions are not capable of comparison with any set of conditions.
  • T Clark
    13k
    you view RFK as a political opponent too.Tzeentch

    RFK Jr. is a clown.
  • NOS4A2
    8.4k


    The concept of race is unable to furnish any valid information about any given person. The best one could assume from the phenotypes associated with race is perhaps what a person’s parents may have looked like, and even that is fraught with difficulty and often misleading.

    But to make the assumption that since someone is of such-and-such a race, this can somehow explain such-and-such a condition, is racism in both the wide and narrow sense.
  • T Clark
    13k
    Uummm... never useful, eh? Becsuse racism and sexism don't exist?LuckyR

    As I've said before, white people don't like, trust, or respect black people. "Racism" is a euphemism that rounds over the sharp corners and takes out some of the sting. It takes something intensely personal and hateful and makes it impersonal and institutional. Using that word makes people feel like they're doing something when they're really not.
  • Tzeentch
    3.4k
    RFK Jr. is a clown.T Clark

    Oh, perhaps. I don't really care.

    Smearing people with lies is degenerate. Believing such practices are acceptable just because one dislikes the target of the smears is likewise degenerate.

    Thanks for making my point for me. :up:
  • T Clark
    13k
    Uummm... never useful, eh? Becsuse racism and sexism don't exist?LuckyR

    As I've said before, white people don't like, trust, or respect black people.T Clark

    Case in point:

    Black fisherman repeatedly confronted by white neighbors, who ask what he’s doing there

    Anthony Gibson said his TikTok videos show “what people like me have to go through when they live in a nice neighborhood.”

    Three times in one day, Anthony Gibson was asked by a white person what he was doing sitting by a pond in his neighborhood in Newnan, Georgia... Gibson, who is Black and documents his experiences fishing for catfish, carp, crappies and other fish on the social platform, said he has started videotaping every time one of the white residents in his 200-home development, Springwater Plantation, confronts him, asking for his address and questioning whether he should be there. He told NBC News that he soon learned he wasn’t the only Black resident of the community to be confronted by white neighbors.

    In the July 11 video, Gibson sat with two Black female friends when a white resident... told him that the lake was for “residents only,” and that she would take down his license plate to report him to local authorities. By the end of the day, Gibson said he and his friends were approached a total of four times that day by residents asking him if he lived in the community... Two other white men fishing nearby told Gibson that they had been fishing at the pond for seven years and had never been questioned, even though they didn’t live in the community...

    “I’m telling the police, ‘Why are you bothering me?’” Gibson said. “I said, ‘I can’t believe that you’re bothering me this much and all I’m doing is fishing.’ I’m not smoking. I’m not drinking. I’m not partying. I’m not making loud noise. I’m not loitering. But you asked me all of these questions.”
    NBC News
  • T Clark
    13k
    You wrote:

    you view RFK as a political opponent too.Tzeentch

    In response I wrote "RFK Jr. is a clown," because I don't consider him a legitimate political opponent at all. Whatever you think of me, you shouldn't ascribe motives to me when you don't know what you're talking about.
  • Tzeentch
    3.4k
    Your behavior suggests otherwise, which is why you're participating in the smear.
  • T Clark
    13k
    Your behavior suggests otherwise, which is why you're participating in the smear.Tzeentch

    Hey, @Quixodian, @Tzeentch is bickering.
  • BC
    13.2k
    I've been reading about the 1919 Chicago race riot by a contemporary reporter -- Carl Sandburg, the poet, writing for the Chicago Sun Times. WWI was over and the Great Migration of blacks from the south to northern industrial cities continued. There was a lot of labor unrest, corporate resistance, and racial tension in the country as a whole.

    Sandburg's articles are snapshots of various aspects of the black/white encounter in Chicago centering on jobs, income, housing, and rent. It's about the behavior of employers and real estate agents; white workers, black workers, unions and families.

    His reports are refreshing because Sandburg recounts MATERIAL events--causes and consequences. Neither "racism" nor "sexism" are used as explanatory devices.

    The book is about a deadly race riot that began at a Lake Michigan beach, but it is surprising how often integration occurred without incident. The meat packing industry was unionized, and black slaughterhouse workers were strongly encouraged to join the unions, which they did. Many factories were integrated with management suppressing hostility from white workers (profits over conflict).

    Housing was definitely not integrated. Rents for blacks were significantly higher than for whites, for often inferior housing. White flight from neighborhoods where blacks were approaching was a well-established phenomenon in 1919. Owners of apartment buildings might sell at a loss rather than rent to blacks, but after the dollar-loss sale, the next owner would rent to blacks at much higher rents.

    Of course, if everything had been just great, except for a few housing problems, there wouldn't have been a race riot. The cause of the riot was pretty clear: Some white people were flatly unwilling to accept the presence of blacks in their communities and acted accordingly. It was race hatred--a more concrete term than racism.
  • Joshs
    5.3k
    As I've said before, white people don't like, trust, or respect black people. "Racism" is a euphemism that rounds over the sharp corners and takes out some of the stingT Clark

    Hmm.. racism vs anti-blackism. I think the problem is the ‘ism’ that is implied whenever we pit one broad category (white) against another (black).
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