• dazed
    60
    Ending racism will be a long path, but part of the solution lies
    in Morgan Freeman's simple suggestion
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GeixtYS-P3s

    If we all stop using words like "black" "white" etc and teach our children that those are bad words then racism will end in a few generations.

    If there are no categories, there can be no opportunity for differential treatment based on those categories

    Of course to follow this path, one has to accept that race is an unscientific useless concept.
    Some will dispute that and I do not wish to go down that path here.

    I am suggesting that for those of us who do believe that the concept of race has no place in our language, then if you really want to end racism then simply stop using words like black white etc.

    I have done this for years. If you want to describe someone's culture do so. He has parents who immigrated from Italy but he was born in Brooklyn. If you want to describe someone's physical appearance do so. He has brown curly hair with brown eyes and a fair complexion. This captures our reality in a much more useful way than saying "he is white"

    Recent horrible events have brought to the forefront the issue of racism, and if you are truly concerned, start with your language, and teach others to move this way. Just stop using colour words you will soon see how your own conceptual framework leaves no room to be racist.

    Moderators, I would appreciate it if you did not combine this thread with the other solutions to racism thread as I would like to explore my suggestion in isolation and with those that are like minded in their dismissal of the concept of race itself.
  • Tzeentch
    687
    Beautiful words by Morgan Freeman, and I couldn't agree more.

    Sadly, media, politicians and other interest groups seem all to keen on promoting a 'black vs. white' narrative. They get away with it, because gullible people like being told what they want to hear.
  • Echarmion
    1.5k
    If we all stop using words like "black" "white" etc and teach our children that those are bad words then racism will end in a few generations.dazed

    I don't think racism is sustained purely by language. If that were the case, where would racism have come from in the first place? Did someone accidentially invent racist language?

    I think the real problem is a lot harder. Racism is part of the human condition. And everyone has to actively work to not be racist.
  • Nuke
    116
    Of course to follow this path, one has to accept that race is an unscientific useless concept.dazed

    While it's true that genetically there is very little difference between the races, a cultural divide built over many centuries is a very real thing. So words like white, black, asian etc do have a useful meaning. Your post is well intended, but suffers from an overdose of political correctness dogma.
  • Harry Hindu
    3.3k
    While it's true that genetically there is very little difference between the races, a cultural divide built over many centuries is a very real thing. So words like white, black, asian etc do have a useful meaning.Nuke
    Then the problem is assigning values to different cultures. There is no culture that matters more or less than any other.
  • dazed
    60


    I agree racism is a complex problem but changing your own language use is a step in the right direction

    try it and see how your own propensity for preference (at least in this one category) vanishes
  • Nuke
    116
    I agree racism is a complex problem but changing your own language use is a step in the right directiondazed

    Ok, but language use seems too easy a way out.

    How about we provide totally free education (room and board, books, tuition, everything) to all Black and Indian Americans to use on any kind of education from truck driving school to Phd. This system continues until such time as the wealth gap between whites, blacks and indians is erased. It's paid for primarily by the super rich, those who have benefited most from the rigged system, and those who have the vast majority of the money.

    So, erase the wealth gap, at no charge to almost anybody. But we can't do it. We can't even really talk about it. And that's because the reality is...

    We don't really give a shit.

    Political correctness is a pose. We'll know it's real when the money starts to roll.
  • dazed
    60
    Ok, but language use seems too easy a way out.

    How about we provide totally free education (room and board, books, tuition, everything) to all Black and Indian Americans to use on any kind of education from truck driving school to Phd. This system continues until such time as the wealth gap between whites, blacks and indians is erased. It's paid for primarily by the super rich, those who have benefited most from the rigged system, and those who have the vast majority of the money.

    So, erase the wealth gap, at no charge to almost anybody. But we can't do it. We can't even really talk about it. And that's because the reality is...

    We don't really give a shit.

    Political correctness is a pose. We'll know it's real when the money starts to roll.
    Nuke

    The vastness of the issues that stand in the way of utopia at the macro level are utterly depressing
    I am offering one simple suggestion that will at least eventually eliminate one of the categories that allow for unequal treatment
  • Benkei
    3.3k
    I think it's naive. Not using "black" would not allow us to describe what it is to be black as a decidedly different proposition from being white. Once equal opportunity and equality before the law are real, even then, it would be stupid as we'd no longer be able to ask "are we really equal before the law and do we really have equal opportunity?" if we don't know what differences are justified and which aren't. Working more and longer is a difference that leads to justified differences in pay. Gender and skin colour aren't. So once you fix it, how are you going to make sure it stays that way if you stop recognising what unacceptable grounds for differences are?

    Denial of reality is not going to solve any problem. Ever.
  • dazed
    60
    Denial of reality is not going to solve any problem. Ever.Benkei

    like I said, this approach only works for those of us who hold the position that in fact race is not a part of our reality

    you won't need equal opportunity for "races" if there are no "races"
  • bongo fury
    475
    Racism is part of the human condition.Echarmion

    It may be, now, but were there any pseudo-scientific theories of racial superiority disseminated widely prior to the advent of the trans-Atlantic slave trade?

    If not, do you perhaps mean rather that some more general and symmetric relation of xenophobia is innate?

    I doubt that anyway (here), but the kind of racism that I imagine I would find especially hard to bear politely would be the kind that dared to assert my natural inferiority. (And compounded the error to the nth degree by seeing my resultant social subjugation as evidence for the theory.)

    So I am especially suspicious of the claim of innateness if it is meant to apply to that kind of racism.

    Anyway, perhaps by "human condition" you don't mean innate?
  • unenlightened
    5k
    It's not about the language.

    https://leejasper.blogspot.com/2020/06/lambeth-metropolitan-police-officers.html?fbclid=IwAR0OTXa5hScnS4qxVsyq2wfBrFS-6OYCgFV592K9f4xCLZsuaxsmOgDa44c

    And nothing in this story is part of the human condition, nothing is inevitable. We do not need to behave like this, we do not need to treat each other like this. and learning a different way of speaking will not sort it.
  • Tzeentch
    687
    An event occurs, and the immediate conclusion is that it must be because of racism. What if the skin colors of those involved had nothing to do with any of it?

    Media loves to frame things to fit a narrative. Media loves outrage, because outrage draws attention. It's all about language, because it so deviously manipulates us.
  • Echarmion
    1.5k
    It may be, now, but were there any pseudo-scientific theories of racial superiority disseminated widely prior to the advent of the trans-Atlantic slave trade?

    If not, do you perhaps mean rather that some more general and symmetric relation of xenophobia is innate?
    bongo fury

    Yes, you may be right about that. I should have said "xenophobia". I don't know whether, say, ancient egyptians or the romans had any fixed ideas about race or racial inferiority based on their contacts with africans.

    I doubt that anyway (here), but the kind of racism that I imagine I would find especially hard to bear politely would be the kind that dared to assert my natural inferiority. (And compounded the error to the nth degree by seeing my resultant social subjugation as evidence for the theory.)

    So I am especially suspicious of the claim of innateness if it is meant to apply to that kind of racism.

    Anyway, perhaps by "human condition" you don't mean innate?
    bongo fury

    Well, I don't know it's innate in the strict sense. I didn't want to allude some sort of is-ought-fallacy, where racism or xenophobia are (more) acceptable because they are in some way "natural". I just wanted to point out, partially from personal experience, that not being prejudiced is really hard, and that there are mental mechanisms (wherever they come from) that introduce and reinforce prejudice, of which racism is a subtype.

    Just refusing to say the word "black" won't keep your brain from noticing that "these guys over there look different", and if you don't pay attention, your brain may turn "different" into "dangerous".
  • unenlightened
    5k
    An event occurs, and the immediate conclusion is that it must be because of racism. What if the skin colors of those involved had nothing to do with any of it?

    Media loves to frame things to fit a narrative. Media loves outrage, because outrage draws attention. It's all about language, because it so deviously manipulates us.
    Tzeentch

    What would convince you? Not media, obviously. Statistics? Is there something short of a declaration of white supremacy?
  • Tzeentch
    687
    What would convince you? Not media, obviously. Statistics? Is there something short of a declaration of white supremacy?unenlightened

    Not really.

    Somehow racism is poorly hidden, and those racists I have met in my life often had no problem telling me so.
  • NOS4A2
    3.5k


    Not only in language, but by extension thinking. If we view individuals as individuals rather than a component of this or that race we negate any foundation for race-thinking.
  • bongo fury
    475
    I didn't want to allude some sort of is-ought-fallacy, where racism or xenophobia are (more) acceptable because they are in some way "natural".Echarmion

    No I know you didn't. You made it clear you want to guard against the innate tendency. I just suspect the tendency isn't innate at all, and that that might be relevant to the question how best to guard against it.

    I just wanted to point out, partially from personal experience, that not being prejudiced is really hard,Echarmion

    I'm not sure this kind of breast-beating (if that's the figure; pardon if I'm over-doing it) is necessary or helpful.

    and that there are mental mechanisms (wherever they come from) that introduce and reinforce prejudice, of which racism is a subtype.Echarmion

    So, do you at least see how, if I were right about the whole innateness hypothesis being (gladly or not) a racism-serving myth, that repeating these psychologisms might be counter-productive?

    Just refusing to say the word "black" won't keep your brain from noticing that "these guys over there look different", and if you don't pay attention, your brain may turn "different" into "dangerous".Echarmion

    Ditto, really.

    Not sure whether I agree at all with the OP about tweaking the language. But the innateness thing gets in the way.
  • creativesoul
    8.3k
    If we all stop using words like "black" "white" etc and teach our children that those are bad words then racism will end in a few generations.dazed

    This seems patently wrong-minded, despite my fondness for Morgan Freeman. Racism is not fueld by the names we choose to use as a means to describe people we devalue based upon the color of their skin.

    One will devalue black people, if they are so inclined, regardless of the language used to do so.

    It's the devaluation that's the problem, not the means for doing so. Language use is the means.
  • fishfry
    1.5k
    If we all stop using words like "black" "white" etc and teach our children that those are bad words then racism will end in a few generations.dazed

    We could sit in a circle together and sing Kumbaya. Yeah, that's the ticket.

    Just someone who remembers the 60's here.
  • Echarmion
    1.5k
    No I know you didn't. You made it clear you want to guard against the innate tendency. I just suspect the tendency isn't innate at all, and that that might be relevant to the question how best to guard against it.bongo fury

    Fair enough. I shouldn't go around positing things as fact when I haven't done the legwork first.

    So, do you at least see how, if I were right about the whole innateness hypothesis being (gladly or not) a racism-serving myth, that repeating these psychologisms might be counter-productive?bongo fury

    Not really, honestly. Do you mean because it might lead us to misallocte resources for fighting racism? Or could reflecting about how your mind deals with "being different" actually make you more racist?
  • unenlightened
    5k
    Not really.

    Somehow racism is poorly hidden, and those racists I have met in my life often had no problem telling me so.
    Tzeentch
    How do you know that? Do just assume that all racists are proud enough to be open about it? It seems to me that being racist is something one might want to hide because it can get you into trouble, rather like homosexuality can in some places. It would get you banned from this site for instance. It would get a policeman sacked I'm fairly sure, in the UK.

    It would be rather odd, don't you think given how very very few people declare racism that is is such an issue in society. Why would Morgan Freeman think it is worth our all changing our language for the sake of a few nutters?
  • StreetlightX
    5.9k
    This is like peak enlightened liberalism. How should we deal with racism? A: Remove the ability to speak about it. Job done!

    It's hard to imagine a more bright-line example of what privilege is than this thread. Like children closing their eyes and pretending that will make the Bad Thing go away. Bloody infantile.
  • Tzeentch
    687
    Why would Morgan Freeman think it is worth our all changing our language for the sake of a few nutters?unenlightened

    Because he understands that all of this chasing ghosts is putting more and more emphasis on skin color. It polarizes. It makes people more aware of race.

    In fact, I'm convinced that continuously telling people they or others are secretly racist would sooner create racists than solve any problems.

    It's saying "Look, those people over there may seem nice, but secretly they hate you and they're the reason you cannot get a job/didn't finish school, etc."

    Converse it's saying "You may think you're not racist, but <insert statistic without context here> shows that you are. Not only that, everyone around you, they're racist too! And everything you worked for in life? All paid for by racism!"

    Of course, "racism" in this context only applies to the "black vs. white"-narrative. Never mind all the racism perpetrated by people of all colors, because apparently that doesn't matter.

    This current 'black vs. white' nonsense does nothing but create racial tensions where there were none. It serves to polarize and it has nothing to do with justice. It manipulates people by telling them exactly what they want to hear, while holding up the carrot of moral superiority. The only question we should be asking is who profits from a polarized society filled with hatred for the other?
  • ernestm
    1k
    Well I have two obersatoins to make for you. First, I shared the following letter to Brad Heath, Hournalist at USA Today:

    "Sir, I am writing you because of your article:"Baltimore police stopped noticing crime after Freddie Gray's death. A wave of killings followed," July 12, 2018. Link:
    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2018/07/12/baltimore-police-not-noticing-crime-after-freddie-gray-wave-killings-followed/744741002/
    I tried raising your issue on Facebook that hundreds more black lives will probably be lost due to lack of police intervention, as per your article. I was repeatedly banned due to complaints this constitutes hate speech, probably by felonious-minded people. I sincerely request that you compare the current scenario in Minnesota with Baltimore.
    — ernest meyer

    I was immediately banned on Facebook a third time in two week due to allegations of racism and hate speech. If you can find what is racist or hateful in what I wrote, I'd be glad to hear it.

    My second observation is WHY this is happening. What I observe is that, overall, the police has been doing its job very well, more than halving the number of known crimes since 1990. This chart only shows robberies (and not assaults). While one in 20 citizens were robbed in 1990, it was going to be only 1 in 50 this year. Assaults add ~10% to these numbers. Despite the USA's high incarceration rate, only about half of the known felons are in prison, leaving ~3 million felonious thieves on the street, and ~8 million more would-be felons, had the police not been doing its job so well.

    1280px-Property_Crime_Rates_in_the_United_States.svg.png

    Thus there is literally >10 million resentful would-be and actual criminals in the USA, all deeply wishing the police didn't exist at all. It seems to me that it is the black majority in this criminal-minded group which is causing all the racial friction now. I wish I could say otherwise, but that does rather seem to be statistical fact, that it is a black majority in >10 million criminal-minded people in the USA now. I'm not trying to distort the numbers. That just seems to be fact, and I am not so stupid as to post that on Facebook too.
  • unenlightened
    5k
    This current 'black vs. white' nonsense does nothing but create racial tensions where there were none.Tzeentch

    Right. So racism isn't created by a legacy of a culture of colour-based slavery justified by a racist narrative of white superiority, followed by years of jim crow laws Klan terrorism and lynching, endless propaganda and jokes against black people and so on. It's created by anti racists. As long as we're clear. I rather disagree.
  • StreetlightX
    5.9k
    Right. So racism isn't created by a legacy of a culture of colour-based slavery justified by a racist narrative of white superiority, followed by years of jim crow laws Klan terrorism and lynching, endless propaganda and jokes against black people and so on. It's created by anti racists. As long as we're clear.unenlightened

    It's so fucking stupid.
  • Tzeentch
    687
    This was never the subject of discussion. You're dodging the point.

    It's so fucking stupid.StreetlightX

    Solid argumentation.

    I'm guessing the two of you were told something you didn't like to hear, and now feel the need to resort to... whatever this is?
  • StreetlightX
    5.9k
    No I heard something stupid and called it stupid I'm sorry if that's over your head I know nuances like that are hard to grasp.
  • ernestm
    1k
    This current 'black vs. white' nonsense does nothing but create racial tensions where there were none.
    — Tzeentch

    Right. So racism isn't created by a legacy of a culture of colour-based slavery justified by a racist narrative of white superiority, followed by years of jim crow laws Klan terrorism and lynching, endless propaganda and jokes against black people and so on. It's created by anti racists. As long as we're clear. I rather disagree.
    unenlightened

    Historically the problem of racism has linguistic roots in the USA independent of the black/white color dispute due to the Sapir/Whorf debate. These linguists posited that thought is constrained by the language one knows, most eloquestionly put in Whorf;s article here about how Hopi indican verbs have no concept of fixed time intervals, which he claimed explained why Hopis could not keep punch cards like other people when they went to work. It's a very persausive argument:

    https://www.scribd.com/doc/44763816/WHORF-An-American-Indian-Model-of-the-Universe

    The Sapir/Whorf debate caused an immense amount of friction in the 1970s due to attempts to modify school curricula, and to redefine scholastic tests such IQ and SAT, such that different linguistic groups would not be discriminated against.

    The anti-racist groups considered this attempt to be a huge insult to African Americans, and the entire debate as to whether language must predate thought became discredited as bigoted hate speech.
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