We, Racist

I recently read an interesting article by John Metta over at Those People. I highly recommend reading it before reading my post as this is designed as a response and discussion and will not make as much sense unless you have read it first.

Overall, I liked the article. It was thought-provoking, well-written, and discusses a worldwide issue that absolutely needs to be addressed. That being said, most of what follows is going to be criticism of what I felt are weaknesses in the author’s approach. Also, keep in mind that I am a white male, so ensure your biases are in the correct place before continuing (rim shot).

We’ll start with some of the good. The author boldly addresses a specific facet of racism that many people don’t like to discuss, specifically people who believe racism doesn’t exist or is an issue that was “fixed” years ago. I’ll be even more direct…if you believe that racism does not exist in every area of society at this very moment you are willfully ignorant. Likewise, if you believe that it isn’t your problem, because you aren’t the one being discriminated against, you are provably wrong.

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Irrational Hatred

So far I’ve talked about a couple of hot topics, but they can really be boiled down to a simple source…bigotry.  The dictionary definition assuming dictionaries exist anymore of bigotry is “intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself.” Of course, the way it’s more commonly used is in the sense of a strong negative bias towards something, not necessarily everyone who holds a different opinion, and that is more of the sense when I’m using it.

I’m not a big fan of bigotry. I hold strong opinions, but one of those opinions is that I am always potentially wrong, and many things do not have one right answer. I’ve heard people argue this position with math, saying 2+2 always equals 4, but then I would respond that 2+2 actually equals 8/2, and I would be making a true statement.

That being said, no one is immune to bias, least of all myself. I find it is much more useful to recognize your biases rather than deny them. The former gives you a much greater chance of seeing past them, sort of like admitting to alcoholism is better than pretending that drinking three beers during breakfast is just to help take the edge of your hangover.Read More »