So You Think You’re A Racist?
Stephen A. Peterson
In part one, questions were raised with regards to the illicit and irrational application of “racism/racist” toward people. It is pointed out that “racism/racist” has intentionally been moved to a political construct designed to inhibit discussion to blame, shame person the speaker/thinker disagree with. Part II will continue this discussion
Race or Ethnic Group: That Is A Question:
In today’s societies worldwide, the distinction between an ethnic group and a racial group has been intentionally blurred by biologic and social scientists. Some of these reasons are for scientific reasons others for socio-political ones.
Scientific reasons because many scientists argue that there exists no absolutely clear or significant delineation among racial groups. Attributes found in one racial group will ultimately be found in each of the other groups. Any distinctions are very slight. Additionally, those who study the biologic distinctions over the last forty years or so have thrown up their hands as populations worldwide continue to define themselves as races when there is every indication there are no such variables to denote them as such. For those define race on the basis of social groups do so for a number of reasons. First, the original definition of race was to delineate social groups prior to a biologic definition which rose up from the work of human biologists and physical anthropologists of the 17th through 19th centuries. The word “race” comes from the old Italian word “razza”. Loosely translated means “lineage”. Lineage also meant anyone adopted into groups regardless of color or national origins. So it was not unusual for clans, moieties, and tribes to be observed with a variety of colors among members of their family groups. European physical anthropologists (mainly German) proposed race be based on observable, physical characteristics such as skin color, hair type, body proportions, cranial size as well as cranial capacity. This was followed up by research among British then American human scientists mainly in the 19th century.
The 17th century empirical scientific approach, in the minds of the scientists regarding humanity, deemed race along biological delineation the answer to their problems. This thinking experienced a major setback following World War II when it was uncovered that highly regarded medical, human biologic and anthropological scientists contributed to the actual and philosophical process resulting in the extermination of millions of Jews and other ethnic peoples. Though many German medical and anthropological scientists were determined guilty for exploiting science extermination and eugenics, virtually every nation that housed anthropology and human biology department produced scientists who hinted at or implied notions of stronger, better, successful, superior racial groups. Since the 1970’s and with the effects of the American Civil Rights Movement, many scientists began to drop a notion that people could be classified on the basis of biology. “Ethnic group” began replacing race in anthropology textbooks as well as statements with even more confusing seemingly, politically correct statements, that biological categories were impossible to accomplish.
The dirty little secret is that many Caucasian scientists don’t want to be labeled racists because they classify sub-groups as: Africanoid, Americanoid, Australoid, Caucasoid or Mongoloid. Rather than withstand criticism, rejection of research projects by their university Institutional Review Boards (IRB), lose of the ability to have their papers accepted by academic journals and competition for funding they are willing to allow populations to call themselves whatever they want. It’s a social construct that science can’t control anyhow!
Science that prides itself in its ability to categorize thousands of plant species, non-human things and absolutely determine that human made global warming can’t arrive at categories for humankind?
Secondly, physical anthropologists and human biologists, particularly those who originated or were educated in European, Western European education oriented or United States systems became highly sensitive to bias as these individuals were/are predominately Caucasian. Their findings tended to look favorably upon persons of Caucasian racial backgrounds and less so of those who were not. One would hear the discussion in the classroom or in the field that would ask the question was your research emic or etic:
• An "emic" account is a description of behavior or a belief in terms meaningful (consciously or unconsciously) to the actor; that is, an emic account comes from a person within the culture. Almost anything from within a culture can provide an emic account.
• An "etic" account is a description of a behavior or belief by an observer, in terms that can be applied to other cultures; that is, an etic account attempts to be 'culturally neutral'
In other words, etic accounts became dirty research. Emic accounts are okay but still are not free of researcher bias or problems as there still continue to be Caucasian observers.
Third, individuals (subjects) in the field became wise to the notion that even though a researcher may not be Caucasian they were probably educated by one. Therefore, biased due to their training.
What remains is a hodgepodge of definitions of sociobiologic definitions of race screaming for consistency. Persons predominantly of European and Euro-American groups are fearful of being labeled “racist” don’t wish to touch it and all others don’t appear to care because many of them can play the race card all day long and get away with it.
Questions arise from the hodgepodge definitions of race. Why is it that persons whose ancestry is known to be Caucasian and Africanoid referred to as Africanoid in the United States? How come a person who is American not considered a race when a person who is Mexican in the United States called a race? Why a Catholic isn’t a race and a Jew is defined as a race is confusing? Or why is it that a person of Caucasian and African ancestry in the United States is referred to as a “black” and not a “white”?—shouldn’t that person have a choice?
When such questions are asked people are stunned that they are even asked. They respond that they cannot tell anyone why persons of mixed Euro-American and Afro-American ancestries are called “black” rather than “white” or at least mixed. In the United States and Europe, the person is labeled non-Caucasian automatically without asking the person her or his opinion. It is obvious that the person is not pure anything but his label says her or she is.
In situations as these, anthropology indicates this is practice is hypodescention. That is, the automatic assignment of a person of mixed racial ancestry to what is perceived as the inferior group. If anyone think about it, isn’t this act as act of racism? Yet you will not hear anyone call someone a racist because he called a person of mixed racial background one group or the other.
Fourth, to call myself a member of a racial group now means I am now able to claim genocide; profit if I get caught doing something wrong, argue exclusion; degrade those I disagree with to reference a few.
As defined above, ethnic groups are social affiliations that generally do not have a racial component to them. They may but for the most part they do not. The feature of an ethnic group is that anyone may be a member. The key component is the acceptance of the behaviors, customs, culture, language, mores, law. For example, Jews, Germans, Hispanics freely refer to themselves as racial groups. However, Buddhists, Americans and South Africans are not. Why? Can anyone not be a Jew, German or Hispanic? Did they change their racial make up to become a member?
Why the use of racism?
When one examines the literature regarding questions as to why so many loosely and freely use the word “racist” and “racism” among Europeans and among peoples of the Western Hemisphere, it doesn’t make sense. So why is it done?
First, it allows members of generally a minority group and their supporters to call people they don’t like or disagree with on social or political issues a racist. To be called a racist means to those born since the death of Dr. Martin Luther King in 1968 as well as many born before that period to refer to one or more of the following:
• Inherently evil
• A slob
• A pervert
• A fool
• A hypocrite
• A paranoid
• Phobic (sick)
• Mean spirited
• Out of touch with reality
• An idiot
• A moron
For roughly three generations since Dr. King’s death, positive race relations have been taught in school, church, at work and in their social dealings that to evaluate a person mostly or entirely on the basis of one’s race places a person in one or more of the above labeled categories. Persons who are labeled racists know this. They generally want to be accepted and as part of the mainstream who deal with all people on the basis of their character and not on their race. To be labeled a racist places them in a very negative light. Persons labeled a racist generally vehemently reject this classification knowing that they hold no racist view of someone who just happen to be of another race.
Those who have been labeled a racist and the label become a permanent one have lost property, jobs, political offices, wealth as well as their good names and standings in virtually every community in the United States.
As earlier stated, many members of racial minority communities, especially its self appointed leader, have used racism as a pretext for personal economic gain and power with no intentions of working towards racial harmony or economic betterment of the communities they say they represent. For more than forty years under many of these persons’ leadership, the representative communities continue to exhibit instances of high family instability, high school dropout rates as well as high unemployment levels. Even with continued funding from public and private funding sources and agencies they problems continue to exist. And more cases than not, the situations go worse not better.
If the United States is a racist country and society, those who make these accusations must answer the following:
1. Why the fastest growing racial group in the United States is those with mixed Afro-American and Euro-American ancestries? (A 57% increase from 2000 to 2010 according to the 2010 Census Report)
2. Why is it that persons of Euro-American ancestry willingly and without coercion adopt persons of predominantly Afro-American ancestry when asked?
3. Why is it that anti-miscegenation laws no longer exist in local, state or federal legal systems if institutional racism is said to exist?
4. Why the instance of mixed racial neighborhood has reported to have increased so that is no longer unusual to view mixed racial neighborhoods in every state?
For those who continue to use racism and label innocent persons as racists will inevitably cause negative unintended consequences to possibly rear its ugly head. True racists have always stated that they would like nothing better than to initiate racial conflict, destruction and death to occur in order to re-institute anti-miscegenation laws. Many persons of all racial groups report wanting racial harmony. However, should conditions present themselves for strife and conflict; these will only lead to power vacuums that will quickly be filled who remain.
The vast majority of Americans of the Caucasoid (Euro-American) race are not racists. They are falsely accused for being so. Too many members of minority races/ethnic groups and their supporters make these accusations do so out of revenge, anger, and determine themselves as unable to obtain what it is what they want or believe they are entitled to as well as self-loathing.
Merriam-Webster’s new collegiate dictionary. (2010). Springfield, MA: G. & C. Merriam.
Epps, Edgar G (Jan-February 1973). "Racism, Science, and the I.Q.". Integrated Education 11 (1): 35–44.
Herrnstein, Richard J. & Murray, Charles Augustus (1994). The Bell Curve: intelligence and class structure in American life. New York: Free Press.
Jensen, A. R. (2000). Testing: The dilemma of group differences. Psychology, Public Policy, & Law, 6, 121-128
Jensen, A. R. (1974). Ethnicity and scholastic achievement. Psychological Reports, 34, 659-668
Jensen, A.R. (1969), "How Much Can We Boost IQ and Scholastic Achievement?", Harvard Educational Review 39: 1–123,
Neisser, Ulrich et al. (1996), "Intelligence: Knowns and unknowns", American Psychologist 51: 77–101,
Rushton, J. P., & Jensen, A. R.. (2005). Thirty years of research on Black-White differences in cognitive ability. Psychology, Public Policy, & the Law, 11, 235-294.
Shockley, William and Pearson, Roger – Shockley on Eugenics and Race: The Application of Science to the Solution of Human Problems Scott-Townsend (1992) ISBN 1-878465-03
"William B. Shockley, 79, Creator of Transistor and Theory on Race". New York Times. 14 August 1989. http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/bday/0213.html.
U. S. Census Bureau. (2011). Profile of selected social characteristics: Allegany County, N.Y. Retrieved January 25, 2011, from http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/QTTable?_bm=y&-qr_name=DEC_2000_SF3_U_DP2&-ds_name=DEC_2000_SF3_U&-_lang=en&-_sse=on&-geo_id=05000US36003
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