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Old 05-15-2014, 08:52 PM
31,385 posts, read 31,066,870 times
Reputation: 14878


Originally Posted by spicymeatball View Post
So if I'm the only white kid in a black school and I am bullied incessantly for it, they aren't being racist they're just understandably reacting in a negative way about my kind discriminating them?

Moderator cut: off topic
I think that they are being exceedingly tribal and I don't mean tribal in the pejorative. So unless you can make a persuasive argument that these same kinds have developed a systemic view of your inherent inferiority...

(what these students are doing is wrong as wrong as every ethnic group who has made the transition from oppressed to oppressor)

Last edited by Oldhag1; 05-16-2014 at 05:55 AM..

Old 05-15-2014, 09:56 PM
Location: Springfield, Ohio
11,795 posts, read 9,718,565 times
Reputation: 10799
Originally Posted by Opin_Yunated View Post
Yes. Minorities can be racist.

HOWEVER, structural race discrimination is a different story. Minorities in America it is far more difficult for them to discriminate against whites due to social hierarchy.
Right...Stokley Carmichael coined the term "institutional racism", which means it is a variation of regular racism, so they are not necessarily one and the same.
Old 05-15-2014, 11:08 PM
2,303 posts, read 2,124,600 times
Reputation: 3827
I think the argument "minorities can't be racist because they lack the institutional/systemic power" has a flaw that undermines it completely.

It assumes that all interactions only operate on a massive scale. By that definition, no one person could ever be racist because they can't single highhandedly oppress an entire race. I could be a member of the KKK, think minorities are lower than dogs, and refuse to talk or hire them, and I still couldn't be called a racist under the "lacking power" definition because I personally can't oppress the entire black race.

An individual can only be racist when you break the interaction down to an individual level. At that level, anyone can be racist if they have the advantage in the situation. It could be as simple as a black person knowing directions and me as a white person having to ask him for assistance. He then has the power to refuse to help because of my race, which makes my life harder.

You can't rely on the institutional definition of racism unless it works both ways. It would mean no individual ever has that much power, therefore no one person can be racist, and I don't think anyone would argue that point seriously.

And if you're saying that an entire race is defined simply by the perceived assumption of how they act... well isn't that a bit racist?
Old 05-15-2014, 11:28 PM
Status: "It takes a lot of balls to golf like me" (set 12 days ago)
Location: Charleston, SC
3,954 posts, read 3,194,328 times
Reputation: 3403
Originally Posted by jwkilgore View Post
This topic was threatening to derail another thread, so I decided to start a new one. For purposes of this discussion, I'd like to ignore the fact that race is an obsolete construct outside of forensic anthropological usages; the fact that "African American" and "Hispanic" are technically ethnic groups; and the fact that "White", "Black, and "Brown" are colors instead of races. We'll just go with common usage and try to use a little common sense.

The purpose of this debate is to defend or attack the following statement:
It is possible for members of a minority population to be racist.

From the other thread, in response to someone describing acts of [possible] racism by minorities:

Part of my reply, quoted from the dictionary:

In reply to me, from the same person as above:

I disagree with the quoted statements, and will defend the opening statement. I believe it is possible for a member of a minority race to be racist.

Perhaps it's an issue of semantics, but part of the issue is the difference between racism and racial discrimination. Racism only requires a personal belief, not specific actions or systemic problems. A minority who believes that "all whites are racist" has met all the requirements to be a racist himself. Racial discrimination, on the other hand, is acting on racist beliefs through some sort of power to discriminate. And yes, this can be a member of a minority in power. The African American owner of a business could commit racial discrimination by refusing to hire a "white" employee because he thinks that all whites are racist.

Racial discrimination doesn't require the power of government to exist, nor is the presence of "systemic problems" a prerequisite. It only requires just enough power to cause harm to another person or group of people.

Incidentally, historically, this country (and pretty much every other country on the planet) has also used gender and ethnicity (or country of origin) for proxies "to decide who had the right to vote, who counted as a full person, who was trapped in slavery, and who got to use which bathroom where". Ask a woman in the early years of this country who was subjected to an arranged marriage with a drunkard husband and who could not legally vote whether or not she was "free". Legally, she was not a "slave", but neither was she "free". Native Americans were never owned as slaves, but they were subjected to many of the same discriminatory practices as were African Americans. And pretty much any major influx of immigrants (Irish, Italian, Chinese, Hispanic, etc.) were discriminated against as well.

I do concede that African Americans were by far the worst victims of class-wide racial discrimination in this country. Native Americans and women were also treated quite poorly, but being stolen from your home country followed by literal ownership/slavery followed by Jim Crow laws trumps everything else. However, just because African Americans were the worst victims of racial discrimination doesn't mean they were the only victims, nor does it mean that African Americans are exempt from being accused of racism or unable to commit acts of racial discrimination themselves.
There are just as many black supremacy advocated in this country as their are white. The black groups tend not to get the bad publicity as the white groups do because they are less violent for the most part, and a little further underground.

Here's a list of a few: Black supremacy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Old 05-15-2014, 11:36 PM
3,138 posts, read 2,051,698 times
Reputation: 5031
I recall once having heard a quote from Spike Lee, commenting on this.

I'm obviously paraphrasing, but he said something to the effect that:

"African American's cannot be racist b/c they do not have power."

He further went on to give a rather interesting explanation of this. He states that because of the deep connection between money , race, and power, there is very little in terms of being able to separate one's influence in a person without the other. You can only be racist if you have money/power, and some ability to exert influence with that combination.

Unfortunately, I don't think he ever explained he reasoning behind those who are poor and embrace racist, bigoted viewpoints.

But, I thought it was a pretty interesting thought.
Old 05-16-2014, 12:45 AM
Location: Harrison, Arkansas
64 posts, read 126,657 times
Reputation: 63
Originally Posted by jwkilgore View Post
The purpose of this debate is to defend or attack the following statement:
It is possible for members of a minority population to be racist.
Of course it is possible for members of a minority population to be racist. Whites are a worldwide minority.

Whites are perhaps 15% of the global population, and it is a truism that whites are racist (be it some whites, many, most, or all).

Moderator cut: against Great Debates guidelines

Last edited by Oldhag1; 05-16-2014 at 05:57 AM..
Old 05-16-2014, 12:49 AM
Location: Oakland, CA
26,878 posts, read 28,170,320 times
Reputation: 26003
Maybe we need to go back and define the word minority. Does it mean a statistical minority. Or minority in the american sense, as a euphemism for non-white people.
Old 05-16-2014, 01:06 AM
Location: Harrison, Arkansas
64 posts, read 126,657 times
Reputation: 63
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
Maybe we need to go back and define the word minority. Does it mean a statistical minority. Or minority in the american sense, as a euphemism for non-white people.
Thank you. And what a peculiar "euphemism" it is. Calling someone a "minority" literally diminishes them and their group.

Years ago I was at the movies and there was a preview for one called "The Indian in the Cupboard." When the title came up on the screen, I immediately started snickering, as did many other people in the theater. A woman seated near me turned to her companion and said, "Why are they laughing?" I and the others started laughing harder.

It was a blatantly insulting portrayal of an Amerindian: not only was he reduced to miniature and portrayed as a toy, he was shut away in a cupboard, and only brought out for the entertainment and enrichment of a little white boy. What was so amusing is that this wouldn't be immediately obvious to everyone (not just the puzzled moviegoer, but the people who made the movie in the first place).

"Minorities," indeed.
Old 05-16-2014, 04:47 AM
4,174 posts, read 2,785,137 times
Reputation: 2629
Following the dictionary definition of racism, I believe all humans are capable of racism. You certainly don't need to be in a position of power to fit definition #1. And I would submit that you could even hate or antagonize someone whom you do not have power over as described by definition 32.


1. the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.
2. prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior.

There is no doubt that individual races have certain characteristic which facilitate or enable proficiency at certain tasks. I'll leave it to each individual to come up with appropriate examples to avoid opening a can of worms. These skills/traits might be genetic or culturally influenced or both.

It seems it is when people interpret those traits and characteristics in a negative fashion and use them to discriminate or hate that it becomes a problem. The inability to embrace and appreciate diversity and desire to put one's own strengths and traits above others seems to be a universal human characteristic. Particularly when fear and distrust enter into the equation.

Last edited by shaker281; 05-16-2014 at 05:05 AM..
Old 05-16-2014, 06:37 AM
Location: Fairfax County, VA
3,718 posts, read 4,596,224 times
Reputation: 1448
It seems that the left-wing blogosphere is getting the terms of racism and classism mixed up.

And I think racism = power is no longer valid. Here is why - http://****notumblrsjw.tumblr.com/po...lled-etymology :

Last edited by Oldhag1; 05-16-2014 at 07:00 AM.. Reason: Copyright violation
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