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Old 05-15-2014, 01:07 PM
 
Location: Chattanooga, TN
2,773 posts, read 3,677,539 times
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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:
Quote:
I don't consider that stuff racism, because there is no power. That doesn't mean it isn't wrong. But that falls into the hatred/prejudice category. In the context of the US, black people can't [be] racist. But we can absolutely be prejudiced.
Part of my reply, quoted from the dictionary:
Quote:
racism (noun)
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.

prejudice (noun)
1. preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.


Please note that there is no mention of "power", "minority", or "majority" in the above definitions.

In reply to me, from the same person as above:
Quote:
It is in human nature to hate people, but that hatred doesn't lead to any systemic problems without a power structure. There is no power element to prejudice, but "races" would be useless if there wasn't meaning in the classifications of such. It really goes back to what the purpose of race is, particularly in the American context. We used race as a proxy 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. I could go around picking any race as "superior" any day of the week, but it has no meaning without a power structure to enforce the hierarchy.
Discussion
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.

Last edited by jwkilgore; 05-15-2014 at 01:50 PM..

 
Old 05-15-2014, 01:24 PM
 
Location: My beloved Bluegrass
14,059 posts, read 9,787,161 times
Reputation: 18876
We have had a proliferation of these race based topics as of late, and while I will allow them to remain, if possible, to try see if a respectful, thought provoking debate can arise from these threads, understand that if they require too much editing and/or deleting to be in adherence with Great Debates guidelines, they will be closed and/or deleted. If the thread looks like it is going downhill, it will be immediately closed and/or deleted. There will be zero tolerance for insults, sarcasm, flaming, or needless to say, racism. This includes veiled or roundabout versions of such.

With that in mind, please remember that this forum requires civil, well thought out posts that contribute in a positive manner to the debate. Among other things, this means one or two sentence statements are generally not appropriate. Opinions are allowed but they must be supported and not just stated. I strongly encourage you to read the forum guidelines before posting and carefully re-read your posts before submitting them to make sure they fall under those guidelines. I will be very quick to delete any post that does not adhere to guidelines of the Great Debates forum on this thread. You are also reminded that racist comments are against the TOS and may result in infractions. Additionally, make sure the focus of your posts are about the topic. Posts that are focused on liberalism or conservatism will be deleted, as that is not the topic; posts that look like they might inspire the thread to go that route will either be edited or deleted. Do not veer off topic, as tempting as it may be, regardless of how much that off topic subject interests you personally.

Bottom line, don't post on this thread unless you are contributing in a positive way to the debate.
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Last edited by Oldhag1; 05-15-2014 at 04:56 PM..
 
Old 05-15-2014, 04:02 PM
 
Location: In my skin
8,869 posts, read 13,844,225 times
Reputation: 8718
This reminds me of a term I heard a while back. Reverse racism.

If you discriminate against/are intolerant of others because of their race/ethnicity, you are a racist, minority or not. Al Sharpton - racist. John Wiley Price - racist.
 
Old 05-15-2014, 04:16 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
26,867 posts, read 28,145,186 times
Reputation: 25978
There is a difference between racial prejudice and actual racism. -isms require control and power, not just a belief. Al Sharpton may hate white people, but his opinion doesn't actually hurt white people in an substantive way. Most people think he is just a crazypots.

Let's take "race" out of the picture and talk about sexism instead. I can be girl-power, woman-power all day. That doesn't actually mean that my perceive "power" for woman means I am suddenly advantaged enough walking down the street that I no longer have to be harassed. Or that I won't see posts like this on my Facebook when someone posts an article about girls who are coding.

Quote:
Changing the world" is a bit far-fetched. Actually, a lot. Women need to be more than "pretty people who code". The emphasis should be on the code they produce and the difference it made, just like any programmer. No favoritism, no special treatment, just code. Like any programmer. Being a woman, although difficult in the developing countries, should not be the outstanding factor here.
I didn't hear anyone complaining about snapchat being pegged as "changing the world" when they cashed out for a couple billion.
 
Old 05-15-2014, 04:31 PM
 
Location: Springfield, Ohio
11,785 posts, read 9,708,825 times
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This was a pretty extensive debate we had in an old sociology class years ago. The instructor (who was white) maintained the power structure is what defines racism, even in a context where a white person may be the discriminated minority in a situation (say, an all-black nightclub or business where they experience prejudice). I disagree, as power is defined as a situation, and not every experience is defined by a larger power structure. If a man has a gun to your head, he is the one with the power at the moment, and the race of the president or Fortune 500 CEOs matters none in that situation.
 
Old 05-15-2014, 06:25 PM
 
26 posts, read 29,404 times
Reputation: 46
Racism describes a belief system, so yes black folks can be racist. Where the power part comes in is discrimination. You need power to discriminate, which takes racism a step further. Minorities generally do not have the opportunity to discriminate, but there are instances when it happens.

I think these things build on each other, and are often misunderstood. The continuum, in my mind is this---

Stereotypes - prejudice - racism - discrimination

Each one gets a little more intense, building on the others. Discrimination is a culmination of the others.
 
Old 05-15-2014, 06:54 PM
 
12,637 posts, read 12,071,712 times
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"It is possible for members of a minority population to be racist."

Yes, what is the fact they are a minority population have to do with if the individual is racist or not?

For example; white South Africans are a minority in South Africa, yet they applied discriminatory policies.

This is really a ridiculous question, I do not see what there is to debate about it; of course minorities can be racist.
 
Old 05-15-2014, 07:25 PM
 
7,846 posts, read 5,033,808 times
Reputation: 4025
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.
 
Old 05-15-2014, 08:05 PM
 
31,385 posts, read 31,051,757 times
Reputation: 14878
Quote:
Originally Posted by jwkilgore View Post
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.
I think that it is unquestionable that "minorities" can be racist as per your quoted definition:

racism (noun)
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.

Quote:
Perhaps it's an issue of semantics, but part of the issue is the difference between racism and racial discrimination.
If we mean by "semantics" that we are using different words and or phrases that have identical meanings then I strenuously disagree. There is a difference between racism, a systematic view that one race is inherently superior to another and racial discrimination which may or may not include a belief system based upon inherent racial superiority.

i.e.

Irish people are drunks;

Jews are cheap;

Italians are mobsters;

White people are racist;

Those are stereotypes born from racial discrimination, in this case, discrimination means identifying some characteristics common to the respective racial or ethnic groups.

Racism, is another whole ball of wax, it is more than the ability to oppress another group of humans it is, in its most virulent and classical form a belief system that classifies an identifiable group as being less than human. A sub-species inherently incapable of realizing the full potential of a fully developed and functioning human being.


For the sake of the thread's viability I will ignore for the moment:
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.
Quote:
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.
I can live with that... for now.

Last edited by ovcatto; 05-15-2014 at 08:19 PM..
 
Old 05-15-2014, 08:20 PM
 
854 posts, read 1,035,871 times
Reputation: 949
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

Last edited by Oldhag1; 05-15-2014 at 08:42 PM..
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