April 29th, 2021

old whig

On Racism

We’re hearing a lot about racism these days. It would behoove us to think about what racism is. Like other ‘isms,’ racism implies systematized thought, rather than simply negative feelings about other people.

Racism is not xenophobia – fear, distrust, or disdain of people from other groups. Xenophobia is too common and too inchoate. Even people who share a background with other people may be seen as outside the social group within which trust is exchanged. The development of community, and the extension of community to larger and larger social structures (as in a whole country) makes xenophobia recede, but it never quite goes away. Probably Stone Age people, when they saw a person they didn’t know, first worried about possible stranger danger rather than seeing a potential friend.Collapse )