Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Racism Defined

A while back, I mentioned that I'd like to discuss the inherent racism of sections of Canada's firearms laws, most of which are enshrined as the Firearms Act. The Act was called Bill C-68 before it passed, but there are plenty of folks who don't seem to understand that a bill number is no longer used as the name after a bill passes into law and still call it that. Didn't Canadians watch Schoolhouse Rock?

I'm hoping to do that soon. This is a prologue. As regular readers have surely noticed, my more philosophical posts tend to be very long. I always like to lay down groundwork and establish context for more serious discussion topics.

In the service of a few interests (getting back on the blogging horse, making my posts more concise - i.e., shorter, etc.) I'm hoping to start doing most of that background work in separate posts. Maybe I'll even remember to start the major posts, wherein I actually get to my point, with "read this first" links to the earlier posts for anybody who found a specific post by way of a search engine or somesuch.

So, this is a background post to exposing the racist elements on Canada's Firearms Act. (Sneak preview: the Act contains five special provisions that apply only to Aboriginal peoples. Not only is that fact racist in and of itself, but three of the five provisions are horribly racist and should be offensive to anybody who wasn't raised by pre-political correctness John Wayne westerns.)

My operational definition of racism is based on that proffered by Mike Adams in a 2006 article of his, aptly titled A New Definition Of Racism:

Racism – is a pathological tendency to interject race into situations where it is not relevant, merely for personal gain.

And, of course, a racist can be defined as follows:

Racist – one who interjects race into situations where it is not relevant, merely for personal gain.

As is often the case, I agree with Dr. Adams' underlying concept, but have some quibbles with details of the presentation. I would remove the words "pathological" and "merely for personal gain" from his definition of racism and adjust the other wording slightly, winding up with this:

Racism is interjecting ethnicity into situations where it is not relevant.

That pretty much sums it up for me. If we're talking about a matter where the colour of someone's skin, or the country they came from, or the language they speak are not relevant factors, then it would be racist to inject those issues into the discussion as though they were.

I changed the word "race" to "ethnicity" in my definition because I think it's more accurate. As per Ken Ham's position, which I think I've mentioned before, all human beings are members of the human race. However, I will continue to use the word "racism", because "ethnicityism" is a bit cumbersome.

By this definition, anyone who supports Barack Obama solely or primarily because he's black is just as much a racist as someone who would not vote for him solely or primarily because he's black.

Similarly, anyone who supports Hillary Clinton solely or primarily because she's a woman is just as sexist as someone who would not vote for her solely or primarily because she's a woman. (To get my views on sexism, paste the text of this article into your favourite word processor - I'm partial to OpenOffice Writer - and do a find-and-replace, replacing "rac" with "sex". No warranty against unintended results expressed or implied.)

This type of position (voting for / against someone because of their pigmentation or genitalia, neither of which seem to be relevant factors in evaluating a political candidate) is called "identity politics", and it's stupid and destructive.

While I'm in this neighbourhood, making new friends by the second, I need to touch on so-called '"reverse discrimination".

This topic requires me up front to do something I hate to do: compromise on language. The word "discrimination" is not a pejorative. It has no negative denotation. "Discrimination" means "distinguishing between", or "telling apart". One of my favourite writers, P.J. O'Rourke, once wrote something to the effect that a person who failed to discriminate between a twenty-five year-old and a five-year-old would be insane in all circumstances and jailed in some.

However, for purposes of this topic, I have to acknowledge the popular (wrong) usage of the word "discrimination", with its negative connotations.

So, about "reverse discrimination". It doesn't exist.

There is only discrimination. Whether it is bias for or against any given person or group, it is nonetheless discrimination. I have a "rule of reversal" (which will be getting its own detailed writeup sometime; I've already done a partial draft), the main thrust of which is that if the reverse of a discriminatory policy would be wrong (i.e, instead of "only women are eligible for this award", we reverse it to either "only men are eligible" or "women are not eligible", which in this case have the same result), then the policy itself is wrong, for the same reasons that the reversal would be wrong.

So, "affirmative action", "employment equity" (the Canadian government's term for institutionalized and federally approved racism), and any other such ideas, are just as wrong and just as racist as their reversals would be.

Now, on to one other relatively quick note: when I was in university, I took a lot of seminar classes. These were classes where a small group of students basically sat around a table and discussed issues at great length, with the professor usually just serving as a guide to keep things relatively on topic. There would generally be assigned reading before each class, and a paper due on the topic, but most of the real rhetorical heavy lifting got done sitting around that table.

More than once I heard fellow students say that people who were members of a minority could not be racists.

This, of course, is clearly insane.

Moreover, these poor deluded vessels of political correctness felt that this extended to other forms of discrimination (again, in its pejorative sense). Women could not be guilty of sexism, non-Christians could not be guilty of religious discrimination, etc. Anyone who was in a minority (or perceived minority - check out a census for gender populations sometime) could effectively never be wrong.

It's a viewpoint that I can't really even debate. Someone whose logic is that poor will never understand any rational argument. I've often said that if Confucius and Homer Simpson have an argument, Homer will win every time. He simply won't understand anything his opponent says. You might as well try to knock down a brick wall with a Nerf bat. The only way Confucius can prevail is to walk away - and Homer will never understand that he lost.

Unfortunately, even some prominent public figures have made statements to this effect (Spike Lee, for example, has said that black people cannot be racists). Worse, they're sometimes taken seriously.

Interestingly, by the definition of racism I gave above, saying that black people cannot be racists is itself a racist statement. Since one's melanin levels have no bearing on what intellectual and philosophical positions they may hold, claiming that they do is an attempt to interject race where it is not relevant. I.e., racism.

So, there's some background. For another sneak preview of what's coming in the imminent exposé, consider this: does a firearm automatically become any safer or any more dangerous based on the ethnicity of the person holding it? If you said "no", then there are some legislators in Ottawa who disagree with you.

Enough rambling. Here's a picture of another probably-blasphemous cartoon. The captions can be translated as: (Top) - "Believer wounded by nonbelievers." (Bottom) - "Nonbeliever wounded by believers."


HomeSchooler said...

Zirbert said:
This topic requires me up front to do something I hate to do: compromise on language. The word "discrimination" is not a pejorative. It has no negative denotation. "Discrimination" means "distinguishing between", or "telling apart".

That you mention this now, just after I've "discovered" a few new "definitions." Sometimes I fail to comprehend the sick world we live in.

Zirbert said:
More than once I heard fellow students say that people who were members of a minority could not be racists.

Gee, they must have never heard of the Hutu and the Tutsi. Perhaps, when told that ______ (insert name of minority here - make sure it's "politically correct") cannot be racist, they ought to be automatically enrolled in a Rwandan and Burundian history class. And for the very lazy, just make them watch Hotel Rwanda.

Anonymous said...

Something to ponder. Author Mark Steyn wrote a book - New York Times bestseller - AMERICA ALONE : THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT. In Canada evidentally it is considered a "hate crime" - it generated two human rights prosecutions. One because to made reference to the chocolate swirl on the top of a Burger King dessert carton that an aggrieved customer complained bore too close a resemblance to the Arabic script for "allah" (the offending menu item was subsequently withdrawn). Yet, no offense was taken when Naeem Muhammad Khan, an unemployed Torontonian whose website urges that the a MacLean's contributor, Tarek Fatah and a few other Muslim moderates be punished by death, says of one of his targets, "Behead her!!! And make a nice video and post it on YouTube." That fine gent is here to stay in Canada, and anyone who advocated, say, his deportation would find himself assailed by moderate reasonable Canadians horrified at such a betrayal of our multicultural values. GO FIGURE! We as "Multiculturalists" encourage cerain forms of assertiveness, say , I am Woramn, Hear me roar!, yet, the one identity we're enjoined not to trumpet is the one that enables us to be proud of what built this country, made us Canadians! I guess that is more or less why we have to be so darn nice to Muslims. When they're in the majority, hopefully they will be nice to us! Who knows what any of it means?!