Racist stain?

What is the big problem with admitting systemic racism?

Another black teenager has been gunned down by white police in Chicago, and authorities are trying to head of a colossus of unrest by rapidly charging the police officer with murder. Remember the killings in New York and New Jersey? Barely a year ago but even then the police officers were spared by grand juries. Therefore this is progress. Right?

I don’t think fear is progress, or that the threat of a mass mob should influence the justice system. There is a political problem here that goes unexamined. Is it politically incorrect to admit racism? That needs to be dealt with.

First of all, racism is not a stain impervious to washing by experience and education. Racism can be cured, it can certainly be treated, but it has an unfortunate stigma associated with it.

Who then is a rehabilitated racist? I would point to Winston Churchill, who carried a Victorian sense of Anglo-superiority over Indians. He was certainly racist for much of his life, but I argue that it wasn’t extreme at the peak of his career. He is on record saying that a fundamental disagreement he had with Hitler was on the latter’s belief on being born pure, with good Aryan blood in the veins. Churchill said he could understand hating someone on account of what they did or said, but that no man can help where he was born.

Therefore I would call Churchill a passive racist, a manageable racist. One can pluck out many historical figures and see that they have been forgiven by people today. Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, one of whom was the half-sister of his late wife. He fathered many children with her.

In a historical sense the stain of racism can be washed out, so why not for people today. Police in the United States are racist to a degree. They should admit it, and take steps to manage it. And the hyperactive media should strive to make this happen by not simply inflaming the situation through it’s reporting.

There, rant over.

4 thoughts on “Racist stain?

  1. ObjectiveReality

    A couple of points:
    1) I don’t know if “passive racist” is quite right – it might be more accurate to think about people having more or less racist attitudes? Or in a modern context, being more willing to confront the idea that they have racist attitudes they weren’t aware of and addressing that.

    2) Part of the reason it’s hard to address systemic racism is that racist dogwhistling is a tribal marker for a number of political demographics here and in the US. I think it’ll be tough to get rid of while politicians and politicised media keep tacitly endorsing it.

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      1. Right, but the way systemic racism works is not through consciously racist people making consciously racist choices. Some cops are out and out racist, but most just accept without really thinking too much about it that it’s more worthwhile to search brown people that white people. Judges don’t set out to punish people for blackness, but they do tend to view whatever they’ve done more harshly and juries tend to agree with them. I think (with some obvious exceptions) you have people all along the chain making very slightly racist judgments without noticing, and that adds up to a very racist outcome that none of them individually picked. I even think that this is a factor in the disgraceful rate of cops killing black people in the US – that same subtle racism is what makes a snap assessment of threat lethal rather than controllable.

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      2. I think you are concentrating on the gravy and missing the meat. My point is that racism is not fixed, and one shouldn’t be imprisoned by ones past opinions. Right now there is intense pressie on cops in the US, and serious volatility in the society. Pressure needs to be relieved not increased.

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