Racism Is Not An Individual Failing, It Is An Ideology

We find a couple of interesting comments about racism on the Twitterz:

I think using terms like internalize probably won’t be that successful. Instead, we need to shift the discussion away from racism as an individual failing to racism as an ideology, as a way of (mis)understanding the world. As some asshole with a blog put it:

For a lot of white people, racism is a powerful organizing principle through which they organize how they think about the world (that makes it no less reprehensible). But there are racists who overcome that perspective–the progressive deplorables. I think they do so because they use a different framework, one that places the blame on other economic actors, such as corporations. As the polling data I raised earlier indicates, there are a lot of bigots who vote in opposition to and in spite of their bigotry.

While we focus disproportionately on the eliminationist racists, since they want to, erm, remove all of us mud peoples various groups, the caste system racists are far more pervasive, and every bit as racist. There is an order with white Christian male at the top, and then various other groups slot into various places. As long as everyone knows their place and doesn’t get uppity or pushy, things are fine (if you’re at the top). For them, a racist order provides psychological benefits, both in terms of superiority and explanation. It also provides, depending on the person, greater or lesser material advantages.

But racism is just another ideological framework. And it’s one, if we are smart about it, that we can convince people, even if they still harbor some personal prejudices, to abandon.

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2 Responses to Racism Is Not An Individual Failing, It Is An Ideology

  1. I think racism is more fundamentally a territorial reaction. Psychological. And built in quite deep. Any apparent boundary wakes up this instinct. And we tend to express it in many ways. Tribal/herd instincts. Ideological dogmatism, skin colour, different ways of speaking, you name it. Even what we choose to eat for breakfast. Gives us a sense of identity? Most populations express it in one way or another. Once we have settled on a dogma we elaborate it with all sorts of rationalisations and pseudo logic-instead of maybe just looking and seeing what is really there and deciding if it is really the tiger wehad suspected. Takes a lot of self awareness and courage? to just look?

  2. Mr. Grumpy says:

    Agree with you. “Internalized” is just stupid egghead talk. Talk about disconnecting from the folks at the other end of your supposed conversation. Sheesh! It is an ideology – one of the many lenses through which people make sense of the universe (like capitalism, Ayn Randism, communism, fundamentalist religion, etc.). But they don’t just make sense of things (like physics), they add normative ideals to everything. Some of them lead to really horrible ways of interacting with other people, but some are good. My personal favorite is Dontbeadickism. Anyway, whenever you learn about someone who has left the racist ideology behind it’s pretty clear that the reason is that, normatively, the racism didn’t fit their experience anymore.

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