Transcript: Tommie Shelby | Feb 25, 2007

[Theme music plays]

The opening sequence rolls. The logo of "Big Ideas" featuring a lit lamp bulb appears against an animated green slate.
Then, Andrew Moodie appears in the studio. The walls are decorated with screens featuring lit lamp bulbs, and two signs read "Big Ideas."
Andrew is in his early forties, clean-shaven, with short curly black hair. He's wearing a gray suit and shirt.

He says HELLO.
THIS IS
BIG IDEAS.
I'M ANDREW MOODIE AND YOU BETTER
HOLD ONTO YOUR HATS, FOLKS.
TODAY'S LECTURE...
IS ABOUT RACISM.
IN NOVEMBER OF 2006, COMIC,
ACTOR AND STAND UP COMEDIAN
MICHAEL RICHARDS RESPONDED TO A
GROUP OF HECKLERS BY CALLING
THEM...
WELL, LET'S CALL A SPADE A
SPADE.
HE CALLED THEM NIGGERS.
NOW, THIS STIRRED UP A FIRE
STORM.
CONDEMNATIONS CAME FROM EVERY
CORNER OF THE MEDIA, HE
APOLOGIZED ON NATIONAL
TELEVISION AND HAS SINCE TURNED
TO THE BLACK COMMUNITY TO SEEK
COUNSELLING.
NOW, THIS SAME MICHAEL RICHARDS
AS A YOUNG SOLDIER DURING THE
VIETNAM WAR, WROTE AND ACTED IN
SKITS ABOUT RACISM TO ENCOURAGE
RACIAL TOLERANCE AMONG SOLDIERS.
IS HE RACIST?
OR IS HE MERELY GUILTY OF
INTEMPERATE VITUPERATION?
OR IS THERE SOMETHING THAT'S
GOING ON THAT IS LARGER THAN
JUST Mr. RICHARDS?
SOMETHING THAT EXTENDS
THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE AMERICAN
SOCIETY.
THIS WOULD BE A GOOD TIME TO
INTRODUCE YOU TO TOMMIE SHELBY.
HE IS A PHILOSOPHER AND
POLITICAL THEORIST.
SHELBY TEACHES IN THE DEPARTMENT
OF AFRICAN AND AFRICAN-AMERICAN
STUDIES AT HARVARD UNIVERSITY.
HE HAS MOST RECENTLY COMPLETED A
BOOK ON AFRICAN-AMERICAN
POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY ENTITLED
"WE WHO ARE DARK.
PHILOSOPHICAL FOUNDATIONS OF
BLACK SOLIDARITY."

A clip plays in which Tommie Shelby walks to the front of a university classroom facing an audience.

[Applause]

Tommie is in his early forties, with short black hair and a moustache. He's wearing glasses, a gray suit, white shirt and patterned green tie.

He says SO, THE
CONTEMPORARY PHILOSOPHICAL
DEBATE ABOUT RACISM...
CENTERS ON THREE QUESTIONS.
WHAT IS RACISM?
WHAT IS IT ABOUT RACISM THAT
MAKES IT OBJECTIONABLE?
AND WHAT PRACTICAL RESPONSES
TOWARDS RACISM ARE WARRANTED?
THERE'S A RELATED SECOND ORDER
OF DISAGREEMENT OVER WHETHER
THESE QUESTIONS ARE BEST
APPROACHED FROM THE STAND POINT
OF PERSONAL MORALITY OR
POLITICAL MORALITY.
LAWRENCE BLUM'S BOOK "I'M NOT A
RACIST, BUT..."
THE MORAL QUANDARY RACE,
PUBLISHED IN 2002, PROVIDES
ANSWERS TO EACH OF THE CORE
QUESTIONS ABOUT RACISM TACKLING
THEM LARGELY THROUGH THE LENS OF
ETHICS.
MORE NARROWLY CONCEIVED HERE
WHO'S PRINCIPLE SUBJECT MATTER
IS, UH, PERSONAL MORALITY.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Tommie Shelby. Associate Professor of Social Sciences, Harvard University. 'Racism, morality and social criticism.' University of Toronto. November 17, 2006."

Tommie continues I CHOOSE TO
TAKE UP THESE QUESTIONS BY
CONTRAST THROUGH POLITICAL
PHILOSOPHY.
UH, THE PRINCIPLE SUBJECT OF
WHICH IS THE JUSTICE OF
INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS.
YET CONTRARY
TO WHAT SOME HAVE ARGUED, I
DON'T MAINTAIN THAT THE, FEEL
LIKE POLITICAL PHILOSOPHICAL
PERSPECTIVE IS THE ONLY
APPROPRIATE POINT OF VIEW IN
MATTERS OF RACE.
MORAL PHILOSOPHY CERTAINLY HAS
IT'S PLACE AND DISTINCTIVE
INSIGHTS AS BLUM ABLY
DEMONSTRATES.
IT'S RATHER THAT THE POLITICAL
DOMAIN IS A SEMI-AUTONOMOUS
REALM, UH, WITH NORMATIVE
REQUIREMENTS ALL ITS OWN.
ONE CONSEQUENCE OF THIS IS THAT
POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY HAS AN
INDEPENDENT CONTRIBUTION TO MAKE
TO OUR UNDERSTANDING OF RACISM.
A CONTRIBUTION THAT I BELIEVE
BLOOR'S...
BLUM'S, UH, MORE MORALIZED
APPROACH OBSCURES.
SO, THE FIRST SECTION ON THE
SCOPE OF RACISM.
NOW, BLUM OBSERVES THAT THE
CHARGE OF RACISM NOW EXPRESSES
AN ESPECIALLY STRONG MORAL
CONDEMNATION.
YET THE CHARGE HE CLAIMS IS USED
INDISCRIMINATELY TO COVER ALL
RACE RELATED WRONGS.
EVEN THOSE WHO DON'T WARRANT
SUCH DAMNING CRITICISM.
IN LIGHT OF THIS UNHAPPY
CIRCUMSTANCE, HE SETS HIMSELF TO
RELATED OBJECTIVES.
FIRST TO EXPLAIN WHY AND WHEN
THE CHARGE OF RACISM RIGHTLY HAS
SUCH STRONG CONDEMNATORY
POWER...
AND SECOND TO SHOW HOW WE MIGHT
PRESERVE OR IF YOU LIKE,
RESTORE, THE FORCE OF THE CHARGE
AS A FORM OF MORAL CRITICISM.
ACCORDINGLY, PROPOSES THAT WE
RESTRICT THE EXTENSION OF THE
TERM RACISM TO ONLY THE MOST
SERIOUS MORAL FAILINGS IN THE
DOMAIN OF RACE.
AND SUPPORTS THIS RESTRICTION ON
SEVERAL INTERCONNECTED GROUNDS.
HE CLAIMS THAT THIS PROPOSED
USAGE ALREADY LARGELY CONFORMS
TO OUR CURRENT PRACTICE.
HE MAINTAINS THAT WE NOW CALL
SOMETHING RACIST ONLY IF WE SEEK
TO STRONGLY CONDEMN IT.
AS HE NOTES, THE TERM WAS
INITIALLY INTRODUCED TO
DESIGNATE THE DOCTRINE OF RACIAL
SUPERIORITY ADVOCATED BY THE
NAZIS.
HOWEVER, THE TERM NO LONGER
REFERS JUST TO A SYSTEM OF
BELIEFS BUT NOW EXTENDS TO
PERSONS, MOTIVES, ACTIONS,
PRACTICES, INSTITUTIONS, SYMBOLS
AND STILL OTHER THINGS.
BLUM WELCOMES THIS EXPANSION,
UM, BUT MAINTAINS THAT FAR TOO
MANY LESSER MORAL EVILS ARE
TODAY REGARDED AS RACIST.
HE WORRIES THAT BECAUSE OF THIS
WILL CAUSE CONCEPTUAL INFLATION,
THE TERM COULD COME TO LOSE ALL
MEANING.
AND BECAUSE SOME PERSONS USE THE
CHARGE TO STRONGLY CONDEMN
RELATIVELY MINOR RACIAL WRONGS,
THE POTENCY OF THE WORD AS MORAL
CRITICISM HAS DIMINISHED.
BLUM THINKS THAT WE SHOULD AVOID
MAKING THE CONCEPT RACISM DO SO
MUCH WORK AND CHOOSE ALTERNATIVE
WAYS OF DESCRIBING AND
CRITICIZING LESS SERIOUS RACE
RELATED WRONGS.
NOW, AT FIRST BLUSH, THIS
PROPOSAL MIGHT SEEM TO PROVIDE
PHILOSOPHICAL SUPPORT FOR
TODAY'S DISTURBING QUIETISM
ABOUT CONTINUING RACIAL
PROBLEMS.
YET BLUM'S PROPOSAL IS NOT MEANT
TO DENY THAT THESE LESSER RACIAL
WRONGS ARE WRONGS.
ON THE CONTRARY, THIS SHIFT IN
OUR MORAL VOCABULARY, HE CLAIMS,
WOULD ACTUALLY BETTER HIGHLIGHT
THESE LESSER MORAL ERRORS.
WHY?
BECAUSE TOO OFTEN PEOPLE
MISTAKENLY THINK THAT IF AN
INFRACTION OF DOMAIN OF RACE
ISN'T RACISM, THAN IT CAN'T BE
CRITICIZED ON MORAL GROUNDS AT
ALL.
THE PROGRESS IS TO BE MADE IN
MATTERS OF RACE, WE MUST
TRANSCEND THIS ALL OR NOTHING
APPROACH.
PLUS MOST IMPORTANT, BLUM ARGUES
THAT WHEN RELATIVELY SMALL MORAL
INFRACTIONS ARE LABELLED AS
RACIST, THIS OFTEN FUNCTIONS AS
A CONVERSATION STOPPER.
THE ACCUSED CAN BECOME SO
ANXIOUS OR RESENTFUL THAT THEY
ARE UNABLE TO PRODUCTIVELY
ENGAGE IN OPEN DIALOGUE.
SOME PERSONS OF GOOD WILL MAY
EVEN AVOID DISCUSSING MATTERS OF
RACE ALTOGETHER FOR FEAR THAT
THEIR REMARKS WILL BE WRONGLY
INTERPRETED AS RACIST.
THIS OVERLY EXPANSIVE USE OF
RACISM INTENSIFIES GROUP
ANTAGONISM, INHIBITS
INTER-RACIAL CO-OPERATION AND
HENCE RETARDS OUR PROGRESS
TOWARDS SOCIAL HARMONY.
SECOND SECTION, SOCIAL CRITICISM
IN THE POLITICS OF RACE.
I THINK BLUM'S NARROW SCOPE
CONCEPTION OF RACISM HAS MERIT
AND HIS WILLINGNESS TO CONNECT
THEORY WITH PRACTICE I THINK IS
AN IMPORTANT STEP IN THE RIGHT
DIRECTION.
NEVER THE LESS, I WANT TO OFFER
CONSIDERATIONS IN FAVOUR OF A
BROADER CONCEPTION OF RACISM.
ONE WITH A DIFFERENT FOCUS AND
THAT GIVES LESS WEIGHT TO HOW
THE TERM IS USED IN EVERY DAY
LIFE.
I'M NOT CONVINCED THAT THERE
EXISTS BROAD AGREEMENT THAT
RACISM IS A PARTICULARLY SERIOUS
MORAL ERROR.
THE ONLY EVIDENCE THAT BLUM
PROVIDES IS THAT PEOPLE
GENERALLY DON'T LIKE TO BE
VIEWED AS OR, UH, LABELLED AS
RACIST.
THIS OBSERVATION IS CORRECT, UH,
BUT IS THIS CONCERN TO AVOID
BEING REGARDED AS RACIST MORALLY
BASED?
OR SIMPLY A MATTER OF PRUDENCE?
I HAVE NO DOUBT THAT MANY HAVE
STRONG MORAL SENTIMENTS ABOUT
RACIAL MISCONDUCTS IN THAT THEY
OFFER SUFFER A DEEP SENSE OF
GUILT OR A SELF REPROACH.
UM...
WHEN THEY DISCOVER OR EVEN
SUSPECT RACIAL PREJUDICE IN
THEMSELVES.
HOWEVER, OTHERS MAY SIMPLY AVOID
THE APPEARANCE OF RACISM NOT OF
ETHICAL COMMITMENT BUT BECAUSE
THEY FEAR THE WRATH OF THE
POLITICALLY CORRECT.
BEING THOUGHT TO BE RACIST CAN
HAVE REAL COSTS.
IT CAN LEAD TO THE LOSS OF ONE'S
JOB, TO THE LOSS OF VOTES IN
ELECTIONS AND TO THE LOSS OF
GOOD WILL FROM NEEDED ALLIES.
IN ORDER TO BE PERCEIVED AS
RACIST IS TO RISK ENGENDERING
ACTIVE HOSTILITY FROM MEMBERS OF
LOW STATUS RACIAL GROUPS...
WHO SOMETIMES HAVE THE POWER TO
DISRUPT IF NOT RETALIATE.
ONE NEEDN'T REGARD RACISM AS A
SERIOUS MORAL FAILING TO BE
MOVED BY THESE PRACTICAL
CONSIDERATIONS.
BUT SOME DO OF COURSE TREAT THE
CHARGE OF RACISM AS A STRONG
CONDEMNATION.
I'M NOT TRYING TO DENY THAT.
YET MANY DISMISS SUCH CLAIMS AS
EMPTY RODERICK, EXPLOITED TO
EXTRACT GUILT FROM WHITES AND
THROUGH THIS SO CALLED SPECIAL
TREATMENT FROM THE GOVERNMENT
FOR RACIAL MINORITIES.
SO, WHAT I'M SUGGESTING IS THAT
CLAIMS OF RACISM AND THEIR
DENIAL ARE HIGHLY POLITICIZED.
WHAT A PERSON COUNTS AS RACISM
DEPENDS ON, AMONG OTHER THINGS,
HIS OR HER POLITICAL IDEOLOGY,
INTEREST AND RACIAL ATTITUDES.
CLAIMS OF RACISM ARE CERTAINLY
MORALLY LOADED AS BLUM CONTENDS
BUT THEY'RE ALSO POLITICALLY
CHARGED.
BECAUSE OF THIS, WE SHOULD BE
CAREFUL ABOUT HOW WE ENLIST A
CONTEMPORARY PUBLIC DISCOURSE ON
RACE IN OUR EFFORT TO BETTER
UNDERSTAND WHAT RACISM IS, WHAT
MAKES IT WRONG AND HOW BEST TO
RESPOND TO IT.
I THINK WE CAN PRESERVE BLUM'S
ANALYTICAL AND MORAL INSIGHTS
WHILE MAINTAINING WHAT I THINK
IS A HEALTHY SCEPTICISM ABOUT
THE PROPERTY VALUE OF THE PUBLIC
DISCOURSE SURROUNDING, UH, RACE
RELATED ISSUES.
IN PARTICULAR, WE NEEDN'T ASSUME
THAT CALLING SOMETHING RACISM
MUST ALWAYS EXPRESS A STRONG
MORAL CONDEMNATION.
IN THE FOLLOWING ALTERNATIVE SET
OF ASSUMPTIONS, I THINK WILL
SERVE EQUALLY WELL.
FIRST, THAT RACISM COMES IN MANY
FORMS AND EXPRESSES ITSELF IN
NUMEROUS WAYS.
SECOND, THAT ALL FORMS AND
EXPRESSIONS OF RACISM ARE CAUSE
FOR MORAL CONCERN.
BUT THIRD, NOT EVERY FORM OR
EXPRESSION OF RACISM IS A
SERIOUS MORAL FAILING.
HERE WE CAN ALLOW THAT ALL, OR
NEARLY ALL, RACE RELATED ILLS
ARE FORMS OR EXPRESSIONS OF
RACISM.
BUT THAT THE NORMATIVE
SIGNIFICANCE OF ANY PARTICULAR
INSTANCE OF RACISM CAN VARY
CONSIDERABLY.
FROM A STRICTLY LOGICAL OR MORAL
POINT OF VIEW, THIS WAY OF
THINKING ABOUT RACISM, IT'S
SCOPE THAT IS, WHICH YOU MIGHT
CALL HERE THERE IS A WIDE SCOPE
PERCEPTION, UH, IN BLUM'S NARROW
SCOPE CONCEPTION ARE ACTUALLY
EQUIVALENT.
RACISM NO LONGER HAS A
DETERMINATE MEANING IN EVERY DAY
LIFE.
THE TERMS IN A TERMINANCY IS
PARTLY TO RESULT OF THE EVER
SHIFTING POLITICAL SIGNIFICANCE
OF RACE BASED CONFLICT.
BLUM CAN NOT THEREFORE BE ACTING
AS A, IF YOU LIKE, A
LEXICOGRAPHER.
HE'S MAKING A RECOMMENDATION
PRESCRIBING THE MEANING OF
RACISM.
AND THE CASE FOR THIS
PRESCRIPTION ULTIMATE RESTS ON
PRAGMATIC GROUNDS.
BLUM FAVOURS RESTRICTING THE
SCOPE OF THE TERM BECAUSE HE
BELIEVES THIS WILL MORE LIKELY
MOVE US CLOSER TO RACIAL COMITY
GIVEN CURRENT HISTORICAL
CIRCUMSTANCES.
IN PARTICULAR, HE THINKS HIS
APPROACH WILL BETTER FACILITATE
INTO RACIAL DIALOGUE.
INTER-RACIAL DIALOGUE ON AN
EMOTIONALLY, THE EMOTIONALLY HOT
TOPIC OF RACE, THE NOTORIOUSLY
DIFFICULT ISSUE TO HAVE
PRODUCTIVE INTER-RACIAL
CONVERSATIONS ABOUT.
HOWEVER, A PRAGMATIC
CONSIDERATIONS ARE THE DECISIVE
ONES HERE, THERE ARE OTHER ONES
THAT BARE ON THE QUESTION.
FOR INSTANCE, WE MIGHT WANT TO
DEFINE A CORE MEANING OF RACISM
BY FOCUSING ON THOSE RACE
RELATED ILLS THAT HAVE THE
BIGGEST NEGATIVE IMPACT ON THE
LIBERTY, LIVE PROSPECTS AND SELF
RESPECT OF INDIVIDUALS.
IT IS NO DOUBT BECAUSE OF THESE
URGENT PRACTICAL CONCERNS THAT
MANY AFRICAN-AMERICANS INSIST
THAT RACISM BE UNDERSTOOD AS A
SYSTEM OF OPPRESSION RATHER THAN
IN TERMS OF INDIVIDUAL
PREJUDICE.
IN THEIR INFLUENTIAL YET
CONTROVERSIAL BOOK "BLACK POWER."
1967 STATE THAT STOKELY
CARMICHAEL AND CHARLES V.
HAMILTON FAMOUSLY URGE THAT WE
SHIFT OUR CRITICAL EYE TOWARD
INSTITUTIONAL RACISM.
THEY RECOGNIZE THAT OVERT
EXPRESSIONS OF PERSONAL BIGOTRY
WERE BECOMING LESS COMMON BUT
THAT BLACKS AND OTHER RACIAL
MINORITIES WERE STILL OPPRESSED
ON ACCOUNT OF THEIR RACE.
THESE CONSIDERATIONS OR
CONSIDERATIONS OF THIS SORT
POINT TO A PLACE IN QUESTION OF
SOCIAL JUSTICE AT THE CENTER OF
ACCOUNTS OF RACISM.
NOW, WE SHOULD TAKE BLUM'S
CONVERSATION STOPPER ARGUMENT
SERIOUSLY BUT THE PROBLEM HE
HIGHLIGHTS NEEDS TO BE VIEWED IN
PROPER PERSPECTIVE, I THINK.
HE RIGHTLY REGARDS SOCIAL
HARMONY BEYOND RACE AS A LOTABLE
IDEA.
YET BLUM'S FOCUS ON THE NEED TO
FACILITATE INTER-RACIAL DIALOGUE
ABOUT THE MEANING AND WRONGS OF
RACISM, I THINK IMPLICITLY
PRESUPPOSES THAT THIS IDEAL IS
CLOSE TO BEING REALIZED.
WHICH I WOULD ARGUE AND I THINK
HE ACTUALLY WOULD AGREE IS FAR
FROM THE CASE.
ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND POLITICAL
INEQUALITIES BETWEEN WHITES AND
RACIAL MINORITIES CREATE DEEP
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST AND
SOMETIMES EVEN ANTAGONISM.
ON HIS OWN ACCOUNT, OVERCOMING
THE LEGACY OF RACIAL DOMINATION,
ELIMINATING DEFACTO SEGREGATION
AND CREATING EQUAL LIFE CHANCE
WILL REQUIRE REALLOCATION OF
RESOURCES AWAY FROM SOME WHITES
TOWARDS SOME RACIAL MINORITIES.
THIS IS WHY GIVEN THIS
SITUATION, WE CAN, CAN WE
REASONABLY EXPECT THE DIFFERENT
RACIAL GROUPS TO COME TO
AGREEMENT ON WHAT RACISM
CONSISTS IN.
SOME SERIOUS DOUBTS.
THERE'S EVERY REASON TO BELIEVE
THAT THESE VERY REAL CONFLICTS
OF INTEREST WILL BE REFLECTED IN
WHAT MEMBERS OF THE RESPECTED
RACIAL GROUPS REGARD AS
CONSTITUTING RACISM.
IN SOME WAYS, EXPECTING GENERAL
AGREEMENT ON THE MEANING OF
RACISM IS LIKE EXPECTING
CAPITALISTS AND WORKERS TO AGREE
ON THE MEANING OF ECONOMIC
EXPLOITATION OR MEN AND WOMEN TO
AGREE ON THE MEANING OF
PATRIARCHY.
IT'S EXPECTED AT THE MOMENT WHEN
SUCH CONSENSUS AS A REALISTIC
POSSIBILITY THAT RACIAL JUSTICE
WILL ACTUALLY BE LARGELY
ACHIEVED OR AT LEAST WILL BE ON
THE HORIZON.
TAKE FOR
EXAMPLE THE PRINCIPLE OF COLOUR
BLINDNESS.
ACCORDING TO THIS PRINCIPLE, A
PERSON'S RACE SHOULD NEVER
CONSIDERATION WHEN DETERMINING
HOW GOVERNMENT INSTITUTIONS
OUGHT TO TREAT HIM OR HER.
EVEN IF THE
PROPOSED RACE CONSCIOUS POLICY
IS DESIGNED TO PROMOTE SOME
OTHERWISE WORTHY SOCIAL GOAL.
FOR EXAMPLE, REDUCING
OCCURRENCES OF RACIAL
DISCRIMINATION, CREATING GREAT
SOCIAL RACIAL INTEGRATION
ATTENUATE IN A LEGACY OF RACIAL
EXCLUSION.
MOST WHITES HAVE A MATERIAL
STAKE IN TREATING COLOUR
BLINDNESS AS AN ABSOLUTE MORAL
PRINCIPLE.
FOR IN VIEWING IT THUSLY
REDISTRIBUTIVE MEASURES THAT
WILL BE COSTLY TO THEM WILL BE
REGARDED NOT ONLY AS BAD POLICY
THAT IS UNWISE OR INEFFECTIVE OR
INEFFICIENT BUT IS UNJUST.
NOW, I POINT THIS OUT NOT
BECAUSE I THINK WE SHOULD
CONCEPTUALIZE RACISM SAY FROM
THE BLACK POINT OF VIEW, UH, LOW
STATUS RACIAL GROUPS TOO HAVE A
STAKE IN HOW THE GENERAL PUBLIC
UNDERSTANDS THE SCOPE OF RACISM.
AND IT'S NOT SURPRISING THAT
MANY FROM SUCH GROUPS FAVOUR AN
EXPANSIVE CONCEPTION AS THIS, IF
WIDELY ACCEPTED COULD
POTENTIALLY IMPROVE THEIR LIFE.
WELL NOW, I RAISE THIS ISSUE
BECAUSE I WANT TO URGE CAUTION
ABOUT HOW WE USE THE PUBLIC
DISCOURSE ABOUT RACE, A DEEPLY
POLITICIZED DISCOURSE IN OUR
PHILOSOPHICAL ANALYSES OF
RACISM.
NOW, BLUM MAINTAINS THAT ALL
FORMS OF RACISM CAN BE
UNDERSTOOD IN TERMS OF TWO BROAD
PARADIGMS.
THE FIRST, UH, IS CALLED RACIAL
INFERIORIZATION.
IT'S A TOUGH TERM.
UH, NOT A TERRIBLY BEAUTIFUL
TERM BUT IT'S THE TERM HE USES.
RACIAL INFERIORIZATION OCCURS
WHEN ONE SOCIAL GROUP IS VIEWED,
REPRESENTED OR TREATED AS
INFERIOR BECAUSE OF IT'S RACE.
RACIAL ANTIPATHY, THE OTHER
MODEL, IS HATRED, HOSTILITY OR
BIGOTRY DIRECTED TOWARD A GROUP
BECAUSE OF ITS RACE.
BY DRAWING ON ONE OR BOTH OF
THESE PARADIGMS, BLUM ATTEMPTS
TO EXPLAIN THE MEANING OF
PERSONAL RACISM, OF RACIAL
PREJUDICE, OF INSTITUTIONAL
RACISM AND WHAT HE CALLS SOCIAL
RACISM.
TODAY, MOST WOULD PROBABLY
AGREE THAT RACIAL ANTIPATHY IS
A FORM OF RACISM AND RECENT
PHILOSOPHICAL ACCOUNTS
GENERALLY INCLUDE SUCH RACE
BASED HATRED AMONG THE ATTITUDES
THAT ARE PROPERLY CALLED RACIST.
THE REAL DISAGREEMENT ARISES
OVER THREE THINGS.
ONE, WHERE THE RACIAL ANTIPATHY
IS NECESSARY FOR RACISM.
TWO, WHETHER SUCH ANTIPATHY
SHOULD BE REGARDED AS THE
PARADIGM OF RACISM.
THAT IS, THE FORM FROM WHICH ALL
THE TYPES MUST BE DERIVED OR
RELATED.
AND THREE, WHETHER IT IS RACE
BASED ANTIPATHY THAT MAKES
RACISM SO OBJECTIONABLE.
I'M GONNA RETURN TO THE
ANTIPATHY PARADIGM A LITTLE BIT
LATER BUT FIRST I WANTED TO
EXAMINE THE PLACE OF RACIST
BELIEFS WITHIN BLUM'S OVERALL
ANALYSIS.
NOW HE DEPARTS FROM HORHE
GARSIJA INFLUENTIAL ACCOUNT OF
RACISM BY INCLUDING
INFERIORIZATION AS A SEPARATE,
UH...
PARADIGMATIC FORM OF RACISM IN
ADDITION TO THE RACIAL
ANTIPATHY.
AND I THINK THIS IS AN ADVANCE.
I DON'T THINK IT QUITE GOES FAR
ENOUGH.
INFERIORIZING RACISM ACCORDING
TO BLUM IS REGARDING OR TREATING
THE MEMBERS OF A RACIAL GROUP AS
DEFECTIVE OR SUBSTANDARD IN SOME
SIGNIFICANT WAY.
FOR EXAMPLE, IN MORAL CHARACTER
OR IN INTELLIGENCE OR CAPACITY
FOR SELF DETERMINATION, SAY.
HE ALSO SAYS THAT INFERIORIZING
PERSONAL RACISM EXPRESSES ITSELF
IN ATTITUDES THAT DISRESPECT OR
CONTEMPT AND DEMEANING.
WHAT IS LESS CLEAR IS WHETHER HE
THINKS THE TERM RACISM GIVEN HIS
PROPOSAL FOR HOW WE SHOULD
UNDERSTAND IT'S CORE MEANING,
APPLIES IN CASES OF SUCH
NEGATIVE AFFECT IS ABSENT.
BUT THE BELIEF IN INFERIORITY IS
STILL PRESENT.
IF THE MERE BELIEF IN THE
DEFECTIVE CHARACTER OF BLACKS,
LATINOS OR NATIVE-AMERICANS IS
AN EXPRESSION OF RACISM AS MANY
MAINTAIN, ON WHAT GROUNDS IS THE
HAVING OF THIS BELIEF CONSTITUTE
A SERIOUS MORAL DEFENCE?
WHILE BELIEFS CAN SURELY BE
FALSE, UNWARRANTED OR
IRRATIONAL, IT'S LESS CLEAR IN
WHAT WAY IF AT ALL, THEY CAN BE
IMMORAL.
BELIEFS ARGUABLY CAN BE OPEN TO
MORAL CRITICISM AS OPPOSED TO
SAY SIMPLY EPISTEMIC CRITICISM
BECAUSE OF HOW THEY HAVE COME TO
BE FORMED, SAY.
BECAUSE OF THEIR OTOLOGY OR
GENEALOGY.
ONE WAY OF GOING AT IT.
BLUM AT TIMES SEEMED TO TAKE
DISPOSITION.
HE THINKS FOR EXAMPLE THAT
INFERIORIZING BELIEFS THAT ARE
THE PRODUCT OF MERE RACIAL
PREJUDICE ARE AMENABLE TO MORAL
CRITICISM.
HE ALSO MAINTAINS THAT
INFERIORIZING BELIEFS, INDEED
THE BELIEFS OF ANY PROPOSITIONAL
CONTENT, THAT ARE
IRRATIONALIZATIONS FOR
IRRATIONAL RACIAL ANTIPATHY ARE
APPROPRIATE OBJECTS OF MORAL
CRITICISM.
SO, IF SUCH BELIEFS SPRING FROM
RACIAL ANTIPATHY OR RATIONALIZE
SUCH ANTIPATHY THEN THEY'RE
MORALLY OBJECTIONABLE ON HIS
ACCOUNT.
BUT HE DENIES THAT INFERIORIZING
BELIEFS ARE THE RESULT OF QUOTE,
INDEPENDENT INTELLECTUAL
PROCESSES OR A DISPASSIONATE
ASSESSMENT OF THE RELEVANT
EVIDENCE ARE RACIST.
ON THE OTHER HAND, BLUM ACCEPTS
THE COMMONLY HELD VIEW THAT THE
PROPOSITIONAL CONTENT OF A
BELIEF, FOR EXAMPLE THAT BLACKS
ARE LAZY OR THAT INDIANS ARE
STUPID, UH, CAN BE RACIST EVEN
IF THE PERSON WHO HOLDS IT IS
NOT A RACIST AND DOESN'T HOLD
IT IN A RACIST WAY.
HE ALSO MAINTAINS THAT SYMBOLS,
JOKES AND IMAGES CAN BE RACIST
QUITE APART FROM THE MOTIVES OF
THOSE WHO MAKE OR USE THEM.
NOW, THE TROUBLE, UH, IS THAT
THE ADMISSION OF THESE LATTER
CASES SEEMS TO CONTRAVENE HIS
REQUIREMENT THAT THE CHARGE OF
RACISM SHOULD BE RESERVED FOR
THE MOST SERIOUS MORAL FAILINGS
IN THE RACIAL DOMAIN.
INDEED IT'S NOT CLEAR JUST WHAT
KIND OF MORAL CRITICISM COULD
APPLY IN THESE CASES.
CAN THE CONTENT OF A BELIEF,
THAT IS WHAT IT CONVEYS, VIOLATE
A BINDING MORAL NORM?
A PERSON MIGHT OF COURSE HAVE A
BELIEF WHO'S CONTENT DENIES OR
IF YOU LIKE, ENTAILS A DENIAL OF
THE NORMATIVE FORCE OF A VALID
MORAL PRINCIPLE, RIGHT?
THE BELIEF THAT NON-WHITES CAN
BE JUSTLY ENSLAVED FOR INSTANCES
OF THIS SORT.
MORE OVER AN IDEA CAN BE EVIL OR
MORALLY DANGEROUS IF IT
ADVOCATES, SUGGESTS OR
ENCOURAGES SOMETHING IMMORAL.
FOR EXAMPLE, THE IDEA THAT
WHITES SHOULD RULE OVER
NON-WHITES IS OF THIS KIND.
BUT THE BELIEF THAT NON-WHITES
ARE LAZIER...
OR LESS INTELLIGENT THAN WHITES
DOESN'T FALL INTO EITHER OF
THESE CATEGORIES.
FOR IT MIGHT HOLD SUCH VIEWS
WHILE CONSISTENTLY MAINTAINING
THAT SUCH GROUP DIFFERENCES DO
NOT WARRANT DIFFERENTIAL MORAL
TREATMENT.
THAT IS WHILE VIEWING RACIAL
DIFFERENCES AS REAL BUT MORALLY
IRRELEVANT.
NOW, WE MIGHT REASONABLY THINK
BELIEFS ABOUT RACIAL DIFFERENCES
AND INTELLIGENCE OR INDOLENCE
ARE TYPICALLY JOINED WITH WHITE
SUPREMIST BELIEFS BUT THIS WOULD
NOT, AT LEAST NOT BY ITSELF,
JUSTIFY CONDEMNING BELIEFS OF
THE FORMER KIND.
NOW WE CAN RESOLVE THIS
DIFFICULTY IF WE WERE TO RELAX
BLUM'S REQUIREMENT THAT THE
CHARGE OF RACISM BE APPLIED
STRICTLY TO THE WORST MORAL ILLS
IN MATTERS OF RACE.
FOR INSTANCE WE COULD SAY THAT
RACISM, REGARDLESS OF ITS FORM
IS ALWAYS CAUSE FOR MORAL
CONCERN BUT THAT NOT EVERYTHING
THAT IS PROPERLY CALLED RACIST
REPRESENTS A SERIOUS MORAL
FAILING IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE
THIRD PROPOSITION THAT I
SUGGESTED FOR THE WIDE SCOPE
CONCEPTION.
NOW, BLUM WOULD LIKELY REJECT
THIS APPROACH SINCE HE WANTS TO
PRESERVE WHAT HE TAKES TO BE THE
ESTABLISHED, STRONG,
CONDEMNATORY FORCE OF THE
CHARGE.
BUT AS I NOTED EARLIER, IT'S NOT
AT ALL CLEAR THAT THE MORAL
SIGNIFICANCE OF CHARGES OF
RACISM IS AS FIRMLY ESTABLISHED
IN PUBLIC DISCOURSE AS HE
SUPPOSES.
THEREFORE, IT IS OPEN TO
ADVOCATES OF THE WIDE SCOPE
CONCEPTION TO SAY THAT SOME
RACIST BELIEFS, FOR EXAMPLE
THOSE UTTERED IN ANTIPATHY OR
MALICE WARRANT STRONG
CONDEMNATION.
WHILE OTHER RACIST BELIEFS, FOR
EXAMPLE THOSE UTTERED IN THE
NAIVE BUT NON-MALICIOUS
ACCEPTANCE OF RACIAL
STEREOTYPES, THOSE STILL CALL
FOR MORAL CONCERN DO NOT WARRANT
SUCH SEVERE MORAL REPROACH.
I THINK WE CAN DEVELOP A MORE
CONCEPTUALLY INTEGRATED ACCOUNT
OF RACISM, ONE THAT PROPERLY
SITUATES RACIST BELIEFS INTO A
GENERAL FRAMEWORK BUT ONLY IF WE
OPT FOR A DIFFERENT PARADIGM.
AND THIS ALTERNATIVE FRAMEWORK,
I WANT TO ARGUE, CAN SUBSUME THE
ANTIPATHY AND INFERIORIZATION
MODELS AND EXPLAIN AN
INTERCONNECTION.
MORE OVER, THIS FRAMEWORK HAS
THE ADVANTAGE THAT ITS ORIGINS
CAN BE TRACED TO THE ORIGINAL
COINAGE OF THE TERM RACISM GIVEN
THIS PERSPECTIVE IF YOU LIKE, A
CERTAIN KIND OF ETYMOLOGICAL
COHERENCE.
IF THAT'S A VIRTUE.
I SUGGEST THAT WE TREAT RACISM
AS A FORM OR AN EXPRESSION OF
IDEOLOGY.
SO PUT IT A BIT CRUDELY JUST TO
GET US STARTED.
RACISM IS A SET OF BELIEFS ABOUT
RACES OR RACE RELATIONS WHO'S
WIDE CURRENCY SERVES A EUDEMONIC
SOCIAL FUNCTION.
NOW, BLUM REJECTS ACCOUNTS OF
RACISM THAT TREAT IT PRIMARILY
AS A MATTER OF IDEOLOGY ON THREE
MAIN GROUNDS.
HE REGARDS A RACIST IDEOLOGY AS
A SYSTEM OF BELIEF THAT HOLDS
THAT THERE EXISTS A HIERARCHY OF
BIOLOGICALLY BASED RACIST.
BUT THE MAINTAINS THAT THERE ARE
RACISTS WHO DON'T BELIEVE IN A
STRICT NATURAL GROUP BASED
HIERARCHY.
HE ARGUES THAT A PERSON CAN BE A
RACIST OR DO SOMETHING RACIST
WITHOUT HAVING ANY DEVELOPED OR
SOPHISTICATED BELIEFS ABOUT WHAT
DIFFERENT RACES ARE LIKE.
AND FINALLY, HE THINKS THINGS
OTHER THAN IDEOLOGIES, THINGS
LIKE INSTITUTIONS AND POLICIES,
CAN PROPERLY BE REGARDED AS
RACIST.
AND NOW BLUM'S CRITICISM OF THE
IDEOLOGY PARADIGM STEM FROM AN
OVERLY NARROW CONCEPTION OF
IDEOLOGY.
HE TAKES IDEOLOGIES AS EXPLICIT
AND FULLY DEVELOPED DOCTRINES
WHO'S PROPOSITIONAL CONTENT IS
STABLE OVER TIME.
HOWEVER, I THINK OF IDEOLOGY NOT
AS IT'S SOMETIMES UNDERSTOOD IN
EVERY DAY DISCOURSE BUT AS IT
HAS COME TO US FROM THE MARXIST
TRADITION OF SOCIAL THEORY.
THAT IS, AN IDEOLOGY IS A WIDELY
HERALD SET OF LOOSELY ASSOCIATED
BELIEFS AND IMPLICIT ASSUMPTIONS
THAT MISREPRESENT SIGNIFICANT
SOCIAL REALITIES AND THAT
FUNCTION THROUGH THIS DISTORTION
TO BRING ABOUT OR REINFORCE
GROUP BASED OPPRESSION.
NOW, IN ADDITION TO RACIST
IDEOLOGY, THERE OF COURSE
NATIONALIST IDEOLOGISTS,
RELIGIOUS, SEXIST, ECONOMIC,
EVEN MORAL IDEOLOGIES AND EACH
HAS PLAYED AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN
THE REPRODUCTION OF UNJUST
INSTITUTIONS AND REGIMES.
NOW, I'M NOT GONNA TRY, NOR CAN
I, PROVIDE A FULL
CHARACTERIZATION OF IDEOLOGICAL
PHENOMENA HERE BUT IN ORDER TO
RESPOND TO BLUM'S OBJECTIONS,
THERE ARE A FEW FEATURES OF
IDEOLOGIES THAT ARE ESPECIALLY
IMPORTANT TO NOTE.
FIRST, OVERALL CONTENT OF AN
IDEOLOGICAL BELIEF SYSTEM CAN
CHANGE OVER TIME.
SOMETIMES THIS OCCURS
SPONTANEOUSLY.
BUT OFTEN SUCH CHANGES ARE
RESPONSE TO MILITANT POLITICAL
OPPOSITION AND SEVERE SOCIAL
CRITICISM.
SO, FOR EXAMPLE, BELIEFS ABOUT
THE BIOLOGICALLY BASED
INFERIORITY OF NON-WHITE RACIAL
GROUPS WERE MORE WIDE SPREAD IN
THE PAST...
DURING THE ERAS OF SLAVERY,
COLONIZATION, SEGREGATION AND
APARTHEID FOR INSTANCE.
BUT SEVERAL SOCIAL MOVEMENTS
AMONG THEM, THE ABOLITIONIST
MOVEMENT, CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT,
ANTI-COLONIAL LIBERATION
MOVEMENTS AND ANTI-APARTHEID
MOVEMENT FIRSTLY ATTACKED THESE
IDEAS AND THE INSTITUTIONS THEY
SUPPORTED.
NOW WITH THESE IDEAS LARGELY
DISCREDITED, ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT
THE CULTURAL OR BEHAVIOURAL
PATHOLOGY OF NON-WHITE RACIAL
GROUPS IS MORE COMMON.
OR ALTERNATIVELY, IS BELIEVED
THAT MEMBERS OF SOME RACIAL
GROUPS TEND TO BE LESS HARD
WORKING, LESS LAW ABIDING, LESS
INTELLIGENT AND SO ON WITHOUT
INSISTING THAT ALL MEMBERS OF
SUCH GROUPS POSSESS THESE
NEGATIVE CHARACTERISTICS AND
WITHOUT NECESSARILY CONCLUDING
THAT THESE TRAITS ARE CONGENITAL
OR AT LEAST NOT COMPLETELY SO.
THESE BELIEFS ARE FREQUENTLY
CALLED UPON TO EXPLAIN WHY
SOCIALLY DISADVANTAGED GROUPS
HAVE PERSISTED IN THEIR LOW
POSITION WITHIN THEIR RESPECTIVE
SOCIETIES OR WITHIN THE LARGER
GLOBAL COMMUNITY.
THEY ARE INVOKED TO DEFEND
AGAINST CHARGES THAT SAY, EQUAL
OPPORTUNITY OR FAIR TRADE POLICY
DOES NOT YET OBTAIN.
NEVER THE LESS, IT IS USEFUL TO
THINK OF THESE MORE CONTEMPORARY
BELIEFS AS EXPRESSIONS OF RACIST
IDEOLOGY BECAUSE RACE IS STILL
THE OPERATIVE, IF NOT ALWAYS,
THE OSTENSIBLE CATEGORY USED TO
IDENTIFY THE RELEVANT GROUPS AND
THE NET SOCIAL EFFECT OF THEIR
WIDE DIFFUSION IS TO CONTINUING
SUBORDINATION OF THE MEMBERS OF
NON-WHITE RACIALLY CLASSIFIED
GROUPS.
IN SHORT,
THESE BELIEFS PLAY A CRUCIAL
ROLE IN REPRODUCING IF YOU LIKE,
A SORT OF INFORMAL RACIAL
HIERARCHY.
SECOND, IDEOLOGIES ARE NOT, AT
LEAST NOT GENERALLY ATTRIBUTED
TO INDIVIDUALS BUT TO SOCIAL
GROUPS OR TO WHOLE SOCIETIES OR
SOMETIMES EVEN TO HISTORICAL
ERAS.
THEY ARE THOSE
COMMONLY HELD THOUGH NOT
NECESSARILY CONSISTENT BELIEFS
THAT LEGITIMATES STRATIFIED
SOCIAL ORDERS.
ELITES DO SOMETIMES ESPOUSE WHO
MIGHT BE CALLED IDEOLOGICAL
DOCTRINES WHICH ARE DEVELOPED
BELIEF SYSTEMS OR THEORIES.
MOST PEOPLE WON'T HAVE
SYSTEMATIC OR SOPHISTICATED
VIEWS ABOUT THE RELEVANT
PHENOMENA.
THEY WILL HAVE ABSORBED THROUGH
VARIOUS MEDIA, SCHOOLS, PUBLIC
RITUALS OR OTHER REVERED
INSTITUTIONS, MANY OF THE CORE
ASSUMPTIONS PROPAGATED BY
ELITES.
THESE ASSUMPTIONS ARE OFTEN HELD
SORT OF UNREFLECTIVELY CREATING
VARIOUS FORMS OF UNCONSCIOUS
BIAS.
FOR THIS REASON, A PERSON CAN
ACTUALLY BE SURPRISED TO LEARN
THAT HE OR SHE HARBOURS OR ACTS
ON CERTAIN RACIAL PREJUDICES.
AND I THINK EVEN THE MOST
PROGRESSIVE AND LIBERALLY MINDED
AMONG US MUST ADMIT THAT THIS
EXPERIENCE IS NOT ENTIRELY
UNFAMILIAR.
THIRD, TREATING IDEOLOGY AS TO
PARADIGM OF RACISM DOES NOT
PRECLUDE REGARDING THINGS OTHER
THAN BELIEFS AS A RACIST.
IT SIMPLY MEANS AS IT DOES WITH
BLUM'S USE OF THE TWO PARADIGMS
OF INFERIORIZATION AND
ANTIPATHY, THAT WE UNDERSTAND
THESE OTHER FORMS OR EXPRESSIONS
OF RACISM IN TERMS OF IDEOLOGY.
THAT IS, IN TERMS OF IDEOLOGY'S
MAIN CHARACTERISTICS AND BASIC
SOCIAL FUNCTION.
SOMEONE WHO EXPLICITLY
SUBSCRIBES TO RACIST IDEOLOGY IS
CERTAINLY A RACIST PERSON BUT SO
IS SOMEONE WHO WOULD GENERALLY
DISPOSE TO ACT ON RACIST
ASSUMPTIONS THOUGH HE MAY NOT,
UH, KNOW THAT SUCH ASSUMPTIONS
SHAPE HIS CONDUCT AND ATTITUDES.
A RACIST ACTION IS ONE MOTIVATOR
AT LEAST IN PART BY RACIST
BELIEFS OR AN ACTION THAT IS
RATIONALIZED IN TERMS OF SUCH
BELIEFS.
THE PROPOSITIONAL CONTENT OF
IDEOLOGICAL BELIEFS CAN BE
EXPRESSED IN LITERATURE AND
JOKES AND SYMBOLS, POPULAR
CULTURE, ADVERTISEMENTS AND
OTHER MEDIA.
AN INSTITUTION IS RACIST JUST IN
CASE IT'S POLICIES ARE PREMISED
ON OR EXPRESS RACIST BELIEFS OR
ITS RULES AND REGULATIONS FAIL
TO BE IMPARTIALLY APPLIED
BECAUSE RACIAL IDEOLOGY HAS A
PERVASIVE IF SOMETIMES
UNCONSCIOUS HOLD OVER IT'S
OFFICIALS.
INDEED A SOCIETY CAN ITSELF BE
RACIST IF RACIST IDEOLOGY IS
AMONG THE PRIMARY MECHANISMS BY
WHICH TO DOMINATE GROUP OR
GROUPS MAINTAINS ITS HEGEMONY.
FINALLY, IN EDITION TO THE
OPPRESSIVE SOCIAL CONSEQUENCES,
IDEOLOGIES POSSESS EPISTEMIC
DEFICIENCIES.
THEY MUST LEAD AND DISTORT.
THEY CREATE AND SPREAD MYTHS.
THEY MISINFORM AND CONCEAL.
MOST IMPORTANTLY THOUGH, THEY
LEGITIMATE GROUP DOMINANCE
THROUGH THEIR
MISREPRESENTATIONS.
CENTRAL ORGANIZING IDEA OF
RACIST IDEOLOGIES OF COURSE, THE
MODERN IDEA OF RACE ITSELF.
WHICH LEADS OFF INTO
PSEUDO-SCIENTIFIC ACCOUNTS OF
HUMAN VARIETY AND GROUP
DIFFERENCES.
WHICH IN TURN, RATIONALIZES
SOCIAL OPPRESSION AND THEREBY
PERPETUATES INJUSTICE.
IT OFTEN REQUIRES EMPIRICAL
STUDIES IN FACT TO DEBUNK THE
LATEST INCARNATION OF THE
IDEOLOGY AND TO REVEAL ITS
PERNICIOUS SOCIAL AND
PSYCHOLOGICAL CONSEQUENCES.
TO SAY THAT A PERSONS CONDUCT
AND INSTITUTION OR A WHOLE
SOCIETY IS SHAPED BY IDEOLOGY IS
CERTAINLY A TYPE OF CRITICISM.
IT IS NOT HOWEVER AN ORDINARY
MORAL CRITICISM.
LIKE, CALLING SOMEONE A LIAR OR
A COWARD OR A CHEAT.
THE CONCEPT OF IDEOLOGY COMBINES
EPISTEMIC CRITICISM, MORAL
CRITIQUE, MORAL CRITIQUE AND
SOCIAL SCIENTIFIC ANALYSIS AND
IT SERVES AS THE FOUNDATION FOR
A DISTINCTIVE BRAND OF SOCIAL
CRITICISM SOMETIMES CALL
CRITICAL THEORY OR CRITICAL
SOCIAL THEORY.
BUT EVEN IF WE AGREE THAT RACISM
IS BEST UNDERSTOOD AS AN
IDEOLOGY, WE'RE STILL LEFT WITH
THE QUESTION OF HOW WE SHOULD
MORALLY APPRAISE IT.
BLUM MAINTAINS THAT
INFERIORIZING RACISM IS A MORAL
WRONG AND A SERIOUS ONE BECAUSE
IT QUOTE, VIOLATES FUNDAMENTAL
NORMS OF RESPECT, EQUALITY AND
RECOGNITION OF THE DIGNITY OF
OTHER PERSONS.
AND THAT RACIAL ANTIPATHY IS
WRONG BECAUSE IT QUOTE,
EXEMPLIFIES ON WORTHY OR
DESTRUCTIVE SENTIMENTS AND
ATTITUDES.
HE RECOGNIZES HOWEVER THAT MANY
MORAL WRONGS, LARGE AND SMALL
SATISFY THESE CRITERIA.
SO, THIS DOESN'T EXPLAIN WHAT IT
IS ABOUT RACISM THAT SHOULD LEAD
US TO CLASSIFY IT AMONG THE
WORST OF MORAL ERRORS.
HE WANTS TO KNOW WHAT IT IS
ABOUT RACE BASED VIOLATIONS OF
GENERAL MORAL NORMS THAT'S A
SORT OF AN AGGRAVATING FACTOR IN
SUCH TRANS...
WHAT DO YOU CALL IT?
TRANSGRESSIONS.
HIS ANSWER IS THAT RACISM IS
TIED TO CERTAIN HISTORICALLY
BASED OR HISTORICALLY RACE BASED
SYSTEMS OF OPPRESSION.
SLAVERY, FASCISM, SEGREGATION,
COLONIALISM AND SO ON.
ACCORDING TO BLUM, CONTEMPORARY,
THE CONTEMPORARY CHARGE OR
RACISM DERIVES PART OF IT'S
MORAL CONTENT FROM IT'S
CONNECTION TO THESE SYSTEMS AND
IT DOES SO IN TWO WAYS.
FIRST, THESE FORMS OF OPPRESSION
WERE BASED ON RACE DISTINCTIONS
AND THE ASSOCIATION OF RACE WITH
SUCH GREAT EVILS IS ENOUGH, HE
THINKS, TO GIVE THE CHARGE OF
RACISM EXTRA CONDEMNATORY POWER.
SECOND, WE CONTINUE TO LIVE WITH
THE LEGACY OF THESE SYSTEMS.
FOR EXAMPLE, RACIAL INEQUALITIES
IN EDUCATION, IN WEALTH, IN
EMPLOYMENT AND OTHER THINGS.
LEST THE MORAL INTENSIFIERS OF
RACE RELATED WRONGS ACCORDING TO
BLUM ARE THESE ASSOCIATIONS WITH
PAST ATROCITIES AND THE NEGATIVE
CONTEMPORARY CONSEQUENCES OF
THESE PAST MORAL CRIMES.
NOW, ONE PROBLEM WITH THIS
APPROACH IS THAT IT CAN NOT
EXPLAIN WHY NEW WORLD SLAVERY IN
MODERN EUROPEAN COLONIAL
EXPANSION ARE APPROPRIATELY
REGARDED AS RACIST.
THESE SYSTEMS OF OPPRESSION CAN
NOT PLAUSIBLY BE THOUGHT TO HAVE
INHERITED THEIR IMMORAL STATUS
FROM SOME PREVIOUS FORM OF
ESPECIALLY APPALLING DOMINATION
AND THERE ARE OF COURSE HAVE
BEEN SYSTEMS OF SLAVERY IN
IMPERIALISM THAT WERE NOT BASED
ON RACE.
SO WHAT IF ANYTHING MAKES RACE
BASED FORMS OF OPPRESSION VILER,
IF YOU LIKE, THAN OTHER FORMS.
SHOULD FIRST RECOGNIZE THAT THE
MERE FACT THAT THE MEMBERS FROM
ONE PUNITIVE RACE DOMINATE AND
EXPLOIT MEMBERS FROM ANOTHER
DOESN'T NECESSARILY MAKE THE
DOMINATION TO EXPLOIT OR
EXPLOITATION MORALLY WORSE THAN
IT WOULD BE WERE IT
INTRA-RACIAL.
IT MIGHT NEVER THE LESS BE
USEFUL FOR THE MODERN SOCIAL
CRITIC TO REGARD THESE
INTER-RACIAL FORMS OF GROUP
OPPRESSION AS RACIST.
WE MADE THE MONSTROUS SYSTEMS OF
OPPRESSION THAT BLUM DISCUSSES
SPECIFICALLY RACIST AND
DISTINGUISHED THEM FROM SIMILAR
BUT NON-RACIST FORMS OF GROUP
DOMINANCE WHICH HAS ALSO
INCLUDED HATRED, PREJUDICE,
EXPLOITATION, SEGREGATION,
BRUTALITY, CONQUEST, EVEN
GENOCIDE, IS THAT THE
PERPETRATORS INVOKED A MODERN
IDEOLOGICAL NOTION OF RACE TO
LEGITIMATE, RATIONALIZE DENYING
PERSONS THE RESPECT DUE THEM.
AND THEREBY ENHANCE THE
LIKELIHOOD THAT THEIR HEGEMONY
WOULD CONTINUE UNABATED.
IS IT MORALLY WORSE TO JUSTIFY
GROUP DOMINANCE IN TERMS OF
RACIAL IDEOLOGY AND DO SO IN
TERMS OF SAY, A RELIGIOUS
DOCTRINE, CIVILIZING MISSION,
THE IDEA OF MODERN PROGRESS,
ETHNIC CHAUVINISM, MANIFEST
DESTINY?
WELL, IT'S NOT CLEAR TO ME THAT
IT IS.
SETTING ASIDE A SORT OF
COGNITIVE OR EPISTEMIC
DEFICIENCIES OF LEGITIMATING
IDEOLOGIES, THE MORALLY
TROUBLING FEATURES OF THESE
BELIEFS AND ASSUMPTIONS, THE
CAUSE FOR MORAL CONCERN, LIES
NOT IN THEIR CONTENT, THAT IS,
IN WHAT THEIR PROPOSITIONAL
CONTENT CONVEYS, BUT IN A SOCIAL
FUNCTION THEY CONTRIBUTE TO THE
REPRODUCTION OF UNJUST SOCIAL
ARRANGEMENTS BY CONCEALING THE
FACT THAT THEY ARE UNJUST.
RACIST BELIEFS HISTORICALLY AND
EVEN TODAY, I THINK, PLAY
EXACTLY THIS ROLE.
I'M NOT SUGGESTING HOWEVER THAT
RACISM IS MERELY AN EPIC
PHENOMENON THAT MASKS THE REAL
INJUSTICE THAT IS ECONOMIC
EXPLOITATION OR CLASS BASED
SUBORDINATION.
THERE ARE FORMS OF INJUSTICE
THAT ARE NOT NECESSARILY ABOUT
MONEY, PROPERTY OR LABOUR.
FOR EXAMPLE, BEING DENIED THE
RIGHT TO VOTE OR BEING DENIED
THE RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS.
AND RACIAL IDEOLOGY HAS PLAYED A
SIGNIFICANT ROLE IN BUTTRESSING
THESE INJUSTICES AS WELL.
ONCE THE IDEOLOGY OF RACISM
CRYSTALLIZE, SO BECOMING AN
INTEGRAL OF SOMETIMES OPAQUE
COMPONENT OF MODERN SOCIAL LIFE,
IT DID AND STILL DOES CREATE
ADDITIONAL RACE RELATED ILLS.
THESE ILLS CAN NOT BE REDUCED TO
HOW RACIAL IDEOLOGY CONCEALS
MORE SYSTEMATIC FORMS OF
DOMINATION NOR ARE ALL THESE
ILLS ECONOMIC IN NATURE THOUGH
MANY DO HAVE ECONOMIC
CONSEQUENCES.
INDIVIDUALS NOW ABSORB THROUGH
PROCESSES OF SOCIALIZATION, THE
ASSUMPTIONS, NORMS AND ATTITUDES
THAT ARE CONSTITUTIVE OF RACIAL
IDEOLOGY.
SUCH SOCIALIZATION INCLUDES
LEARNING THE SIGNIFICANCE OF SO
CALLED RACIAL DIFFERENCES AND
ACQUIRING THEIR ASSOCIATED GROUP
STEREOTYPES.
RACIAL IDEOLOGY WORKS BY
ATTRIBUTING SOCIAL MEANING TO
THE PHENOTYPIC AND GENEALOGICAL
CHARACTERISTIC.
YOU KNOW, SKIN COLOUR,
CONTINENTAL ORIGINS IN
PARTICULAR.
MARKING OFF SOME HUMAN
POPULATIONS AS SUPERIOR AND
OTHERS AS INFERIOR.
THROUGH LONG EXPOSURE TO
NEGATIVE STEREOTYPES, MEMBERS OF
STIGMATIZED RACIAL GROUPS OFTEN
COME TO OR AT LEAST IMPLICITLY
ACCEPT THE VALIDITY OF THE
STEREOTYPES WHICH CAN CREATE IN
THEM A NEGATIVE SELF IMAGE AND A
SENSE OF INADEQUACY.
TO MAINTAIN A POSITIVE SELF
IMAGE AGAINST THE ONSLAUGHT OF
THESE STEREOTYPES, SOME
SUBORDINATE GROUP MEMBERS MAY
DISIDENTIFY WITH MAINSTREAM
NORMS FOR INSTANCE.
A DEFENCE MECHANISM WHICH MAY
ULTIMATELY LEAD TO THEIR FURTHER
STIGMATIZATION.
THOSE WHO EXPLICITLY DISAVOW
THESE STEREOTYPES ARE STILL
BURDENED WITH HAVING TO NAVIGATE
A SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT WHERE
NEGATIVE ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT THEIR
ABILITIES ARE WIDE SPREAD.
THIS BURDEN MAY LEAD THEM TO
AVOID SITUATIONS IN WHICH THEY
FEAR THEY MIGHT BE NEGATIVELY
STEREOTYPED.
AN ANXIETY ABOUT CONFORMING, OH,
I'M SORRY.
NOT CONFORMING.
ANXIETY ABOUT CONFIRMING OR
SEEMING TO CONFIRM A NEGATIVE
STEREOTYPE CAN CAUSE UNDER
PERFORMANCE IN SCHOOL AND WORK
ENVIRONMENTS.
NOW, THESE ARE ALL FEATURES OR
CONSEQUENCES OF ENTRENCHED
RACIAL IDEOLOGIES AND THEY TOO
SHOULD ENGENDER A MORAL CONCERN.
AS I SAID EARLIER, PHILOSOPHERS
GENERALLY AGREE THAT RACE BASED
HATRED OR ANIMOSITY IS A FORM OF
RACISM.
BUT EXACTLY HOW SUCH HATRED FITS
INTO AN OVERALL ACCOUNT OF
RACISM IS STILL HOTLY DEBATED.
I WANT BRIEFLY TO EXPLAIN HOW
RACE HATRED FITS IN SORT OF
IDEOLOGY PARADIGM.
NOW, GIVEN HIS INTERESTS IN
EXAMINING RACISM AS A MORAL
PROBLEM, BLUM'S ANTIPATHY
PARADIGM FOCUSES, RIGHTLY
FOCUSES ON THE MOTIVES OF THE
RACIST.
YET, I DON'T THINK HE QUITE
PROBES DEEPLY ENOUGH INTO THE
NATURE OF RACE HATRED TO REVEAL
WHAT'S MORALLY MOST TROUBLING
ABOUT IT.
EVEN IF ONE HOLDS, AS I FRANKLY
DO NOT, THAT HATRED IS ALWAYS A
SOUL CORRUPTING, UNJUSTIFIED, AN
INEXCUSABLE SENTIMENT, NOT ALL
HATREDS ARE EQUAL FROM A MORAL
POINT OF VIEW.
MUCH DEPENDS ON THE
CIRCUMSTANCES THAT PROMPT THE
SENTIMENT INCLUDING THE
PREVAILING SOCIAL RELATIONS
BETWEEN RACIAL GROUPS.
BY HATRED SOMETIMES PEOPLE
SIMPLY MEAN STRONG DISLIKE OR
EXTREME AVERSION.
AS WHEN THEY SAY, OR AS WHEN I
SAY "I HATE OPRAH.
I HATE EXERCISE.
I HATE COLD WEATHER."
BUT HATRED IN THE SENSE IN WHICH
I MEAN IT INVOLVES MALICE.
AN INTENTION OR DESIRE TO CAUSE
INJURY TO ANOTHER PERSON OR
GROUP.
ONE CAN STRONGLY DISLIKE SOMEONE
WITHOUT OF COURSE WISHING HIM
HARM.
STRONG AVERSION DIFFERS FROM
HATRED THEN IN THAT WHILE BOTH
MAY DISPOSE ONE TO AVOID THE
DISLIKED OR HATED OBJECT, HATRED
DISPOSES ONE TO HARM THE OBJECT
OF ONES ANIMOSITY OR TO BE
GRATIFIED WHEN HE OR SHE IS
HARMED.
NOW, AVERSION
OF THE MEMBERS OF ANOTHER GROUP
THOUGH CLEARLY LAMENTABLE AND
MORE MORALLY PROBLEMATIC IS A
PERFECTLY ORDINARY HUMAN VICE.
QUITE WIDE SPREAD.
THOUGH IT
WOULD BE BETTER OF COURSE TO
RESPOND WITH TOLERANCE AND
PERHAPS A DESIRE TO LEARN, WE
OFTEN DISLIKE WHAT IS UNFAMILIAR
OR WHAT IS PERCEIVED AS
DIFFERENT IN SOME SENSE.
RACE HATRED ON THE OTHER HAND
WOULD BE A PECULIAR EVEN I THINK
UNINTELLIGIBLE SENTIMENT IN THE
ABSENCE OF A RACE BASED STATUS
HIERARCHY.
SETTING ASIDE THE, IF YOU LIKE,
THE SORT OF ABNORMAL PSYCHOLOGY
OF PSYCHOPATHS, PUT THAT TO ONE
SIDE, WE TEND TO HATE THOSE WHO
WE THINK HAVE BADLY WRONGED
US...
OR WHO WE REGARD AS POSING A
SERIOUS THREAT TO SOMETHING OR
SOMEONE WE GREATLY VALUE.
THE MEMBERS OF SUBORDINATE RACES
HAVE SOMETIMES BEEN VIEWED IN
PRECISELY THESE TERMS.
ALRIGHT.
AS HAVING WILFULLY TRANSGRESSED
THE ESTABLISHED NORMS OF THE
SOCIAL HIERARCHY, AS A THREAT TO
THE PROPERTY, SECURITY OR
PRIVILEGES OF THE DOMINATE
GROUP, AS A CHALLENGE TO THE
DOMINATE GROUPS PATRIARCHAL
CONTROL OVER WOMEN, AS HAVING
USURPED POSITIONS OR
OPPORTUNITIES THAT RIGHTLY
BELONG TO MEMBERS OF THE
DOMINATE GROUP.
AND WHEN DEPICTED IN THIS
FASHION, THE MEMBERS OF
SUBORDINATE RACIAL GROUPS CAN
SEEM TO WARRANT THE ANIMOSITY
CHARACTERISTIC OF RACIAL HATRED.
A DESIRE TO INJURE CAN SEEM AN
APT RESPONSE TO THOSE REGARDED
AS DANGEROUS OR THREATENING.
BUT WHEN THE MEMBERS OF LOW
STATUS RACIAL GROUPS POSE NO
THREAT OR AT LEAST ARE PERCEIVED
AS POSING NO THREAT TO THE
STRATIFIED ORDER, WHEN THEY HAVE
ACCOMMODATED THEMSELVES TO THIS
INJUSTICE, THEY OFTEN DO NOT
FACE HATRED FROM THE DOMINATE
GROUP.
THE RACES MAY EVEN LIKE SOME
MEMBERS OF RACIAL GROUPS THAT HE
REGARDS AS INFERIOR PROVIDED
THESE PERSONS AS THEY SAY STAY
IN THEIR PLACE.
THAT IS, ACCEPT THEIR LOW STATUS
IN THE SOCIAL HIERARCHY.
DOMINATE GROUP HATRED TOWARD
SUBORDINATE RACIAL GROUPS, THIS
SORT OF RACIALLY INFLICTED ILL
WILL CAN NOT EVEN HAVE A
SEMBLANCE OF JUSTIFICATION WHERE
THE STRATIFIED ORDER ITSELF
VIEWED AS ILLEGITIMATE IN SOME
WAY, IN SOME SUBSTANTIAL WAY.
IF THE REGIME WERE ACKNOWLEDGED
TO BE UNJUST, THEN WHEN MEMBERS
OF SUBORDINATE RACIAL GROUPS
CHALLENGE THE SYSTEM, SAY BY
TRANSGRESSION OR REBELLING
AGAINST ITS RULES, THEIR
RESISTANCE WOULD HAVE TO BE
REGARDED AS JUSTIFIED OR AT
LEAST AS EXCUSABLE.
IT IS HERE THAT WE CAN SEE THE
RELEVANCE OF IDEOLOGY, I THINK.
RACIAL IDEOLOGY, WITH ITS CLAIMS
ABOUT WHAT DIFFERENT RACES ARE
LIKE AND HOW THEY OUGHT TO
RELATE TO EACH OTHER, IS OFTEN
INVOKED IF ONLY IMPLICITLY, TO
ENSURE THAT THIS SOCIAL ORDER
APPEARS LEGITIMATE.
NOW, IN THE CONTEMPORARY
CONTEXT, THIS MIGHT MEAN
PROVIDING IDEOLOGICAL
EXPLANATIONS FOR CONTINUING
RACIAL INEQUALITY OR GHETTO
POVERTY.
EXPLANATIONS THAT PLACE THE
BLAME ON DISADVANTAGED RACIAL
GROUPS RATHER THAN THE LEGACY OF
RACIAL DOMINATION AND CONTINUING
RACIAL DISCRIMINATION.
MEMBERS OF LOW STATUS RACIAL
GROUPS SOMETIMES HATE THE
MEMBERS OF THE DOMINATE RACE.
I DON'T OBJECT TO REGARDING SUCH
SUBORDINATE GROUP RACIAL
ANTIPATHY AS RACIST.
FOR IT TOO HAS A STRONG
IDEOLOGICAL CHARACTER AT LEAST
GIVEN ITS DEPENDENCE ON THE
NOTION OF RACE.
BUT ON MORAL ASSESSMENT OF THIS
TYPE OF RACISM, IF IT IS TO BE
MORE THAN IF YOU FEEL LIKE, SELF
RIGHTEOUS MORALIZING, MUST ASK
WHAT MOTIVATES SUCH HATRED.
THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN OR
NATIVE-AMERICAN WHO HATES
WHITES...
GENERALLY HATES THEM BECAUSE
PERSONS WITH THE WHITE SOCIAL
IDENTITY HAVE TREATED THEIR
PEOPLE UNJUSTLY, OFTEN BRUTALLY.
HERE IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE
WHAT WHITENESS OR ANOTHER IDIOM,
THE WHITE POWER STRUCTURE
REPRESENTS AT LEAST
SYMBOLICALLY.
THOUGH OPPRESSORS OF BLACKS AND
INDIANS DIDN'T JUST HAPPEN TO BE
WHITE, HISTORICALLY THE DOMINATE
GROUP HAS REGARDED ITS WHITENESS
AS THE BASIS OF IT'S RIGHT TO
RULE AND THE PRESUMPTION OF
WHITE COMPETENCE AND OF
NON-WHITE INCOMPETENCE STILL HAS
A TENACIOUS HOLD OVER THE
WESTERN IMAGINATION.
SUBORDINATE GROUP HATRED OFTEN
SPRINGS FROM, I THINK, A SORT OF
THIRST FOR REVENGE.
FROM DEEP FEELINGS OF RESENTMENT
TOWARD THE RACIAL HIERARCHY AND
TOWARD ONES LOW POSITION WITHIN
IT.
AGAIN, EVEN IF WE REGARD ALL
HATRED AS MORALLY PROBLEMATIC,
WE MUST RECOGNIZE A DEFERRING
MORAL STATUS OF ON THE ONE HAND,
HATRED OF ONES POWERLESSNESS
SORT OF NIETZSCHE'S...
[Speaking foreign language]
AND ON THE OTHER, HATRED OF
THREATS TO ONES ILLEGITIMATE
POWER AND PRIVILEGE.
OUR ABILITY TO MAKE THIS CRUCIAL
DISTINCTION DEPENDS, I THINK, ON
UNDERSTANDING RACIAL ANTIPATHY
WITHIN THE BROADER CONTEXT OF
RACIAL, RACE BASED HEGEMONY.
NOW, BLUM IS CERTAINLY CONCERNED
WITH GROUP OPPRESSION, I'M NOT
SUGGESTING THAT HE IGNORES IT.
WHAT I'M QUESTIONING...
TRYING TO COME TO TERMS WITH IS
THE WISDOM OF THINKING OF RACISM
AS ESSENTIALLY A MORAL PROBLEM.
OR PERSONAL RACISM, THE RACIST
ATTITUDES AND ACTIONS OF
INDIVIDUALS IS A CENTRALLY
ORGANIZING IDEA AND ISSUES OF
INDIVIDUAL BLAME WORTHINESS ARE
THE MAIN FOCUS.
IN THIS WAY, I AGREE WITH
CARMICHAEL AND HAMILTON THAT
RACISM SHOULD FIRST AND FOREMOST
BE UNDERSTOOD AS A PROBLEM OF
SOCIAL JUSTICE WHERE THE
EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION OF
RESOURCES, THE EQUALIZING OF
EDUCATIONAL AND EMPLOYMENT
OPPORTUNITIES AND THE EQUAL
PROTECTION OF THE LAW ARE THE
CENTRAL FOCUS.
I THINK HISTORICALLY OPPRESSED
RACIAL MINORITIES HAVE STRONG
FEELINGS ABOUT RACISM BECAUSE
IT'S PERSISTENCE AND LEGACY, IN
LEGACY NEGATIVELY EFFECTS THEIR
LIFE CHANCES, REDUCES THE WORTH
OF THEIR BASIC RIGHTS AND
THREATENS THEIR SELF RESPECT.
AND SINCE I THINK THESE URGENT
CONCERNS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN
ARRIVING AT A DEFINITION OF
RACISM THAT EVERYONE CAN AGREE
TO, WHICH AS I ARGUED ABOVE IS
AN UNREALISTIC ASPIRATION IN ANY
CASE, I FAVOUR AN ACCOUNT OF
RACISM THAT PUTS THESE CONCERNS
CENTER STAGE.
SO TO RETURN TO WHERE WE BEGAN,
THE UNDERLYING DISAGREEMENT I
HAVE WITH BLUM IS OVER WHETHER
DEFINING RACISM PRIMARILY IN
TERMS OF PERSONAL RACISM
ACTUALLY OBSCURES ONE, THE
CONTINUING POLITICAL
SIGNIFICANCE OF RACE RELATED
PROBLEMS AND TWO, THE
CONTRIBUTION THAT POLITICAL
PHILOSOPHY CAN MAKE TO HELPING
US BETTER UNDERSTAND THESE
PROBLEMS AND SORT OF BRIEFLY,
AND I'M REALLY BRIEFLY,
ILLUSTRATE WHAT'S AT STAKE IN
THIS DISAGREEMENT, LET'S LOOK
BRIEFLY AT TWO CASES WHERE HE
EXPLICITLY TAKES UP
INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS.
HE DISTINGUISHES TWO FORMS.
IN THE FIRST, POLICIES OF THE
RELEVANT INSTITUTION ARE
INTENTIONALLY RACIST.
THEY EXPLICITLY EXPRESS RACIAL
ANTIPATHY OR INFERIORIZATION.
THOSE TWO MODELS.
IN THE SECOND FORM OF
INSTITUTIONAL RACISM, THE
OFFICIAL POLICIES ARE NOT RACIST
IN THEIR CONTENT SAY, UH, BUT
SOME OFFICIALS PRACTICE RACISM
WITHIN THE INSTITUTION.
THUS CREATING A KIND OF
ATMOSPHERE THAT ENCOURAGES
RACIAL ANTIPATHY OR
INFERIORIZATION.
IN BOTH CASES, INSTITUTIONAL
RACISM IS ANALYZED IN TERMS OF
PERSONAL RACISM.
BUT BECAUSE RACIST IDEOLOGY CAN
SHAPE OUR PERCEPTIONS OF GROUP
DIFFERENCES WITHOUT OUR BEING
AWARE OF THE IDEOLOGY'S EFFECT
ON US, IT IS POSSIBLE TO BE
BIASED AGAINST SOME RACIAL
GROUPS WITHOUT BEING CONSCIOUS
OF THIS AND JUST AS IMPORTANT,
WITHOUT HARBOURING ANY ANIMOSITY
OR EXPLICIT PREJUDICE TOWARD
MEMBERS OF A DIFFERENT RACE.
NOW SOME SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGISTS
CALL THIS IMPLICIT BIAS OR
IMPLICIT COGNITIVE BIAS.
SO, ONE QUESTION IS WHETHER
PERVASIVE RACIAL BIAS IN THE
APPLICATION OR ENFORCEMENT OF
RACE NEUTRAL POLICIES WOULD
CONSTITUTE INSTITUTIONAL RACISM.
ALRIGHT.
NOW, IF OUR FOCUS IS THE
FUNDAMENTAL FAIRNESS IN THE
OPERATION OF MAJOR SOCIAL
INSTITUTIONS, THEN I THINK OUR
ANSWER WILL BE YES.
IF OUR PARADIGM IS PERSONAL
RACES, OF EITHER THE
INFERIORIZATION OR ANTIPATHY
VARIETY, I THINK THE ANSWER IS
PROBABLY NO.
LET'S LOOK NEXT AT BLUM'S
ACCOUNT OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
AND HERE HE LOOSELY
DISTINGUISHES BETWEEN TWO FORMS
OF DISCRIMINATION.
IN THE FIRST, DISCRIMINATION IS
BASED ON AN ARBITRARY OR
IRRELEVANT DISTINCTION BETWEEN
PERSONS, SAY A PREFERENCE FOR
TEA DRINKERS OVER COFFEE
DRINKERS AND HIRING OF TEACHERS,
SAY.
IN THE SECOND, DISCRIMINATION
EXPRESSES OR EXEMPLIFIES A
WIDELY HAILED PREJUDICE.
BLUM MAINTAINS THAT THE LATTER
FORM OF DISCRIMINATION IS
MORALLY WORSE.
BECAUSE IT REFLECTS THE FACT
THAT VICTIM IS A MEMBER OF A
STIGMATIZED GROUP AND THAT IT
CONTRIBUTES TO THE STIGMA.
HE ALLOWS THAT SUCH
DISCRIMINATION WHEN MOTIVATED BY
PREJUDICE RISES TO THE LEVEL OF
RACISM AS SUCH.
OTHERWISE, HE WOULD CLASSIFY IT
AS A FORM OF UNFAIRNESS.
BUT MUST THIS TYPE OF
DISCRIMINATION INVOLVE ANTIPATHY
OR INFERIORIZATION BE PROPERLY
CLASSIFIED AS RACIST?
AND IF WE VIEW RACISM AS I WOULD
RECOMMEND AS A SOCIALLY DIFFUSED
SET OF IMPLICIT AND NEGATIVE
ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT SO CALLED
RACES THAT IS AS AN IDEOLOGY
THEN WE COULD VIEW SUCH UNFAIR
TREATMENT AS RACIST EVEN IF THE
DISCRIMINATION IS NOT, EVEN IF
THE DISCRIMINATOR IS NOT HIMSELF
OR HERSELF A RACIST AND IS NOT
PERSONALLY INVESTED IN OR EVEN
AWARE OF SUCH BIAS.
BLUM WANTS TO SEPARATE RACISM
FROM RACE RELATED SOCIAL
INJUSTICE.
REGARDING THESE AS TWO DISTINCT
TYPES OF MORAL WRONG.
I MADE A SUGGESTION THAT THE
SOCIAL CRITIC OF RACISM SHOULD
VIEW THESE VARIOUS RACE RELATED
WRONGS AS COMPONENTS OF A IF YOU
LIKE A SORT OF UNIFIED
PHENOMENON BEST UNDERSTOOD
THROUGH THE IDEOLOGY PARADIGM.
NOW, ERRS TO STANCE NOT SIMPLY
BECAUSE OF ITS ETYMOLOGICAL AND
ETYMOLOGICAL AND EXPLANATORY
ADVANTAGES WHERE I THINK IT HAS
THOSE BUT BECAUSE OF IT'S
NORMATIVE ADVANTAGES.
NOT ONLY DOES THE IDEOLOGY
PARADIGM OF RACISM ENABLE US TO
SEE THE CONNECTIONS BETWEEN ALL
THESE RACE RELATED PROBLEMS
WITHOUT COLLAPSING ANY PERTINENT
MORAL DISTINGUISHES SO I CLAIM,
BUT BY EMPHASISING THE
RELATIONSHIP TO GROUP BASED
OPPRESSION, IN THIS CASE TO
RACIAL HIERARCHY, IT HELPS US TO
BETTER UNDERSTAND WHAT'S MORALLY
TROUBLING ABOUT INFERIORIZING
BELIEFS AND RACIAL ANTIPATHY
BOTH.
SO, I'LL STOP THERE.
THANKS.

[Applause]

The clip ends, and Andrew reappears in the studio with a caption that reads "Andrew Moodie."

He says AS YOU CAN
TELL, LAWRENCE BLUM'S WORK, "I
AM NOT A RACIST, BUT..."
FIGURES PROMINENTLY IN THIS
LECTURE.
FOR SHELBY, BLUM'S ASSERTION THAT RACISM IS
A PERSONAL MORAL TRANSGRESSION
IS INSUFFICIENT.
SHELBY BELIEVES THAT RACISM IS A
SET OF BELIEFS WHO'S CURRENCY
SERVES A HEGEMONIC FUNCTION.
IDEOLOGIES ARE INHERENTLY
OPPRESSIVE.
THEY LEGITIMATE GROUP DOMINANCE
THROUGH MISREPRESENTATIONS.
IT'S NOT ENOUGH TO SIMPLY ASK IS
MICHAEL RICHARDS A RACIST?
ONE MUST ASK ARE THERE
CONGRUITIES BETWEEN WHAT
RICHARDS SAID AND THE SYSTEMS
AND IDEOLOGIES THAT CREATE
AMERICAN CULTURE?
YOU CAN PUNISH THE INDIVIDUAL
BUT DOES THAT CHANGE THE SOCIETY?
IF YOU WANNA
BE KEPT ABREAST OF THE
DEVELOPMENTS ON
BIG IDEAS,
SEND US AN E-MAIL TO
bigideas@tvo.org AND WE WILL
SEND YOU A WEEKLY UPDATE.
I'M ANDREW MOODIE AND WE'LL SEE YOU NEXT TIME.

[Theme music plays]

The end credits roll.

bigideas@tvo.org

416-484-2746

Big Ideas. Producer, Wodek Szemberg.

Producers, Lara Hindle, Mike Miner, Gregg Thurlbeck.

Logos: Unifor, Canadian Media Guild.

A production of TVOntario. Copyright 2007, The Ontario Educational Communications Authority.

Watch: Tommie Shelby