Racism? No Thanks!

A while back I was employed by a youth newsletter publisher that was putting out an issue about racism. One common theme I noticed throughout the whole thing was that every submission and article featured a theme geared towards labeling every white person as racist. According to these articles, everyone was at least a little racist and people who said they weren't racist just didn't see how they were racist. I was rather taken aback by this, and was concerned that it would send the wrong message -- perhaps hopelessness? -- to the readers. However, it turned out that my employer shared the same sentiment as the articles and thus said there were no issues. As an aside, everyone who worked in the office was white (or "privileged" as was the favored label in the periodical) and many of the submissions were by people who were victims of racism. I feel that someone claiming everyone else is racist because of a racist experience involving one or many other people is like saying everyone is violent because you are the victim of violence. I think it's flawed logic. My understanding is that racism is belief that one race of people is superior or inferior to another race of people. Prejudice, on the other hand, is the act of presuming someone or something to have similar characteristics to another person or thing that is similar in an unrelated way (ie, assuming a snake will bite you because you saw a different snake bite someone before). Prejudice is a natural part of the human psyche, I believe. Without it, we'd all be getting bitten by snakes after we neglected to consider that another snake had bitten us before. However, I feel that people have the intellectual maturity to temper their prejudices with reason: For example, seeing two men fight each-other does not necessarily mean that two men in the same place at the same time will always result in a brawl. I think people tend to be more prejudice about race than they ought to be, but I don't think it's an exclusive ailment of the "privileged." At the same time, making presumptions does not necessarily mean someone feels one race is superior to another. In the end, I don't feel that logically proper prejudices are a sign of racism -- provided, of course, that any prejudices are based in some semblance of useful, consistently repeatable, and universal experience -- but the presumption that "privileged" individuals are inherently racist, while victims are not, is indeed a sign of racism itself.
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1 Response Jul 15, 2007

Why were white people called privleged? Watch the movie crash. It hits the nail on the head. Stereotypes are dangerous things. Having said that,they are based on truths about everyone. Every culture has stereotypes associated with them. They usually are not true in todays world. At some point,there was some truth to them. I personally don't care what backgrounds people are. It makes them more interesting. What a boring world it would be if we were all the same!