Monday, February 4, 2019

RacISM-1: Hard-Core Racism (and We Still Need the Term)

On my mind, as often: words. In this case "racism," recently discussed on my time-line on Facebook in a meme I can no longer locate. Anyway, re: RACISM:
I informally edit for a big-time scholar who had to use the same word in different senses and finally resorted to assigning a number to each different meaning. Elegant that was not, but it recognized a problem and, down and dirty, dealt with it.
There's clearly a need — several needs — to talk about structural racism and racism woven into the history, culture, folkways, political unconscious and figurative psyche and "DNA" of the United States and other countries and cultures involved in the slave trade, Early-Modern and Modern colonialism, and other exploitation. 
But we also need to talk about Racism-1: a necessarily conscious ideology (an "-ism") that races exist, that they are in competition for limited resources and (necessarily) in conflict; that some races are better than others, and that (of course) one's own race is best and had damn well better destroy or keep down the others, rightfully functioning as Master Race in order for that Master Race to survive and for the fully-human species to prosper.
Bigotry and prejudice are more insidious than racism, and deserve their own definitions and condemnations.
Arguably, we can get pogroms and lynchings with bigotry and prejudice but for full-scale modern slavery or genocide one needs racism. BIGOTRY AND PREJUDICE CAN STILL PRODUCE POGROMS AND LYNCHINGS, and those are bad enough. And maybe the phrase "institutionalized racism" will serve for subtler horrors.

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