Wed, 23 Feb 2005

The Essence of Racism

The essence of racism is intellectual error. It is true that some blacks are lazy; that some Italians are mobsters; and that some Jews are miserly. It is also true that some whites are lazy miserly mobsters; and that some blacks work their butts off; that some Italians are law-abiding citizens; and that some Jews are generous to a T. The essence of racism is to make the mistake of thinking that finding any one person with two characteristics means that everybody with one of those characteristics has both of them.

For example, if somebody expressed a racist idea, and was involved in an organization, it would be an intellectual error to believe that everyone involved in the organization supported racism.

No, I don't expect an apology. I don't even expect anybody to acknowledge that they made a mistake. I comfort myself with a personal understanding of the magnitude and consequences of their mistake.

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