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  1. #1
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    The Dictionary Versus The Social Justice Definition Of Racism

    It feels good to be back after close to a decade off!

    Anyway, in this post, I am going to argue that the dictionary definition of racism (DD) is better than what I will term the "social justice definition" (SJD) of racism.

    The dictionary definition of racism is as follows:

    a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others.


    The social justice definition of racism, as I will term it, is a bit different. It says that "racism" is "prejudice plus power." Going by this definition, "two elements are required in order for racism to exist: racial prejudice, and social power to codify and enforce this prejudice into an entire society."

    I believe that the DD is better because it is far easier to tell who is racist and who is not. To illustrate my point, let's use this hypothetical example: a Chinese-American on a Korean flight that's flying over the Pacific calls a white, Jewish man a slur against Jews. He then proceeds to praise Hitler, stating that he wished the Fuhrer would have "killed 6 million more." Is the Chinese American racist? According to the DD, it's pretty easy to conclude he is. Going by the SJD, however, it's not so clear. Would a Chinese-American have the requisite power on a Korean flight? Maybe, considering he's Asian. Would a Jew have more power than him? Again, maybe, considering he is white, but he's also a member of a historically persecuted minority, and he's on an Asian flight.

    The point is, using the SJD, we have to ask a lot more questions in order to figure out who is racist and who isn't.

    Or how about this real-life story? Recently, Instagram comedian Jessica Moore -- aka Jess Hilarious -- got four men whom she mistakenly labelled "Muslim" (they were actually Sikhs) kicked off of a flight. According to Newsweek:

    Moore posted a since-deleted tweet which allegedly led to four Sikh men being removed from the flight before it departed the airport. The comedian then published an Instagram story to say her comments were justified and "[her] news is real."

    Were Moore's actions racist? Again, going by the DD, it seems to be clear they were. But going by the SJD, we're not so sure. Where do African Americans sit on the power hierarchy in relation to Sikhs?

    The DD also has the advantage of being applied equally across the board. It allows all people to be racist and all people to be victims of racism. The SJD, on the other hand, only allows those with power to be racist. In a nation with many angry whites complaining that they are being persecuted, this just make them feel more persecuted and adds fuel to their anger and sense of alienation.

    The DD has two advantages, and from what I can see, the SJD has no advantages. The DD should therefore be used by all people over the SJD.

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  3. #2
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    Re: The Dictionary Versus The Social Justice Definition Of Racism

    It's a good argument. I think the real crux of the thing, however, is one of utility. Words are tools, they help us identify things so we can achieve some end or another. To express ourselves and achieve our goals. They key is we need the words to work well at communication between us as well.

    I think for most minority people, the real heart of the word Racism is to talk about the causes by which they are made to suffer in society in some way. They point to external factors and they use the word racism to describe the cause of this experience. Same goes for classism, sexism, etc...

    Once upon a time, the powers that be were openly racist in the sense the dictionary definition provides for. And there are still people like that around. But most of them lost power, and in a dramatic fashion. But, there is still suffering due to being a different race than the majority population, and where the suffering persists, words need to exist to describe it, so the same word is continuing to be sued, while the understanding of its causes have changed.

    If you are white in America you tend to care about the cause, what can we do to avoid being immoral people. If you are a minority, then it is the effect that matters most, you want to stop being treated poorly compared to your white cohorts.

    I think that is a more "true" breakdown that the one you present for the SJW definition. It is a split between the perception of the victim of discrimination and those potentially participating in the discrimination.

    --- I can, however, offer a defense of the SJW position in your arguments by answering your questions. ----

    "Were Moore's actions racist?" Yes, she used the apparatus of institutional power to make a victim of others based on her own prejudices. If you use power to make others suffer based on their heritage, you are engaging in racism. (There are exceptions if those made to suffer were, in turn, making others suffer and you are attempting to balance the scales through punishment or redistribution.)

    "Is the Chinese American racist? " This is a little more difficult, but yes. The American is exercising his personal power to disparage someone who poses no direct threat to him so far as we know. Now, if it could be shown that Jews had somehow oppressed him due to his Chinese Heritage then he might be justified in railing against that. But... by invoking Hitler, he clearly identifies with white authoritarianism and institutionalized racial oppression and the more formal racist philosophy underpinning the Third Reich.
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    Re: The Dictionary Versus The Social Justice Definition Of Racism

    Quote Originally Posted by czahar View Post
    The SJD, on the other hand, only allows those with power to be racist.
    Does this refer to individuals or racial groups?
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    Re: The Dictionary Versus The Social Justice Definition Of Racism

    Thank you for that thoughtful response, Sigfried. I have a couple of issues with it, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    It's a good argument. I think the real crux of the thing, however, is one of utility. Words are tools, they help us identify things so we can achieve some end or another. To express ourselves and achieve our goals. They key is we need the words to work well at communication between us as well.
    You seem to be making two overlapping claims here:

    1) Words help us identify things
    2) Words help us identify things so we can achieve a goal

    The first one is uncontroversial, so I don't think we need to argue about it. I'm not so sure about the second one, though. Do words really help us achieve goals? If so, what goal does "fork" help us achieve other than identifying the pronged utensil we use to eat? What about "duck" (the bird) or "street"? What goals do they help us achieve?

    As of now, I don't think I can accept your claim about the goal-based nature of words.

    Once upon a time, the powers that be were openly racist in the sense the dictionary definition provides for. And there are still people like that around. But most of them lost power, and in a dramatic fashion. But, there is still suffering due to being a different race than the majority population, and where the suffering persists, words need to exist to describe it, so the same word is continuing to be sued, while the understanding of its causes have changed.
    The problem I see with this is that neither definition of racism describes suffering; it describes the cause of a type of suffering.

    If you are white in America you tend to care about the cause, what can we do to avoid being immoral people. If you are a minority, then it is the effect that matters most, you want to stop being treated poorly compared to your white cohorts.
    I don't know about this. Where are you getting this information?

    "Were Moore's actions racist?" Yes, she used the apparatus of institutional power to make a victim of others based on her own prejudices. If you use power to make others suffer based on their heritage, you are engaging in racism. (There are exceptions if those made to suffer were, in turn, making others suffer and you are attempting to balance the scales through punishment or redistribution.)
    The problem here is that, for an act to be racist, the individual committing the act must have social power. After all, the definition cited states, "two elements are required in order for racism to exist: racial prejudice, and social power to codify and enforce this prejudice into an entire society." So whether or not she's using "the apparatus of institutional power" seems irrelevant. What matters is her own social power; and most social justice advocates don't believe African Americans have much social power, at least in terms of race.

    "Is the Chinese American racist? " This is a little more difficult, but yes. The American is exercising his personal power to disparage someone who poses no direct threat to him so far as we know. Now, if it could be shown that Jews had somehow oppressed him due to his Chinese Heritage then he might be justified in railing against that. But... by invoking Hitler, he clearly identifies with white authoritarianism and institutionalized racial oppression and the more formal racist philosophy underpinning the Third Reich.
    Again, the problem is the necessary element here is social power, not personal power. Does he have the social power necessary for his actions to be racist? It's not clear that he does.

    Furthermore, while I do think it is possible for someone adhering to the SJD to explain the two scenarios, it still seems to be far easier to use the DD. With the DD, you only have to show prejudice against people based on their race/ethnicity. With the SJD, you have to show both prejudice and systemic power, which is not an easy task. I also don't see any real advantages to the SJD.

    Quote Originally Posted by CowboyX View Post
    Does this refer to individuals or racial groups?
    From what I understand, in social justice circles, the two overlap. An individual's power in society is based heavily, if not entirely, on the groups they belong to.

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    Re: The Dictionary Versus The Social Justice Definition Of Racism

    Quote Originally Posted by czahar View Post
    It feels good to be back after close to a decade off!
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    I recently jumped back in also.
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    Re: The Dictionary Versus The Social Justice Definition Of Racism

    Quote Originally Posted by czahar View Post
    You seem to be making two overlapping claims here:

    1) Words help us identify things
    2) Words help us identify things so we can achieve a goal
    Correct. I see all human action as rooted first in motivation, and secondly in means. So we have a desire, then we sort out how to achieve it. Our root goals are nearly always emotionally driven. We want food, we want sex, we want to feel important, we want to feel safe etc....

    After that, we go about the mental task of achieving those things.

    Words are tools, we use them to get what we want. And the chief way they work is to communicate what we think and feel to someone else. We make words when we want to communicate. So to understand the purpose of a word we need to know the idea it sends.

    The people most in need to describe racism are the people who suffer from racism. The Nazis did not call themselves racists. it came into popular use largely to describe them from the outside. It was a rallying cry against this sort of ideology but since that period led quickly into the era of civil rights, everyone looking to keep a hierarchy of racial power was deemed part of the racist ideology. And today, since the nature of the threat has changed somewhat, so has the usage.

    The first one is uncontroversial, so I don't think we need to argue about it. I'm not so sure about the second one, though. Do words really help us achieve goals? If so, what goal does "fork" help us achieve other than identifying the pronged utensil we use to eat? What about "duck" (the bird) or "street"? What goals do they help us achieve?
    Forks and ducks help us eat, streets help us get from one place to another. Just like fork describes something we need to eat, racism describes a threat we want to avoid.

    As of now, I don't think I can accept your claim about the goal-based nature of words.
    Do you think we create words for no reason at all? I say that everything we do has some intent behind it.

    The problem I see with this is that neither definition of racism describes suffering; it describes the cause of a type of suffering.
    It Identifies the nature of the suffering and its implicit cause. It was coined to define an ideology because that ideology led to suffering. If racism had no victims, then who cares? We don't have an ism for people who like chocolate because there is no real consequence to it, so it's not philosophical or political. But if you are a black man, what matters is you are treated poorly due to your skin color, not what exact philosophical underpinning is behind the person making you miserable. If you are not a minority, the motivation is different.

    I don't know about this. Where are you getting this information?
    From reading literature by and for academics and other thoughtful folks discussing issues of social justice and race relations in America.

    The problem here is that, for an act to be racist, the individual committing the act must have social power. After all, the definition cited states, "two elements are required in order for racism to exist: racial prejudice, and social power to codify and enforce this prejudice into an entire society." So whether or not she's using "the apparatus of institutional power" seems irrelevant. What matters is her own social power; and most social justice advocates don't believe African Americans have much social power, at least in terms of race.
    You are incorrect. It is not personal social power, it is institutional power. The idea is that the police, laws, society, and lots more are all tools used for the oppression of minority groups. It is quite possible for other minorities to use these racist institutions for the purpose of making others suffer, even members of their own race. If you want to do some reading on the subject, google: "modern uncle tom" and you will get plenty of examples.

    Furthermore, while I do think it is possible for someone adhering to the SJD to explain the two scenarios, it still seems to be far easier to use the DD. With the DD, you only have to show prejudice against people based on their race/ethnicity. With the SJD, you have to show both prejudice and systemic power, which is not an easy task. I also don't see any real advantages to the SJD.
    But the SJW definition is not exclusive. They have no problem calling a person claiming racial genetic superiority a racist. They key is that they also identify racism as a social system that results in racial discrimination even if it is not driven by overt bigotry. It's not an either or but a both. And they coined the term "Institutional racism" to clarify the distinction of this newer understanding of the idea. Another related term is "structural racism."
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    Re: The Dictionary Versus The Social Justice Definition Of Racism

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    You are incorrect. It is not personal social power, it is institutional power.
    Remember that the topic of this debate is that the dictionary definition of racism is better than the social justice definition, the one I cited. To wit:

    Quote Originally Posted by czahar View Post
    I am going to argue that the dictionary definition of racism (DD) is better than what I will term the "social justice definition" (SJD) of racism.
    You seem to be arguing that the social justice definition I cited is wrong. After all, you're saying it's not "social power" (which is what the social justice definition I cited says); it's institutional power. That's a bit off topic. However, it's not so far off topic that we can't continue with this argument. Before we continue, though, could you give me a definition of "racism" that you feel is better than the both the dictionary definition and the social justice definition (the social justice definition I provided, that is).

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    Re: The Dictionary Versus The Social Justice Definition Of Racism

    Quote Originally Posted by czahar View Post
    You seem to be arguing that the social justice definition I cited is wrong.
    You are using your paraphrase of the idea as the textual and literal definition. This is the link you gave: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prejudice_plus_power

    The core summary is Prejudice + Power. The short article goes on to talk about "Institutional power" and "Social Power". The difference in meaning is largely semantic since the operation of society is largely through one kind of institution or another. Personal power is not really so much an issue since everyone has around the same amount of power in isolation. However, individuals backed by institutions or groups of like-minded folks acting in concert do have a considerable power advantage.

    So while a minority individual may not have a lot of personal power, they can access the power of racist institutions for their own benefit by aiming them at some rival or other groups they dislike. They then become a part of that institutional racist system.
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    Re: The Dictionary Versus The Social Justice Definition Of Racism

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    The core summary is Prejudice + Power. The short article goes on to talk about "Institutional power" and "Social Power".
    Which short article? I'm not sure what you're talking about.

    The difference in meaning is largely semantic since the operation of society is largely through one kind of institution or another. Personal power is not really so much an issue since everyone has around the same amount of power in isolation. However, individuals backed by institutions or groups of like-minded folks acting in concert do have a considerable power advantage.

    So while a minority individual may not have a lot of personal power, they can access the power of racist institutions for their own benefit by aiming them at some rival or other groups they dislike. They then become a part of that institutional racist system.
    I would wager that people appealing to the SJD would argue that the institutions backing the individual would have to have some kind of power. For example, backing oneself with African institutions while in a primarily white society probably wouldn't give one much power. If you can agree it wouldn't, then I'd have to ask: what type of power would a philosophy that appeals to Germanic superiority have on a Korean flight? And if it didn't, what power is the Chinese-American appealing to?

    Furthermore, I think you're missing the point of those two examples. It wasn't to show that someone using the SJD couldn't answer the question; simply that the DD was a lot easier to apply. As I stated in the OP:

    Quote Originally Posted by czahar in OP View Post
    The point is, using the SJD, we have to ask a lot more questions in order to figure out who is racist and who isn't.
    So, yes, someone using the SJD could figure out if someone is racist or not, but it takes more effort. That puts it at a disadvantage the DD.

    Forks and ducks help us eat, streets help us get from one place to another. Just like fork describes something we need to eat, racism describes a threat we want to avoid.
    You seem to be equivocating between two terms. In the first example you are referring to fork, the object. In the second, you're referring to the word "fork." There is no question that forks help us eat. The word, "fork", however, doesn't serve any role outside of identifying the thing we call a "fork." Most dogs can eat well out of a bowl despite not having a word for "bowl."

    Do you think we create words for no reason at all? I say that everything we do has some intent behind it.
    No, as I said in my first response to you, I agree that we create them for identifying things. I just disagree that words are necessarily goal based.

    But if you are a black man, what matters is you are treated poorly due to your skin color, not what exact philosophical underpinning is behind the person making you miserable.
    I would imagine that would matter, considering understanding said underpinning would help one understand racism's causes and get rid of it.

    But speaking of causes and effects, after taking another look at your original response, you seem to be contradicting yourself. You say this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried in first response View Post
    I think for most minority people, the real heart of the word Racism is to talk about the causes by which they are made to suffer in society in some way.
    But then you say this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried in first response View Post
    If you are a minority, then it is the effect that matters most, you want to stop being treated poorly compared to your white cohorts.
    In the first sentence, you're saying it's the cause that matters most. In the second, you're saying it's the effect. It's hard to understand your argument when you appear to be making two opposing statements. If it's the effect, then I can't see what advantages the SJD would have over the DD. If it's the cause, then the SJD could have a questionable advantage over the DD, depending on how you look at it. I will need you to clarify before we continue.

    It is quite possible for other minorities to use these racist institutions for the purpose of making others suffer, even members of their own race. If you want to do some reading on the subject, google: "modern uncle tom" and you will get plenty of examples.
    Earlier today (3/23/2019), I came upon this quote from a "common language document" issued at Amherst College in Massachusetts:

    "Oppression is predicated upon access to institutional power. Marginalized communities do not have access to institutional power.”

    I am aware that the quote comes from The Daily Wire, which is a conservative news source. However, it is a direct quote taken from the document. The quote counters your claim that "it is possible for other minorities to use racist institutions" because, according to the document, minorities -- i.e., marginalized people -- don't have access to institutional power.
    Last edited by czahar; March 23rd, 2019 at 04:32 PM.

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    Re: The Dictionary Versus The Social Justice Definition Of Racism

    Quote Originally Posted by czahar View Post
    Which short article? I'm not sure what you're talking about.
    The Wikipedia article you linked as the source of your definition and which I also linked when I just talked about it. I presume you've read it.

    I would wager that people appealing to the SJD would argue that the institutions backing the individual would have to have some kind of power. For example, backing oneself with African institutions while in a primarily white society probably wouldn't give one much power. If you can agree it wouldn't, then I'd have to ask: what type of power would a philosophy that appeals to Germanic superiority have on a Korean flight? And if it didn't, what power is the Chinese-American appealing to?
    He is appealing to the authority of Nazi Germany by saying Hitler was right. He is identifying with a white nationalist authoritarian organization and advocating for its policies.

    Furthermore, I think you're missing the point of those two examples. It wasn't to show that someone using the SJD couldn't answer the question; simply that the DD was a lot easier to apply.
    I didn't have any difficulty applying their definition to those situations. I think the real problem you have is they are easier to apply, not harder. That they can cover a much wider range of situations than the more narrow ideology of genetic superiority. The latter is easier to rule out, rather than easier to apply.

    You seem to be equivocating between two terms. In the first example you are referring to fork, the object. In the second, you're referring to the word "fork." There is no question that forks help us eat. The word, "fork", however, doesn't serve any role outside of identifying the thing we call a "fork." Most dogs can eat well out of a bowl despite not having a word for "bowl."
    I'm going to use your own words to reply with changes bolded.

    You seem to be equivocating between two terms. In the first example you are referring to racism, the effect it has on people. In the second, you're referring to the word "racism." There is no question that racism hurts people. The word, "raccism", however, doesn't serve any role outside of identifying the effect we call a "racism." Most dogs can eat well out of a bowl despite not having a word for "bowl."

    Indeed and people suffer from racism no matter how narrowly you want to define it. That is indeed my point.

    No, as I said in my first response to you, I agree that we create them for identifying things. I just disagree that words are necessarily goal based.
    You might disagree but you are wrong. If we had no need of words we would not use them. The invention of language is perhaps the single most useful piece of technology in the history of mankind. To say those words have no use is absurd to me.

    I would imagine that would matter, considering understanding said underpinning would help one understand racism's causes and get rid of it.
    Indeed, and an overly narrow definition of racism that leaves out a broad category of racial discrimination is not useful in removing your suffering compared to a broader definition that does identify the broad range of causes.

    But speaking of causes and effects, after taking another look at your original response, you seem to be contradicting yourself. You say this:
    I am not contradicting myself. The primary motivation is to alleviate suffering. To do that you need to encompass all the causes in the term you use to identify that suffering.

    Let's say I want to express that I am cold. You decide to define cold as a lack of proper footwear. So you give me some nice warm socks. And I say, but my balls are still freezing I'm still cold. And you say, but you have footwear you should be fine because cold means you lack footwear. I say, no, cold means I feel the need to get warmer, it's not just about footwear, though footwear can help some. Thanks for the socks and all but I still have a problem here, I'm cold.

    So the root problem remains and is the most important, but I really do care about all the causes of my coldness, not just one part of it. Do you understand?

    "Oppression is predicated upon access to institutional power. Marginalized communities do not have access to institutional power.”
    I would take issue with that claim. I think they often do, just not the same level of access as non-marginalized communities.
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    Re: The Dictionary Versus The Social Justice Definition Of Racism

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    The Wikipedia article you linked as the source of your definition and which I also linked when I just talked about it. I presume you've read it.
    Yes, I read the article. This is the entirety of it:

    Prejudice plus power is a stipulative definition of racism often used by anti-racist educators, including the American pastor Joseph Barndt.[1] The definition was first proposed by Patricia Bidol, who, in a 1970 book, defined it as "prejudice plus institutional power."[2] However, others have maintained that this definition is a top-down re-appropriation of an already existing term intended to advance a discrete political viewpoint.[3]

    According to this definition, two elements are required in order for racism to exist: racial prejudice, and social power to codify and enforce this prejudice into an entire society.[1][4] Reasons cited in support of this definition include that power is responsible for the creation of racial categories, and that people favor their own racial groups over others.[5]

    The reaction of students to this definition tends to be mixed, with some thinking that it makes sense, and others perceiving it as an unfair redefinition of racism to portray whites in an unfairly negative light.[6] In 2004, Beverly Tatum wrote that many of her white students find it difficult to relate to this definition on a personal level, because they do not perceive themselves either as prejudiced or as having power.[4]

    The definition has been criticized by some academics for relying on the assumption that power is a zero-sum game, and for not accounting for the lack of uniformity in prejudicial attitudes.[7] Critics have also noted that this definition is belied by the fact that except in absolutist regimes, minorities, however disadvantaged they may be, are not powerless, because power is organized into multiple levels.[8]

    It gives very brief mention of social and institutional power, but I wouldn't say it "talks about them." It certainly doesn't elaborate on them in any way that would help with your argument.

    He is appealing to the authority of Nazi Germany by saying Hitler was right. He is identifying with a white nationalist authoritarian organization and advocating for its policies.
    He is indeed, but that's not answering my question. My question wasn't, "What power is he appealing to?" it was "what type of power would a philosophy that appeals to Germanic superiority have on a Korean flight?"

    I think the real problem you have is they are easier to apply, not harder. That they can cover a much wider range of situations than the more narrow ideology of genetic superiority. The latter is easier to rule out, rather than easier to apply.
    I disagree with your claim that it "can cover a much wider range of situations." In fact, the opposite is true. The DD covers situations in which the individual making the prejudiced claims does not have any type of power. The SJD doesn't. Furthermore, the DD is simpler to apply because it has fewer steps. I believe I have made this argument in previous posts.

    I'm going to use your own words to reply with changes bolded.

    You seem to be equivocating between two terms. In the first example you are referring to racism, the effect it has on people. In the second, you're referring to the word "racism." There is no question that racism hurts people. The word, "raccism", however, doesn't serve any role outside of identifying the effect we call a "racism." Most dogs can eat well out of a bowl despite not having a word for "bowl."
    I'm not quite sure what this post -- which, from what I can tell, is an attempt at a reductio ad absurdum -- is supposed to accomplish. The conclusion it draws isn't absurd in any obvious way, and even if it were, I fail to see how racism is similar to forks.

    Indeed and people suffer from racism no matter how narrowly you want to define it. That is indeed my point.
    As I stated before, I believe my definition is wider ranging, not narrower.

    You might disagree but you are wrong. If we had no need of words we would not use them. The invention of language is perhaps the single most useful piece of technology in the history of mankind. To say those words have no use is absurd to me.
    It would be absurd...if I had said that. But I didn't. In fact, I have repeatedly stated that I believe words have use. Their use is to identify things. What I disagree with is that they necessarily have a use beyond identifying things.

    Indeed, and an overly narrow definition of racism that leaves out a broad category of racial discrimination is not useful in removing your suffering compared to a broader definition that does identify the broad range of causes.
    I have yet to see how my definition is more narrow than yours. More detailed, perhaps, but certainly not broader.

    I am not contradicting myself. The primary motivation is to alleviate suffering. To do that you need to encompass all the causes in the term you use to identify that suffering.

    Let's say I want to express that I am cold. You decide to define cold as a lack of proper footwear. So you give me some nice warm socks. And I say, but my balls are still freezing I'm still cold. And you say, but you have footwear you should be fine because cold means you lack footwear. I say, no, cold means I feel the need to get warmer, it's not just about footwear, though footwear can help some. Thanks for the socks and all but I still have a problem here, I'm cold.

    So the root problem remains and is the most important, but I really do care about all the causes of my coldness, not just one part of it. Do you understand?
    That does clear things up.

    I would take issue with that claim. I think they often do, just not the same level of access as non-marginalized communities.
    This would seem to lead to the claim that marginalized people can be racist, but not as racist as non-marginalized people. If racism is based on power, then certainly more power would mean more racism, right?

  15. #12
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    Re: The Dictionary Versus The Social Justice Definition Of Racism

    Quote Originally Posted by czahar View Post
    Yes, I read the article. This is the entirety of it:

    It gives very brief mention of social and institutional power, but I wouldn't say it "talks about them." It certainly doesn't elaborate on them in any way that would help with your argument.
    Institutional power is part of the understanding of institutional racism. You do understand that right, and it is from the definition you decided to argue with. So don't say that institutional power is not part of the definition.

    He is indeed, but that's not answering my question. My question wasn't, "What power is he appealing to?" it was "what type of power would a philosophy that appeals to Germanic superiority have on a Korean flight?"
    You asked how we can know he is a racist. We know that because he appeals to white nationalist authority which is a racist ideology and institution. (under this SJW definition we are discussing)

    I disagree with your claim that it "can cover a much wider range of situations." In fact, the opposite is true. The DD covers situations in which the individual making the prejudiced claims does not have any type of power. The SJD doesn't. Furthermore, the DD is simpler to apply because it has fewer steps. I believe I have made this argument in previous posts.
    If you don't have any power then you can't do much harm and no one really cares what is in your racist heart. So the situation it covers just isn't important to anyone. On the other hand it does cover something like the Internment of Japanese Americans which the DD doesn't address since it wasn't done out of a sense of racial superiority but out of a suspission that someone with asian heritage wouldn't be a sufficiently patriotic American.

    It would be absurd...if I had said that. But I didn't. In fact, I have repeatedly stated that I believe words have use. Their use is to identify things. What I disagree with is that they necessarily have a use beyond identifying things.
    I posit that what we want to identify is what is a specific social threat to minorities in society. The SJW definition does a better job of identifying what that is.

    This would seem to lead to the claim that marginalized people can be racist, but not as racist as non-marginalized people. If racism is based on power, then certainly more power would mean more racism, right?
    If the power is acting against the interests of minority groups, yes. I'm sure some might say it is impossible, but sit them down with me and I can give them a scenario where I'm pretty sure they would agree the marginalized person is being racist.
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    Re: The Dictionary Versus The Social Justice Definition Of Racism

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    Institutional power is part of the understanding of institutional racism. You do understand that right, and it is from the definition you decided to argue with. So don't say that institutional power is not part of the definition.
    I never made any claim about the definition.

    You asked how we can know he is a racist. We know that because he appeals to white nationalist authority which is a racist ideology and institution. (under this SJW definition we are discussing)
    This claim from you...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    He is appealing to the authority of Nazi Germany by saying Hitler was right. He is identifying with a white nationalist authoritarian organization and advocating for its policies.
    ...was in response to this quote from me:

    Quote Originally Posted by czahar View Post
    I would wager that people appealing to the SJD would argue that the institutions backing the individual would have to have some kind of power. For example, backing oneself with African institutions while in a primarily white society probably wouldn't give one much power. If you can agree it wouldn't, then I'd have to ask: what type of power would a philosophy that appeals to Germanic superiority have on a Korean flight? And if it didn't, what power is the Chinese-American appealing to?
    The emboldened was clearly what you were responding to.

    Furthermore, you've said that racism requires institutional power. So what institutional power would Nazism have a Korean flight?

    We know that because he appeals to white nationalist authority which is a racist ideology and institution.
    In what sense would it be an institution on a Korean flight?

    If you don't have any power then you can't do much harm and no one really cares what is in your racist heart. So the situation it covers just isn't important to anyone.
    I should have said "institutional power" rather than simply "power." That was my fault. I will take the hit for that.

    On the other hand it does cover something like the Internment of Japanese Americans which the DD doesn't address since it wasn't done out of a sense of racial superiority but out of a suspission that someone with asian heritage wouldn't be a sufficiently patriotic American.
    The DD says "racism" is:

    a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others.

    "Usually" is the important word there. It implies that a sense of racial superiority is not necessary for something to be racist. Furthermore, while you may be right to claim that "the suspicion of someone with Asian heritage" was the a cause in the internment of the Japanese, I find it hard to believe that white American stereotypes and beliefs in inherent differences between themselves and Asians didn't play a part.

    I posit that what we want to identify is what is a specific social threat to minorities in society. The SJW definition does a better job of identifying what that is.
    I disagree.

    If the power is acting against the interests of minority groups, yes. I'm sure some might say it is impossible, but sit them down with me and I can give them a scenario where I'm pretty sure they would agree the marginalized person is being racist.
    I will let my African American friends know about your offer. :D

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    Re: The Dictionary Versus The Social Justice Definition Of Racism

    Hey Czahar, welcome back.

    Here is the crux of the issue to me. If you believe in the SJW definition of racism, then you must also believe in their theory of social justice and hierarchies. In other words, they are using the word racism to validate their world view. This isn't true of the dictionary definition. If I use the DD version of the word racism, it does not make an ideological claim. It is just pointing out someone's personal views and whether they believe they are superior based on race. Conversely, the SJW definition makes some assumptions which are rooted in a Marxist world view. It is an implicit claim that invalid hierarchies exist which must be flattened in order to remove some injustice. In this case, the claim is that hierarchies are built on race and culture where some races and cultures exist on the top and others exist on the bottom. So, in this world view, it would stand to reason that you cannot have justice unless you flatten the hierarchy and of course the people on the bottom cannot be accused of racism because they lack the power to enforce their world-view whereas those at the top are dangerous. Certainly, they are potentially dangerous. However, in application, every white male is dangerous. Just look at how the SJW's have treated Joe Biden of late. His very existence is a threat as he is preventing their own access to power. So, everything he says is racist due to this power dynamic.

    So, to me the danger here is that by agreeing to the SJW definition, you are agreeing to much more. As we have seen, even the most progressive white guy can be labeled a racist, culturist, and misogynist. Something to think about as we allow SJW terms to become normal.
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    Re: The Dictionary Versus The Social Justice Definition Of Racism

    Quote Originally Posted by czahar View Post
    I never made any claim about the definition.
    You typed this....
    You seem to be arguing that the social justice definition I cited is wrong. After all, you're saying it's not "social power" (which is what the social justice definition I cited says); it's institutional power.
    This quote from you is claiming institutional power is not part of the definition, only Social Power is. I then pointed out that the definition you linked to for your argument included Institutional Power. Clear?

    Furthermore, you've said that racism requires institutional power. So what institutional power would Nazism have a Korean flight?
    The Nazis were an institutional power. While they have no power on that airplane, he is expressing his support for that kind of power and institution. Advocating for racism, even if you don't currently have the power you desire, is still a racist ideology even if you haven't put it into practice.

    I should have said "institutional power" rather than simply "power." That was my fault. I will take the hit for that.
    No worries. I'm not even sure that is the critique I was trying to level. I'm just saying that its not an opinion that matters, its an opinion you act or advocate acting on. I have violent fantasies, most men do, but so long as we are not acting on them or asking people to act on them, then we aren't considered violent people.

    a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others.

    "Usually" is the important word there. It implies that a sense of racial superiority is not necessary for something to be racist. Furthermore, while you may be right to claim that "the suspicion of someone with Asian heritage" was the a cause in the internment of the Japanese, I find it hard to believe that white American stereotypes and beliefs in inherent differences between themselves and Asians didn't play a part.
    The SJWD doesn't preclude that, but here, they could have plausible deniability from the DD and yet it remains a very good example of 20th century American racism. Same goes for hate crimes against hispanics or middle easterners. They are not born out of some kind of sence of genetic superiority but just a kind of bigotry rooted in fear of the outsider. But the outcome is clearly a racist outpooring of agression and marginalization.

    Personally, I just think we could all use with a bit more nuance when discussing the topic. We understand racism has many dimensions and we can use language to differentiate.
    Ideological racism
    Institutional racism
    Personal racism
    Retaliatory racism
    Systemic racism
    Legacy racism
    and so on....

    I disagree.
    OK, lets put it to the test. We seem to agree that a virtue of the term would be that it covers a wide range of substantive harms.

    Show me how the DD version or racism can clearly apply to.
    1. The internment of Japanese Americans during WWII
    2. A targeted assault against a hispanic man fueled by anti-immigration sentiment

    I will let my African American friends know about your offer. :D
    Well, we could use a bit more diversity around here.

    ---------- Post added at 08:21 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:12 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Ibelsd View Post
    So, to me the danger here is that by agreeing to the SJW definition, you are agreeing to much more. As we have seen, even the most progressive white guy can be labeled a racist, culturist, and misogynist. Something to think about as we allow SJW terms to become normal.
    I think they call that the slippery slope fallacy.

    Thing of it is, you don't have to be a Marxist to see the truth in some of what Marx argues. Some being the operative word here. Same goes for the SJW crowd (and while I consider myself an SJW, I don't ascribe to everything anyone else going under such a banner might say).

    So you can not give two shakes about whether whites are the master race, but if you happily accept red-lining or the internment of Japanese Americans then you are participating in a racist institution and become complicit in it.

    It's quite possible to recognize this, try not to be a part of it, yet to draw a line somewhere that says you think someone is blowing something else out of proportion.

    And if you think you are being judged unfairly, then my advice is to not give a **** what people think about you when you think they are wrong. It works nicely for me. I've been called a racist once or twice, it means nothing to me because I don't think it is true. Now if lots of people said it or they were people I really trusted, then I might give it some thought.
    Feed me some debate pellets!

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    Re: The Dictionary Versus The Social Justice Definition Of Racism

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    You typed this....

    This quote from you is claiming institutional power is not part of the definition, only Social Power is. I then pointed out that the definition you linked to for your argument included Institutional Power. Clear?
    I thought you were implying that I said something about the definition in the quote you were responding to. That's where the confusion was coming from.

    As far as my definition for the SJD goes, I said this:

    Quote Originally Posted by czahar View Post
    ..."racism" is "prejudice plus power." Going by this definition, "two elements are required in order for racism to exist: racial prejudice, and social power to codify and enforce this prejudice into an entire society."
    The fact that Bidol says it was "prejudice plus institutional power" in the article I was quoting does not imply I was using that definition. However, it's not really going to hurt my argument to say to define the SJD as "racism plus institutional power" so we can use that.

    The Nazis were an institutional power. While they have no power on that airplane, he is expressing his support for that kind of power and institution. Advocating for racism, even if you don't currently have the power you desire, is still a racist ideology even if you haven't put it into practice.
    This doesn't make sense. How can someone use the institutional power of something that doesn't have power? This seems to be a classic case of trying to get blood from a turnip.

    The SJWD doesn't preclude that, but here, they could have plausible deniability from the DD and yet it remains a very good example of 20th century American racism. Same goes for hate crimes against hispanics or middle easterners. They are not born out of some kind of sence of genetic superiority but just a kind of bigotry rooted in fear of the outsider. But the outcome is clearly a racist outpooring of agression and marginalization.
    Again, the DD doesn't require a belief in genetic superiority. Indeed, as I stated before, the DD says "usually", meaning superiority is not a necessary component of the definition. It also doesn't say anything about genetic superiority. It simply says that racism "usually" involves "the idea that one's own race is superior." But even if a sense of superiority were a necessary component of "racism" under the DD, I think it is fairly clear that racism against Middle Easterners and Hispanics is fueled by a sense of superiority -- i.e., moral superiority. Hispanics are viewed as thieves and drug dealers. Middle Easterners are seen as terrorists. Both of these stereotypes promote the idea that these groups are morally inferior to white Americans. Under the DD, crimes targeted against Hispanics and Middle Easterners could certainly be described as hate crimes. So could crimes against white Americans.

    Personally, I just think we could all use with a bit more nuance when discussing the topic. We understand racism has many dimensions and we can use language to differentiate.
    Ideological racism
    Institutional racism
    Personal racism
    Retaliatory racism
    Systemic racism
    Legacy racism
    and so on....
    I have no problem with this.

    OK, lets put it to the test. We seem to agree that a virtue of the term would be that it covers a wide range of substantive harms.

    Show me how the DD version or racism can clearly apply to.
    1. The internment of Japanese Americans during WWII
    2. A targeted assault against a hispanic man fueled by anti-immigration sentiment
    1. According to Jennifer Lee, a professor of Sociology at Columbia University:

    ...a century ago, Asian-Americans were perceived as illiterate, undesirable, full of “filth and disease” and unassimilable. They were perceived as “marginal members of the human race,” were denied the right to become naturalized U.S. citizens, and segregated to ethnic enclaves.


    Unless one is going to argue that these feelings of racial superiority played no part in the internment of Japanese -- which would require one believe that those who supported the internment of Japanese were somehow insulated from the racist sentiments of other white Americans -- it is clear that a belief in the inherent differences between whites and Asians played a role in the internment of Japanese Americans. A belief in the inherent differences of races and that these differences determine achievement is a part of the DD.

    2. I think you and I can agree that anti-immigration attitudes aren't simply about a fear of outsiders. No Trump-supporting, "Build the wall" shouting Republican that I know is worried about German or French immigrants, despite the fact that they're no less outsiders than Hispanics. What fuels this hatred seems to be a belief in the (moral) inferiority of Hispanics. Again, look at the way they are stereotyped: as thieves, as drug dealers, as gang members, as people who simply want to take advantage of our supposedly generous welfare system. American racists clearly view these Hispanics as morally inferior to "decent, hardworking, patriotic" Americans. The DD explains this, as it defines racism as the belief in inherent differences among racial groups, and says it is usually due to some sense of superiority.

    Honestly, I can't think of any type of racism that doesn't involve a belief that one's own group is in some way superior -- either genetically, morally, intellectually, or a combination of two or more -- than an outside group.

    Well, we could use a bit more diversity around here.
    Agreed. The more diversity -- be it in terms or race, sex, religion, gender, and viewpoints -- the better. Unfortunately, considering ODN is probably going to be history in two or three months, I think it's a bit late for that.

  21. #17
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    Re: The Dictionary Versus The Social Justice Definition Of Racism

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    I think they call that the slippery slope fallacy.

    Thing of it is, you don't have to be a Marxist to see the truth in some of what Marx argues. Some being the operative word here. Same goes for the SJW crowd (and while I consider myself an SJW, I don't ascribe to everything anyone else going under such a banner might say).

    So you can not give two shakes about whether whites are the master race, but if you happily accept red-lining or the internment of Japanese Americans then you are participating in a racist institution and become complicit in it.

    It's quite possible to recognize this, try not to be a part of it, yet to draw a line somewhere that says you think someone is blowing something else out of proportion.

    And if you think you are being judged unfairly, then my advice is to not give a **** what people think about you when you think they are wrong. It works nicely for me. I've been called a racist once or twice, it means nothing to me because I don't think it is true. Now if lots of people said it or they were people I really trusted, then I might give it some thought.
    I'll accept part of my conclusion is probably based on a slippery slope fallacy. Fine. Let's take some of the hyperbole out and just focus on the main crux of my argument which is that the use of racism by SJW's is rooted in Marxism. If you are agreeing to use racism as defined by SJW's then you are accepting the premise. That is my point. It is an ideologically loaded term as they are defining it and using it. You agree that there is power in language, right?
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