Racism is a Racist Term

To begin, there exists only one human race whose members genetically adapted to life in different locations of the planet, whose skin colors are fairly uniform, according to the latitude, planetwide, from which they come (light-skinned from more polar latitudes and dark-skinned from more equatorial latitudes, according to the intensity of sunlight).

So, right away, to describe those with different skin colors or ethnicities as belonging to different races is racist.

Let's take, for example, the labels, "Black" and "White".

On the face of it, these labels are absurd.  "Black" (formerly Negro, which in Spanish, also means "black") people are not black.  They're brown.  And "White" (also "Caucasian", as in the Caucasus Mountains of Russia) people are not white. They're beige or tan or something similar.  Sometimes, they're indistinguishable from each other!

So, these very labels are not only inaccurate, they exaggerate the differences among people of different skin colors (i.e., places of origin on the planet) -- exactly the underpinnings of racism.

The correct labeling would be "Brown" and "Beige".  Rather closer and more like each other, aren't they?  A bit less "racist"?

People of Color
Once, again, racism expressed in language, this time in a term considered "politically correct" -- "people of color".

What?  Are Caucasian people transparent?

I had no idea!  I'll have to check, next time I look in the mirror.

As far as I can tell, Caucasian people are, as I said, beige.  We've been left out of the category, "People of Color"!  Sounds like unfair discrimination, to me.  I have color!  I want to be included!

In this case as in so many others, "political correctness" is incorrect, even politically incorrect.

Why not be accurate, at least, and use the term, "people of dark color"?  That is what's meant, isn't it?

And now, that favorite word coupled with the word, "racial".

Let's be rigorous about our use of words.  "Discrimination" means "the process of telling or noticing a difference between two things."  It doesn't necessarily mean that one is better (although it may), just that the two are in some way different.  (Sometimes, a value judgment is warranted.  A criminal is someone who fails to discriminate between "right" and "wrong" behavior.)

Discrimination is not, by definition, bad.  Unfair discrimination is bad.  Unintelligent discrimination is bad.  Inaccurate discrimination is bad.  Sloppy discrimination is bad.  No discrimination at all is bad (or at least haphazard and possibly dangerous).

Those who use the word, "discrimination", are usually discriminating against bad, unintelligent, or inaccurate discrimination.  Unfortunately, their use of language is not so discriminating.  Actually, it's sloppy use of a term for something that we need on a moment to moment basis to make healthy choices:  discrimination.  To make any kind of discrimination seem wrong is a blunting of intelligence.

Ethic Cleansing
Need I say more?

It seems that the answer to that question is, "yes".

Officially sanctioned by the news media, this term blatantly implies that some ethnicities are "unclean".


How about this, more accurate term, demonstrating the more careful use of language that we should expect of our news commentators:  ethnic purging -- accurate and descriptive, without bias.

That's closer the mark, isn't it?

Racial Profiling
Here we go, again.

ethnic profiling

If we recognize that differences exist among individuals of a given ethnicity, then we are obliged discriminate fairly between and among people who share an ethnicity.

There's no denying that, statistically, some ethnicities have more than their share of social problems.  To deny that such is the case, again, is to blunt our own intelligence.  However, to fail to discriminate fairly between individuals of a given ethnicity is laziness and sloppiness -- a weakness of intelligence.  The world needs more wise discrimination.

So, Then What?
We need to rehabilitate the word, "discrimination" -- and we need to use the term, "ethnocentrism" or "ethnism" in place of racism.  At least it's accurate.

Observe those who use the term, racist.  See if they, actually, are themselves racist, painting entire groups of others with a broad brush -- lacking intelligent discrimination.

Don't come back with, "It's popular parlance," or "everyone knows what it means".  Use language responsibly.  Discriminate soundly and wisely.  Exercise your intelligence and expect others to do the same.

No comments:

Post a Comment