Race Posts

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I haven't updated my Favorite Posts section of my blogroll in a very long time, and I'm finally getting around to that tedious task. As part of that process, I'm collecting all the race posts currently in the list into this post so that I'll end up with a much smaller list to start with. Otherwise I'm not going to have enough room to keep the list on one page, one of my guidelines for any section of my blogroll. Since there's nothing really new here but just a bunch of summaries of and links to old posts, I'm going to put it all in the extended entry. I should also mention before going on that my similar Theology Posts, Apologetics Posts, and Posts on Homosexuality should be getting updated through this process. I'm not going to move them forward in time at this point.

Update (11-26-04): Somehow I forgot to include October, so I've added one more.

First place goes to my Racism Double Trilogy series. The first trilogy (which turned out to have four posts in a way reminiscent of Douglas Adams) explored what kinds of mainstream racism against blacks is still around and is most dangerous, they're not the sorts of things that were the main problems forty years ago. They're also the kind of thing many white people aren't even aware that they contribute to. The second trilogy deals with cultural traits and tendencies within the black community that lead to harm against blacks. This is racism only in the technical academic definition of racism that many liberal race theorists insist on, but since it is a structure in society that perpetuates itself through social practices, it counts as institutional racism.

Minority Rules: Michigan Affirmative Action looks at the 2003 Supreme Court cases on affirmative action against the University of Michigan, which involved three views among the justices who voted on the two cases, but due to the two-case nature of it the minority mediating position held by only two justices won out against the conservative position held by three justices and the liberal position held by four justices.

What Is Race? looks at the issue of what we're really doing when we classify people into racial categories. Are they biological categories? Are they merely social categories? Are they determined by social means but by using arbitrary biological criteria? The third view seems most plausible to me for most of the times when we use racial terminology, but in the comments I began moving toward seeing ambiguity (or more technically polysemy) in our racial terms.

Gender, Sex, and Race follows up on the racial classification post by comparing the issues raised by the distinction between sex and gender, seeing what analogous distinctions might come into the discussion of race.

Race and the Death Penalty looks at a complicated set of issues about racial disproportionality and the death penalty. This gets particularly difficult when it turns out that the only clear data on corruption within the justice system across the board (as opposed to the rate of arrests) is not in terms of the race of the accused at all but in terms of the race of the victim, which makes addressing it complicated because any solution to that disproportion will negatively affect black killers more, given the correlation of the race of killers with the race of victims.

PCA Statement on Racism reviews and evaluates a recent Presbyterian Church in America statement on racism, most of which I agree very strongly with. The statement itself covers a lot of ground, and it's not surprising that this post also is fairly comprehensive on a biblical view of racism.

I don't really think of you as black looks at the issue of colorblindness. I argue that one kind of colorblindness, indeed the primary one well-meaning people intend, is actually dangerous and even racist at times. Even so, there's a kind of colorblindness that I have no problem with and is even good.

Legitimacy in the Black Community considers Bill Cosby's statements critical of black Americans and why such statements are acknowledged and accepted by black leaders such as Jesse Jackson when coming from Bill Cosby but not when coming from people perceived to be more conservative, such as John McWhorter or Thomas Sowell (or, even worse, Clarence Thomas or Shelby Steele). I argue that, while there's a psychological explanation for why in fact people will do such things, it's morally wrong to ignore the same message from one person but accept it from someone else simply because of a different attitude toward the messenger.

Structural racism is a set of tendencies or social forces that tend to have harmful effects along racial lines. Sometimes this is called institutional racism, and sometimes people want to distinguish the two, but I put them in the same category. Can There Be Structural Anti-White Racism? asks the question that the title says it asks. I argue both that there can be structural anti-white racism and that some tendencies often listed as structural anti-black racism really shouldn't be put in that category.

"Colin Powell's Not Black" and Other Underminers of Affirmative Action looks at a tension in two views commonly held by liberals, the view that Colin Powell (or Condi Rice, or Clarence Thomas, etc.) is not really black and the view that affirmative action of the sort that led President Bush to select black cabinet members is a good thing. There's a similar tension from the conservative side as well. Neither is a clear contradiction, just as there's no necessary contradiction between being opposed to abortion but in favor of the death penalty (or vice versa) or being for animal rights but in favor of allowing abortion (or vice versa). On any such position, something needs to be said to show that your particular way of putting them together is consistent, and that needs to be done here.

OED Definition of 'Racism' looks at the definition of 'racism' in what many consider the best dictionary of the English language and points out how inadequate even that dictionary is at defining a concept most people understand so intuitively.

Finally, we have my series on affirmative action, which is still in process. The first post has links to all the others so far (and will continue to be updated as I progress through the series). I've been working through the arguments in favor of affirmative action, with two arguments remaining. One of the things I'm trying to show is that there's more to these arguments than conservatives will typically allow. When I move to the arguments against affirmative action, I'll show why I think the considerations against having such policies at universities and colleges are more weighty nowadays than the considerations for having such policies. At this writing, that's still to come, though some of the other posts I've been summarizing in this current post can give some sense of where I stand on those issues.

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