Race Thought Experiment #12

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Here's another one from Jonathan Glasgow that I'll just quote his own description of:

We are all simultaneously struck by an agent that causes us forget our systems of racial classification. Any time we start to racially classify ourselves, our cognitive apparatuses short-circuit. One hour later, cognition reverts to its pre-amnesiac state, and racial classification resumes.

(Again, as with several of these, if you think races don't exist, you'll say they continue not to exist through this. But this question is for those who think they do exist.)

Do races stop existing for that period of time and then come back into existence, or does something keep them in existence during the interim period? If so, what generates their existence?

2 Comments

"If so, what generates their existence?"

It seems to me (talking from expereince) that race is reinforced by associating things like skin color, hair texture, and voice inflection with certain cultural customs and mores different from our own. Those things are the concrete stimuli that bring about the association (whether it is rational or not).

OK, but I'm not sure that's sufficient to answer this question, though. Do those facts make races exist and continue to exist even if people no longer remember those experiences? Would races continue because of the historical facts? Would they continue because of continued existence of books reporting those historical facts and the potential for someone to read them and pick up the conventions about race once again? Or do they stop existing entirely in such a scenario?

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