do racist people know they're racist?

the watchman

Former Staff
Jul 2011
89,792
54,741
becoming more and more
#1
there's this old saying about crazy people. It contends that if they can ask themselves if they are insane then they aren't insane. I don't know if that's true. Doesn't seem like it.

But, what about racist? Do they know that they're racist? That's a loaded question. First of all, who gets to decide if they're racist? We need a working definition just for the sake of the discussion. If they believe in the superiority of one race over another. Short and simple. Right?

But then, we start to get into when that definition applies.

Let's say, for instance, they believe that certain abilities appear to come more naturally to people of a particular race. Say, math, or sports, or , I don't know, being good at certain jobs. Racist or no? Certain sports are dominated by African American's. Is it racist to presume that African American's are , therefore, superior in those sports?

Then, there's institutional racism. For the sake of discussion, let's define that as well.

Solid Ground defines

Institutional Racism as “ the systematic distribution of resources, power and opportunity in our society to the benefit of people who are white and the exclusion of people of color. ”

Present-day racism was built on a long history of racially distributed resources and ideas that shape our view of ourselves and others. It is a hierarchical system that comes with a broad range of policies and institutions that keep it in place. In the United States, institutional racism has been responsible for slavery, settlement, Indian reservations, segregation, residential schools (for American Indians), and internment camps. While most of these institutions no longer exist, they have had long-term impacts on our society. As a result of institutional racism, racial stratification and disparities have occurred in employment, housing, education, healthcare, government and other sectors. While many laws were passed in the mid-20th century to make discrimination illegal, major inequalities still exist.
http://www.racialequitytools.org/resourcefiles/institutionalracism.pdf

So then, say a person believes that there is no institutional racism and/or that things are just fine the way they are? Say, in fact, that they believe that civil rights, Affirmative Action, laws against racial discrimination, are all a means by which people of color gain an unfair societal advantage over whites. Racist or not?

Turns out the premise question is a lot more complicated than when we first began.

So, let's try to simplify it a bit.

Do members of racist groups like , say, the KKK, or the New Black Pathers, think they're racist?

Generally speaking , they don't tend to believe their believes at at all racist. I think that's safe to say.

Well now, that just way too simple.

Let's turn, then, to that elusive "average American".

Let's say it's a guy named "Russ". Average.

Russ is watching television and he sees a advertisement for , oh I don't know, a Mexican restaurant.
In response he makes a crack about how many "illegals" must work there.

See what I did there?

The term "illegals" is used a lot by people who aren't necessarily racist.

Racist or not?

I could give a few more examples or expand on the premise. But, I'd like to stop now and get your thoughts.
 
Last edited:
Apr 2014
37,299
23,558
Maryland
#2
This is my class! There are three kinds of prejudices ..acknowledged sanctioned and unacknowleged.
In my class I ask what the N-word is and no one really wants to say it because it’s an acknowledged prejudice but then I talk about this woman and she such a b and I ask what the b is and everyone shouts bitch. Isn’t that a perjoratuve also, but for women it’s ok
Another one is trailer trash...are people who live in trailers garbage?
Then there’s the euphemism..”inner city” for black neighborhoods.
Sanctioned prejudice is one that we know is prejudice but we will laugh about it but not in front of the people..ex: fat jokes, gay jokes
 

the watchman

Former Staff
Jul 2011
89,792
54,741
becoming more and more
#3
This is my class! There are three kinds of prejudices ..acknowledged sanctioned and unacknowleged.
In my class I ask what the N-word is and no one really wants to say it because it’s an acknowledged prejudice but then I talk about this woman and she such a b and I ask what the b is and everyone shouts bitch. Isn’t that a perjoratuve also, but for women it’s ok
Another one is trailer trash...are people who live in trailers garbage?
Then there’s the euphemism..”inner city” for black neighborhoods.
Sanctioned prejudice is one that we know is prejudice but we will laugh about it but not in front of the people..ex: fat jokes, gay jokes
apology in advance. But, I forget what class you teach.
Good info.

Every really shouts "bitch"?

Also, "acknowledge prejudice" seems to have undergone and paradigm shift since Trump took office. Where certain things are now considered acceptable that weren't before.
 

the watchman

Former Staff
Jul 2011
89,792
54,741
becoming more and more
#5
Some do, some don't. Some are rightly accused, some are wrongly accused. Some project their own racism on others without realizing it.
while some will deny all but the most egregious cases of racism. Trump is a good example for this discussion generally. Many think he's racist. But, others refuse to accept it despite any evidence they're presented. Still others, insist that he's not a racist at all. They contend that he's merely playing to racists. As in , "the racist think he's a racist". Of course, then, now we're talking about politics.

Oh my.
 
Likes: The Man

The Man

Former Staff
Jul 2011
44,064
30,598
Toronto
#7
Racism has become largely subjective in these partisan political times.
Not really... If you feel that you are better than other people for no other reason than the color of your (and their) skin, you are a racist. It's actually that simple :)
 
Apr 2018
8,713
2,099
oregon
#8
Not really... If you feel that you are better than other people for no other reason than the color of your (and their) skin, you are a racist. It's actually that simple :)
I agree there, but, in this political environment, people throw out accusations of racism with no more proof than their personal interpretation of a situation or statement.Take trump for example. I do not believe he is racist. He may judge people on the content of their bank account, but not by the color of their skin. Too many people think that any assessment of uncomfortable facts is racism nowadays, imho.
 

the watchman

Former Staff
Jul 2011
89,792
54,741
becoming more and more
#9
I agree there, but, in this political environment, people throw out accusations of racism with no more proof than their personal interpretation of a situation or statement.Take trump for example. I do not believe he is racist. He may judge people on the content of their bank account, but not by the color of their skin. Too many people think that any assessment of uncomfortable facts is racism nowadays, imho.
people actually think Trump is a racist because of a well established historical pattern.
He actually said that he doesn't want black bankers counting his money. Since you used that as an example and all. He also said that being lazy is a trait of African Americans. He would remove them from his casino floors when high rollers arrived. What's interesting is that the same people who claim Trump isn't racist, despite his history, will turn around and claim Obama, or Al Sharpton, or Jesse Jackson, even Oprah, are racist based on what amounts to nothing but a flimsy excuse for doing so. They'll do it because it's consistent with a popular partisan political narrative. Hence, they don't even know they're being racist. It's just something they heard and repeated because it is now considered acceptable.
 
Last edited: