McCulloch Richard - Right and wrong racism

Author : McCulloch Richard
Title : Right and wrong racism
Year : 2003

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Reductionism and extremism both try to keep things simple. Reductionism attempts to reduce the complex to the simple, both in matters of type, kind or form, and causality. Where there are many types or forms, differing in both minor and major degrees, reductionism - unable or unwilling to make distinctions - claims there is only one type or form. Where there are many different causes combining to produce an effect, reductionism insists there is only one cause. Extremism, the other product of simplistic thinking, defines an issue only in terms of its two extreme positions, denying the possible existence of alternative positions between the two extremes. For the extremist there is no middle ground, only one extreme or the other. Nonsupport for one extreme position is equated with support of the opposite extreme position. The problem with simplistic thinking, whether reductionism or extremism, is that in a world of almost infinite complexity and variety it rarely provides an accurate or truthful portrayal of reality. This problem is particularly acute in the fields of definition and categorization. For example, racism - the subject of this chapter - is a term that is frequently subject to simplistic definitions. It is common to define racism as having only one cause and existing in only one form, or being of a uniform type. Definitions that describe a wide variation in types of racism, and a great diversity in causes or motives for racism, are conspicuous by their absence. Furthermore, the single uniform type that racism is usually reduced to in these simplistic definitions is almost always of an extremist character. In the hope of correcting the distortions, misconceptions and inaccuracies inherent in simplistic definitions, a more complete definition of racism, in its variety of forms, kinds and types, causes and motives, will be presented here. Racism can be broadly defined as including any ideology - or system of ideas, values, ethics and beliefs - in which race and racial differences are recognized and regarded as valuable and important. It can also be defined as the opposite of racial nihilism, which denies race and racial differences and regards them as being without value or importance. In terms of causality or motive racism can be based on a wide variety of opposites, as can its own opposite - racial nihilism. It can be based on love or hate, knowledge or ignorance, idealism or realism, loyalty or envy, benevolence or malice. These different bases, causes or motives can themselves interact and blend in such a wide variety of combinations that it is often difficult to determine which cause is primary and which secondary. In sum, the motives or reasons for racism are as varied and complex as anything involving humanity is likely to be. But for purposes of discussion they can be divided into the following categories - factual beliefs, ethical beliefs, values and emotions. Racism based on factual beliefs includes the racism based on the belief that one race is superior to another, as the belief in racial superiority - whether factually right or wrong - is a factual belief. (This factual belief is often improperly criticized on ethical rather than factual grounds by racial egalitarians who demand that all factual beliefs conform to their ethical beliefs.) Also included in this category is the racism based on the factual belief in significant racial differences and variation - independent of issues of superiority or inferiority - coupled with the factual belief that it would be biologically beneficial for life and humanity to preserve that diversity. The racism based on a religious conviction that it is fulfilling the divine will is also included in the category of factual belief. Racism based on ethical beliefs includes the racism that supports racial rights and affirms the right of all races to life, independence (racial self-determination or liberty) and the conditions of racial separation required for both. At the other end of the ethical spectrum, but also included in the category of racism based on ethical beliefs, is the racism which rejects and denies racial rights in favor of a racial competition for territory, dominance, mastery and existence - a struggle for racial survival unrestricted by moral considerations. This form of racism - here designated as immoral racism - is based on the ethical belief that there are no racial rights. This belief makes it the opposite of the racism - here designated as moral racism - that is based on the ethical belief in racial rights. Ironically, racial nihilism - the opposite of racism in terms of its denial and rejection of the importance and value of race - also denies and rejects racial rights, sharing this belief in common with immoral racism, and as a consequence also favors conditions (specifically, multiracialism) in which racial existence is not protected or secure, but is threatened with destruction by racial competition, replacement and intermixture. Racism based on values includes the racism which regards the qualities of one race - usually one's own - as more important or desirable than those of other races. Values both influence and are influenced by - and are closely connected with - emotions, feelings and esthetic sensibilities that are deeply rooted in the human psyche, often subjective, and perhaps partially innate or genetic in origin. These can be either positive or negative. There are innumerable gradations or degrees of both positive and negative emotions, with love being the most positive and hate the most negative. There are many different definitions of both love and hate, but for general purposes love can be defined as a strong positive emotion or feeling and hate as a strong negative emotion. In terms of causality, the critics of racism commonly define it as motivated or caused exclusively by hate, or even as synonymous with racial hate. But there is both more than one type of racism and more than one cause. Each type has its own cause, and each cause creates its own type or form. ...

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