Interview with a racist who doesn't think he's racist



Okay, I now get, after reading those excerpts and re-reading your comment, why you would think that we need to start re-examining our preconceptions, and make sure that they’re based on facts and not myths. He does seem to do that a lot.

I don’t get how you leap from there to “step back a little and start to ask if racism is a bad thing.” Especially if you believe the part that you quoted from the excerpt that I linked:

Since the biological distinctions between different groups of Homo sapiens are, in fact, negligible, biology can’t explain the intricacies of Indian society or American racial dynamics. We can only understand those phenomena by studying the events, circumstances, and power relations that transformed figments of imagination into cruel – and very real – social structures.

It seems that he’s arguing the exact opposite: that we need to examine our myths and preconceptions because otherwise we get things like racism which are bad.


Debates like this (one intractable viewpoint against another, whether morally defensible or not) are interesting but I just don’t know what they accomplish, except to point out the fact that you almost never change someone’s mind by engaging with them this way. It’s entertaining but not, to my mind, very useful.


Reminds me of this


I will grant that not all men are created equal-- some are born rich, some are born with genetic defects, etc.

But that’s not the point, the point is “do we want to have as level a playing field as possible, so that those who are talented smart and hard working will advance and improve all our lives?” We like to think of America as a true “meritocracy” where anyone can become President or a millionaire or Nobel Prize winner if they study and work hard, but it’s still not a level playing field-- even a genius will find the deck stacked against him if he is born in a dirt-poor ghetto or treated like a criminal because of his race.

Remember: the Declaration of Independence was a reaction to royalty, the idea that some are just meant to lead because of their lineage. I’d say it’s also self-evident that plenty of kings and queens were not very good leaders.


Another way to read “we hold these truths to be self-evident” is “we think everyone (well, all white men) should have equal rights and if you disagree we aren’t going to bother trying to convince you.”


Obligatory link to Nonviolent Communication, which sounds to me a lot like this theoretical exchange.


It will be interesting (if we’re still here) to see if anyone really does learn anything.


…really anyone from Caucasus is welcome so long as they conform to the uniformity of appearance, behavior, and thought clause.


This is, indeed, a problem.

Racism is, of course, real. Racism is still a huge issue today. The issue, IMHO, is that the act of singling out a race and then stereotyping them (the act of being “racist”, also applies to lots of other deplorable behaviour as well: stereotyping based on gender, religion, sexual orientation, nationality, the list goes on.

While the later actions are not “racist” technically (and indeed, several of the other prejudices have other names), they’re all the same thing, and we need a new, better umbrella term to cover all of them, so we can stop having meta-battles about what “racism” means and instead brand this entire type of activity as the douchebaggery it really is.

Anti-muslim asshats aren’t racist. Fine. But they are every bit as bad as racists, for exactly the same reasons.


the NAACP was not and has never been a “black supremacist” group. It was founded in the early 20th century to address the spike in violence and discrimination aimed at the African American community and it was always welcoming of white activist and allies. It’s not a racist group in the slightest.

I get what you’re trying to say, but I don’t think calling them a “racist” group helps here. NOI would fit better into what you might be trying to say, as they were rather exclusionary and had some strong anti-white rhetoric that the NAACP never had.


It’s almost as though people have spent decades worth’ of time and effort deliberately deconstructing the notion of truth across multiple academic disciplines, and their efforts had some sort of effect on the culture at large.



I would have a bingo had he said “I’m just stating the facts, not opinions!”


Doesn’t “bigotry” cover that class of xenophobic prejudices based on race, religion, sexual orientation, nationality, etc.?


Well said. Semantics arguments with folks like that are painful exercises in razor thin hair splitting. I remember a discussion with someone once who was rabidly anti-gay-rights and felt all gay people should submit to conversion therapy, but insisted they weren’t “homophobic” because “phobic means you’re scared of something, and I’m not scared of gay people!”


See, I think this guy in the video is arguing semantics too. He isn’t a hard core racists who thinks every person of a different race is inferior. If you happen to be a different race but act “normal”, then you’re cool. Sort of like the guy who can’t be racist because they have that one black friend, or something.

The problem is, it appears he thinks many if not most of these minorities are acting like “racial slurs”, and that is where one is racist.

And I guess he has A point that there are different degrees of racism. But just because you aren’t at the highest end of the spectrum and think other races are naturally inferior and deserve to be enslaved, doesn’t mean your views aren’t still racist.

Likewise, one can not have conscious or obviously racist views, but still hold opinions based on racism or discriminatory views. I think racism is over use to describe some of those situations, but nearly everyone has some sort of bias based on race.


Very much so. In the end, all of those arguments are, IMHO, just attempts by the other party to justify their superior viewpoint by word-splitting.

@nemomen “bigot” is indeed a valid definition in the general sense, but it doesn’t seem to carry the same specific bite as racist (it bloody well should).


I wish I could share your confidence in their capacity for self-awareness.

The point is to show people who go through life avoiding ass-hats like the racist in the video just what kind of ass-hattery they’re up against, and also to show people who are rarely the targets of this brand of hate what people who are, and don’t have the luxury of just avoiding it, put up with daily.

There’s also the simple fact that some sort of creator deity was largely treated as a given at the time, so the obvious and strongest argument for America’s founding fathers to make against the divine right of kings was to posit a divine right of the people to all have equal say in their government. Though they artificially narrowed the definition of people to disenfranchise women, non-whites and anyone who didn’t own land, and in that way it was political propaganda because if they’d stuck to the literal meaning of their words, they’d have had to enfranchise everyone from the start.

Well, it seems like no umbrella term will have the same bite as specific terms because it doesn’t immediately call to mind all the details. You could argue that an umbrella term should call to mind the characteristics they all have in common, but the mind just doesn’t react the same way to abstractions.

People like that are usually scared of being seen as gay (whether they are or not) and they’re compensating for their deep-seated insecurity.

Respectfully, you are operating with a very different definition of racism than most people, and will probably find it causes a lot of miscommunication.

Sometimes the push-back isn’t because their axioms (though, since racism is bad is a tested fact with overwhelming evidence, it’s not actually an axiom) are being questioned; the push-back is often because of the underhanded motives and goals of the individuals doing the questioning.


We probably wouldn’t be alive, since a pre-agrarian society couldn’t sustain anywhere even close to seven billion human beings.


I was half expecting to see the Standard GOP Defense: “Someone, somewhere, is worse than me, so that means I’m not guilty of whatever.” There’s a hint of that in “Obama’s the worst racist of all!” Also, there is an apparent belief that if you can make any response at all, then you’ve taken your turn, and if the other person doesn’t say something back, you just won the debate. All that matters is taking your turn.