On implicit racism

LIBERAL (a bit of a straw-man perhaps, but representative):  White people are all racists.  And they control everything and use their privilege to keep the black man down.  Republicans are the racist party who defend white privilege.

ME: But Republicans say they believe in racial equality and abhor discrimination.

LIBERAL: They’re lying.

ME:  How do you know?

LIBERAL:  They send coded racist messages to their followers.  They say they’re talking about “crime” or “immigration” or “multiculturalism”, but we know what they mean.

ME:  Suppose that’s true.  Suppose people vote for Republicans because they like the (implicitly) racist message.  Why be so subtle about it?  Why not openly advertise that they’re the racist party?  After all, whites are the majority, and you’ve said they’re all racist.  You’d think open racism would be a real vote-getter.

LIBERAL:  Whites are racists, but they’re afraid to admit it openly.  That’s why Republicans don’t openly espouse racism, and voters don’t openly vote for them for this reason.

ME:  Then I have two questions for you.  First, if whites control everything and manipulate everything to promote racism, what are racist whites afraid of?  If it’s a racist establishment, why should they expect anything bad to happen to them for being open racists?  Second, aren’t you bothered that, by your own admission, the majority of the electorate feels intimidated and terrorized so that it can’t openly express its true beliefs?  How do you square that with your belief in free exchange of ideas and with democracy?  We’re not even talking about just a few people feeling they can’t freely say what they believe.  If you’re right that most whites are closet racists, it’s the majority of the citizenry that feels that way.  Which brings me back to my first question.  If the establishment is racist, and you liberals are daring rebels, what force is it that’s holding the white majority in fear?

15 Responses

  1. A neat exchange, although in real life I doubt whether the Liberal would ever allow things to get that far without an ad hominem attack or running away with fingers in ears, humming.

    It’s almost as if Liberalism was… *dishonest*, isn’t it (apologies for using such language).

    Coercive dishonesty: that’s what we live under.

    It’s bad for the soul, very.

  2. The key misrepresentation in your Liberal straw man is that they believe all Whites are racist. Whether it is “all”, “most”, or “some”, hardly matters to them. Their attitude and program would remain exactly the same.

    In fact, at this point, sophisticated anti-White rhetoric focuses on righting historical wrongs. In other words, it doesn’t matter if any Whites today are racist or not. Punishment must be visited for the crimes of the ancestors.

  3. Is there an award for “the biggest strawman ever constructed” that you’re competing for? Because if so — start writing the names of relatives to thank on your note card.

  4. But liberals do regularly make all of the claims I attributed to “LIBERAL”. They just space them out so that the contradictions aren’t so obvious.

  5. dan is a good example of what this post is discussing about. He flew into typical liberal response.

  6. Not quite true, Dan. The fact is that there are some liberals who do argue like this. What Bonald is guilty of is not creating a straw man, but attacking his opponents’ arguments in their weakest form, which isn’t quite the same thing. Frankly, we all do this sometimes – writers like Aquinas who are generous to their opponents’ arguments are the exception, not the rule.

  7. What I think I’m guilty of is throwing together the most extreme statements by *different* liberals, so that they would lead to obvious contradictions. I expect most intelligent liberals would assent to only some of the statements I put into my opponent’s mouth, and he would soften others so that necessary contradiction is avoided. But different liberals would soften different statements. So, for example, there are some liberals who would say that all (or most) whites are racist in some sense, and there are some who would say that racist whites keep their true beliefs secret out of fear, but the smarter ones would be careful not to assert both.

  8. Weirdly, I’m kind of with Dan. In one sense, I want to refrain from sinning. In another sense, I want to sin. There are plenty of people and institutions in the world which encourage me to sin while denying that they are doing so—so that they can appeal to my desire to sin without running afoul of my desire to not sin. In recent decades, they mostly don’t even try to deny, but that is another matter. For the multicult, racism is the ultimate sin. This seems to me to explain their views in a way which is understandable to any Catholic. No?

    What’s faulty is the theory of mind implicitly behind the dialogue. I don’t perceive myself or others as having the kind of integrated, fully rational, univocal mind that the dialogue seems to suggest we all agree is characteristic of humans.

  9. So your idea is that liberals think that conservatives and Republicans agree that racism is a great sin, but it’s one that they’re tempted to anyway, and what makes someone a Republican or a conservative is that they have weak wills, and they give in to the temptation? I admit that I’ve never considered racism (including all the many things liberals regard as racism) to be like a sin of weakness, but I’m open to new ways of thinking about it. Right now, it seems to me impossible for a rational human to assert all of the characteristically liberal beliefs about racism.

  10. @ Bonald

    I’ve read your blog every now and then and it’s my first time commenting here. I usually comment at Traditional Catholicism.

    I just wanted to give you guys a heads up, dan is a liberal-bitch who trolls traditional and conservative sites. Don’t give him any heed. Besides, he completely illustrated bgc’s point. dan had an emotional little spat and then ran away with his fingers in his ears.

  11. The thing is, I truly doubt that most whites are racists. Of all racial/ethnic groups, whites(especially in America, including/especially the conservative Christian ones) show the least amounts of ethno-centrism.

    Unneccessarily punishing whites will only lead to a severe backlash. Something liberals are just too stupid to understand.

  12. What opened my eyes to the fact that something wasn’t quite right with what we are taught about race and racism in the schools, media, etc., was when I encountered anti-racism among people who were supposed to be conservative Christians and realized that they were treating racism, for which no word even existed until very recently, as being a greater sin than the Seven Deadly Sins or any sin actually named as such in the Holy Bible. That got me thinking about the liberal anti-racism that has been so effectively shoved down most of our throats that we do not realize how abnormal it is, from the perspective of historical ethics. For liberal anti-racism to be ethically correct we would have to say that people of the late 20th-21st Centuries are by far the moral superiors of every generation of human beings prior to them. That however, is the exact opposite of the reality of the world in which we live.

  13. Sorry to be so long in replying, family obligations called (pleasant ones). When I was a grad student, I read the undergraduate newspaper. One day, there was an editorial. The editor told the story of how she returned to her dorm after class and, passing by the lounge, witnessed a black janitor sitting and watching TV. “Lazy so-and-so,” she said to herself. What followed was an excruciating, scrupulous examination of conscience which concluded with the observations that racism is a built-in temptation to evil which it is our duty always to be on guard against, both in ourselves and others.

    Back in the 90s, it was a commonplace observation among right-wingers that the multicult had this disturbing secular, public confessional character. Like Maoist self-criticism circles.

    Multicultists see the R party (i.e. the leadership) as a sort of Hugh Heffner. R exists to sell racism softly, softly. To make money from the tension between the thrill of doing evil and the desire to preserve bourgeois respectability. I only read it for the articles, etc. Observe how excited multicultists are to tell people about Lee Atwater and about Nixon’s Southern Strategy.

    It seems to me that I run into truly lunatic multicultists less often that I used to. The blogger James Donald describes this as our multicult totalitarianism decaying into its Breshnev phase—nobody actually believes the religion any more, but intertia and lack of any better ideas cause it to plod along.

  14. The thing is, I truly doubt that most whites are racists. Of all racial/ethnic groups, whites(especially in America, including/especially the conservative Christian ones) show the least amounts of ethno-centrism.
    Unneccessarily punishing whites will only lead to a severe backlash. Something liberals are just too stupid to understand.

    Hi. Liberal here. 2 things:
    1. Yes, I do believe white people are racist. But I believe this racism is implicit- meaning it’s based on those half-second “intuitive” responses we have when we first meet people. Yes, I think republicans are racist. But so are democrats. I believe in “implicit racism” because I’ve read of multiple studies in which people were shown to react more negatively to black faces when they didn’t have enough time to control their reactions. In one particular study, participants were shown a video of COPS where the race of the person being arrested was unclear. They were then shown two photos of the supposed criminal, (for half, he was white, for half, he was black). They were told about his past, including that he was a family man, but had a criminal record. When given the same information, participants showed higher approval of his arrest and a stronger conviction that he should be punished for his crime when the man in the photo was black.
    Also, what are you defining as ethnocentrism?

  15. That looks like a chicken-and-egg issue. Do study participants react more negatively to blacks because blacks are more violent and more criminal than whites (on average), or are blacks more criminal and more violent because people treat poorly?

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