Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Reverse Discrimination

I'm already posty tonight, and I've been thinking about this all night. It's quite a dangerous topic -- I am aware -- but I just assume that my audience of 5 people is interested enough in free and open inquiry to a degree that any honest discussion is on the table.

That said, "Reverse Racism" does exist, but it's not inherently bad. In my recent Ethnic Studies class, it was explored to fairly a deep level, enough that I felt my thoughts on the matter were somewhat objective, and had nothing to do with the conservative facile definition of such. I want to explore a few things on it:

Minorities in the United States (and everywhere else I would easily grant myself) show social grouping based on race, which is to be expected: I will avoid discussion of the reasons why, but it's a very common and well studied social phenomenon, and like all other "cliques", outsiders are not generally given "the benefit of the doubt". Indeed, this is the cause of a lot of white racism towards minorities -- this goes both ways, obviously. The danger around the observance of "reverse discrimination," is that it ignores the presence of "forward racism". Actually the terms reverse/forward discrimination/racism are really all the same thing - racism.

I believe that the purpose of a lot of acknowledgement/"calling out" of "reverse racism" is to all-out ignore the existence of racism directed by the "majority" to the "minority", and if called to task, I am fairly confident I could show this in argument. This is manifest in the ongoing (and fairly successful) push to eliminate all affirmative action, at least in the U.S., the purpose of which is (maybe "socially Darwinistic" but not in it's historical meaning, more in a meaning of an actual application of natural selection to self-categorization theory) to keep the dominant/majority race in their position (dehumanize people, and they see themselves as less human) or at least, status.

Any Darwinism is to be applied post hoc, and is intended to be a way of understanding, not as an "excuse" for any action (For a very nuanced argument of why, see Sam Harris' The Moral Landscape -- this isn't explored directly, but is easily concluded). I felt I needed to clear that up to avoid some terrible labels.

We're all racist (No, I am not saying that to excuse anything, it's merely a fact. I'd link you to the compelling study involving hand skin color, but I can't find any useful links), but this is another survival mechanism (10,000 years ago, I'd be afraid of a group of people looking different than me, especially after the other group that looked different from me killed everyone in my village) we've acquired along our evolutionary path; and awareness is key to the defeat of its prevalence in the same way "wanting to have sex with someone" isn't necessarily bad, but rape is, in all of its forms, absolutely morally bad (however from an application of Darwinism, explicable and productive.)

I understand why minorities can be "racist" (in the "bad" sense of the term), I also understand why it's bad:

1. It perpetuates the conservative pseudo-dialog on race relations
2. It's hypocritical
3. It feeds an endless loop of escalation

But I empathize because:

1. I catch myself racially generalizing
2. Minorities receive it all day, every day
3. Turnabout is fair play

Minorities shouldn't be expected to "just take it" and not respond in kind, this is the whole "turn the other cheek" thing (something that is not bad, but nearly impossible to always do), instead we should all be expected to accept the fact of inherent racism (A side effect of natural selection), acknowledge it, and attempt to suppress it in the spirit of its defeat. People can say whatever the fuck they want to me, I'll take it and then think on it later. Once racism is defeated by the majority, I would assume the minority would follow suit.

I don't get upset by the microscopic amount of racism I receive, it just reminds me that it exists, and people suffer from it all the time. This breaks my heart. It really breaks my heart that "white people" direct hatred to minorities, and the same goes vice versa. I've glossed over the other types of discrimination in this, however, it should apply the same in most/all cases of discrimination (sexual, sexual preference, religious, etc).

If we didn't have eyes, we'd discriminate by sound, feel, taste (weird) or (not an exclusive or) smell.


No comments: