Monday, September 11, 2017

Race is real, racism is not

A reader sends this essay:
Racism Is Real. Race Is Not. ...

What justifies the continued use of racial classification? Nothing, or so I argue in Replacing Race, an open-access article published recently in the philosophy journal Ergo.

I argue that there are no races, only racialised groups – groups that have been misunderstood as biological races. ...

This is not merely an opinion. From a scientific perspective, the best candidate for a synonym for “race” is “subspecies” (the classification level below “species” in biology). When scientists apply the standard criteria to determine whether there are subspecies/races in humans, none are found. In chimpanzees yes, but in humans no.

Racial classification is unscientific. ...

“Race” is not needed for purposes of social justice. ...

The ConversationWe need to be talking about racism, racialisation, and racialised groups, not “race”.
Here is what a leftist evolutionist says, while also giving a partial defense of a Marxist denial of race:
Edwards asked “Can individual humans be assigned to races from genetic data?”, or, alternatively, “Can human races be diagnosed (in the taxonomic sense of subspecies)?” The answer is yes, they can. ...

Lewontin and Edwards agree on the moral equality of human beings; Edwards just doesn’t want that moral equality to depend on any contingent facts of genetic similarity. Lewontin wouldn’t want it to, either, but sees the high genetic similarity among human races (genetic similarity is much lower among races in some other species) as empirical reinforcement for his moral conclusion.
I think the problem here is that the much-hated Richard Spencer gives an argument:
Race is real.
Race matters.
He prefers to live in a white ethnostate.
These leftists do not want to deal with the rest of his argument, so they just try to cut it off at the start, and pretend race is not real.

So race is real, according to science, popular culture, and common sense. But what about the other half of the claim in the above paper, and "racism is real"? No support is offered for that conclusion at all.

I have come to the conclusion that racism is not real. There is no generally accepted definition of it. Some say that reciting demographic or scientific facts about racial groups is racist, and some don't. Some say that failing to affirmatively equalize all groups in society is racist, some don't. Some say it is racist for races to live separately, some say it is racist for them to live together. Some say that it is racist to say "black lives matter", while others say that it is racist to say "all lives matter".

In most cases, "racist" is just a meaningless epithet, like "jerk" or "nazi". Nobody says it as part of an intellectual conversation. Racism does not exist, except for name-calling.

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