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md_ wrote (edited )

Racism means nothing more than discrimination or prejudice based on race. Of course racism against white people is practically non-existent, but it is nonetheless the definition of the word.

This is the part where a lot of people criticise you for.

First, appeals to the dictionary are not by themselves enough to establish something. The dictionary, even if it's the most descriptive (and they often aren't), and the most up-to-date with current usage (again, they mostly aren't), it's still not going to include nuanced analysis of political concepts. It's not a dictionary's job to do that.

Racism, in the sense most of us here seem to understand it, is not "discrimination against a person or a group of people, based on race". It's a system that uses discrimination and biases, to benefit another group, the privileged group in a given context. (For a similar example, see "patriarchy". It's not a refutation of the critique of patriarchy to point out that there are women prime-ministers and CEOs).

Just bias and discrimination are not racism. You also need the power to turn that discrimination in a benefit for your own "group". It's pretty clear how colonialism used "race science" to extract value from most places of the world that weren't Western Europe.

Now, for what it's worth, I want to share a point-of-view from my region, which is at a grey zone between the West and "the rest of the world". Racism truly doesn't have to use the abstraction of "race" to do its job - it does so in the West and its settler-colonies like the US of course. But where I live, there's systematic exploitation of undeniably white-skinned blue-eyed people (from the post-USSR countries) by a clearly non-white masters. And there's no Nazi Germany like "Slavs are not actually white" justification at play, it's just that a different abstraction is used as a justification. Etymologically the word racism might be confusing, but words don't mean what their parts mean (see butterfly).


dele_ted wrote

That's a simple matter of definitions. Words have different meanings in different parts of the world and in different communities, and in the case of "racism", as all of this proves, the differences can be pretty vast.

To me, the example you're giving is very clearly racism. I've never known anyone (IRL, that is) who understood the word racism as what you're describing. If that's what the word means to most people here, then I see why they're pissed at me - I would be, too. But please remember that we are not all the same, to me racism has always meant just what i described above. We are not some uniform mass, and I'm fucking glad we aren't.


Pop wrote

Your profile is six months old

how in that time you have maintained your racist definition of racism is something i'd b quite interested to learn


md_ wrote

If in a conversation we do not agree on the definitions of our terms, we will never get anywhere. And if you insist on not accepting the definition of the people you are conversing with, you will never understand their arguments.

We can call that system of exploitation "Jonathanism" if you want though (although I don't know what have Jonathans done to deserve this), if it helps us actually have the discussion we want to have ("is making fun on white/straight people in a Western context problematic?").


dele_ted wrote

I'm not insisting on disagreeing on a simple word, it's just never occured to me that racism means something completely different in this community. I'll gladly adopt your definitions if it helps me communicate with other people here.

Thanks for taking your time to explain it, I've rewritten my definition of racism.


[deleted] wrote


dele_ted wrote

Of course i have. Some words have different meanings in different regions.