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Re: News and Stuff!
Posted by: shriekback
Date: 02/07/2020 23:23
Good morning,
Thank you for your response, you clearly spent a significant amount of time on it.

You're welcome. I teach political philosophy for a living, however, so it took less time than you might think.

The post that you replied to was a response to one
Ecclestone, 89, told CNN that "in lots of cases, black people are more racist than what white people are".
This OK to say Ian??

Where I was asking why what Bernie said was wrong as I genuinely donít understand why others thought that it was wrong and the body of response were the possible reasons that I thought that others may have had for thinking it was wrong.

I'm glad to hear that you were being genuine. Please then read my response again. It might help with your understanding. I'll only address one more part of your response that I think may help further.

You also appeared to have difficulty with the acceptance of social grouping when it didnít suit your case yet were very will to embrace it when it became essential to a meaningful concept of racism.

You are conflating people being put into groups and treated in differentiated ways according to those groupings, and people acting and believing as groups. Of course I embrace the former (not that I approve of it, mind you, but as a fact that is necessary to explain social reality). Of course I reject the latter, at least if the groups in question are "races."

People have been and remain organized into groups via the concept of race. The very concept of race as we are familiar with it today--the assignment of a range of characteristics to a group of people associated with each other through some irrelevant external identifiers such as skin color--was developed precisely in order to justify the enslavement, exploitation, and dispossession of large groups of people who had not previously identified with each other as a group. What are now "Black" people did not identify with each other as having anything meaningful in common (having similar skin color, outside of a racist context, has little meaning) until they were labeled a "race" and treated in a common (and highly oppressive) fashion. Now, of course, in many ways they do identify with each other. What choice have they had? Oppression, exploitation--always backed by violence--will tend to do that.

The concept of race has zero scientific basis. We are a single species and have been divided into "races" as a mechanism of power. Those mechanisms of power have operated such that people do now identify with those categories in many ways. Until those mechanism of power are transformed, we have little choice. I don't wish to positively identify with being "white," but I can't deny that is how I am viewed by others, and with real consequences. If I deny it, I also deny that I enjoy a wide range of (unearned) privileges. Were I to be of African heritage and had dark skin, denying that I was "black" would make it pretty mysterious, for instance, why I find it harder to get bank loans... or why I am way more likely to be imprisoned or even killed by the police.

By the way, much of this differential treatment has little if anything to do with any individual's opinions. That is what the notion of institutional racism is meant to capture. Racism functions much more effectively through tax structures, how funding for educational institutions is organized, etc. than hateful beliefs (in White, Black, or any other "race" of people). The low taxation on inherited wealth in the US, for instance, serves to maintain wealth disproportionately in white families. People may defend it for reasons that have nothing to do with race, but the effects remain highly racialized. It doesn't help the effort to root out that institutional racism when those who play more determining roles in institutions (people like Ecclestone, for example) deny that institutional racism is a reality and prefer to talk instead about their groundless opinions of Black people, i.e. when they are racists.

Nothing in this contradicts my rejection of an attribution of agency to "races" as you seem to suppose. Perhaps one could attribute agency to nations, the French let's say, insofar as they have a government that one could (naively) argue organizes and represents some kind of common will of the people who are granted citizenship in the part of the earth circumscribed and labeled "France." But how, outside of some idiotic racist nonsense, can one claim that Black people, White people, Asian people, etc. in any way act as a group and could be held responsible for their actions? I'm not denying they are responsible for their actions, I'm denying that the question even makes sense because I think it's absurd to attribute acts to such groups. It's a 5-year-old's understanding of social reality.

That is the very gesture of racism, however. A racist, such as Bernie Ecclestone, attributes characteristics and agency to people according to a system of racial identification (organized, again, for the sake of oppression, exploitation, and dispossession). "Blacks people are... " "Black people believe..." "Black people do...". You too seem to embrace this highly problematic way of thinking. If it isn't intentional, if you are genuine in your lack of understanding, then you have some work to do. I sincerely hope your reading this serves as a small start.

Maybe, you guys should carry this argument on via pm instead.


Maybe, you guys could mind your own frivolous business and skip our posts if you don't wish to read them. We are, after all, discussing "News and Stuff" pertinent to F1. Isn't that the purpose of this forum?

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