Rant on "structural racism"

The following post was inspired by the fine folks at the Atheist & Agnostic listserv:

It seems that everyone who has replied to my recent posts so far is stuck in the racist mindset. Black’s must obviously favor taking all the government’s money and steal…err, “redistributing” it to themselves and letting al the black criminals out of jail, and unenlightened whites who do not realize that they are racist (and just don’t know it) are only interested in keeping their “superior social status” and perpetuating “structural” racism. “Enlightened” whites like the fine young gentlemen debating with me however, have become wise to the situation and engaged in trying to get all the white people to loathe themselves and blame themselves for their ancestors mistakes.

I don’t suppose it has ever crossed your mind that it’s possible to look at people by what they believe in and how they act rather than judging them by factors outside their control. I don’t suppose you would realize that to a color-blind person, (of any race or creed) it doesn’t matter what the race of the criminals in prisons is, as long as they are guilty, and it doesn’t matter what color a college student is, as long as they are qualified.

To a person who views other people as fellow human being, rather than rival racial factions, it is completely irrelevant what the ratios of blacks and whites and Asians in the prison and universities is. To a non-racist, it’s really completely irrelevant what the racial proportions are in any category. Where there are social problems, you address them as social problems, irrelevant of whether they are “black” or “white” problems.

Not being racist yourself is not going to make other’s stop being racist, but it WILL end it on your part. Trying to “compensate” for white racism by encouraging black racism is only going to prove that you still see people as tribes and collectives rather than individuals. Joining the NAACP is only going to show that just like the clansmen of the KKK, you only see colors, not people.

Let me re-emphasize something very important: if you view people as individuals, not races, it is COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT whether “structural” unequalities exist. The entire notion that all institutions should mirror society in their racial proportions is based on the racist idea that race is the primary defining factor of people, not their own identity. Eventually, by teaching others and being an individual yourself, racial divisions in society will disappear. However when or if they do is completely irrelevant, because the whole notion of “getting back” for past discrimination is inherently racist itself. You CANNOT make up for slavery by giving a black man now a job he doesn’t deserve, and you share NO RESPONSIBILITY for past discrimination, EVEN IF you benefit from starting off in a higher position. Two wrongs don’t make a right, especially when you are not “righting” anything by being a bigot yourself.

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