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Racism is rational (1 Viewer)

Racism and sexism can be rational
Let me begin by saying that this post is not intended as a defence of racism as a phenomena, but a suggestion of a different approach to this issue. I know this is highly controversial to many, but I must insist on a sober debate.

My claim is: Racism and sexism can be rational, therefore we shouldn't focus on the exercising of racism and sexism - but rather the objective structures that leads to the exercising in the ways we find unjust.

Why is this?
We humans are both racist and sexist in many ways, of which some are problematized.

Example of legit racism:
Suppose you were to bet money on a runner in a race, and you are being presented for two options: a black man, and a caucasian man. You are given no further information, but their skin color. You know that black men, statistically, are better runners than white men because of genetic reasons. Therefore you pick the black man, as this would be the rational choice.
This is clearly only logical and rational.
However, what many don't recognize is that it is clearly racism - but that doesn't mean that it is problematic.

We can be racist and sexist, without it being problematized.

What is problematic then?
Claims of racism and sexism are often made in cases where a person has has negative inclinations associated to his/her skincolor.

Example of illegitimate racism:
A company is hiring, and is receiving way too many applicants. In order to optimize their time usage, they're trying to sort off a great bunch as fast as possible (without thoroughly reading all applicants CV, that is).
This is a likely situation, and a rational approach to the situation - no issues so far.

In order to do this, the recruiters look for symbols of whether or not this candidate might be suited for the job.
Symbols in this case could be: education, age, # of previous workplaces, GPA, and race and sex.

All of the first symbols are legit for the recruiters to look at is legit (although some people talk about ageism), and there is consensus about that it is fair to treat people differently (call in for a review or not) according to those factors.
Somehow race, sex (and age) isn't.

Why is that?
Race, sex, age, sexuality, height etc. are biological attributes that the individual does not have a possibility to affect.
Therefore it is not fair to treat the individual different, on behalf of something which is out of his/her control.

Seems fair enough, right?
Yes, but there's a problem with the "Just stop being racist everyone".

What is the problem?
The problem can be illustrated by the former example of the company hiring:
In order to improve efficiency, they discard all applications from people named "Muhammed" or anything else sounding middle -eastern.
They do this, because they know that people from the middle-east (in general) are less educated and in other ways less appropriate for the job.
Therefore, it is a rational choice to do so - even though there might have been some good, well-educated Muhammed's in between.

This is obviously problematic in many ways;
  • It's unfair to Muhammed.
  • This might have a self-enforcing effect, if other companies think alike Muhammed will stay unemployed and thus when someone actually cares to read his resume, it will be blank.
  • The company might not get the best applicants.
  • And the list goes on...

So how do we solve it?
The problem is located in the relation between the racist (in this case the company) and the radicalized (in this case Muhammed).
Prima facie, this leads to two possible solutions:
  • Blame the racist for the problem (blame the company)
  • Blame the racialized (blame Muhammed)

Most people would say that this is an easy call, and that you should blame the racist (blame to company).
Now, let me suggest a third way:
  • Blame neither (or both)

The racist can be blamed for it's racism, as it was only rational.
The radicalized can't be blamed for having his application discarded, as it was the result of the other Muhammeds/people from the middle-east, who have made it rational for the company to discard his application.

Therefore, let's all take on a responsibility.
By blaming the racist (as we currently are, in all cases of racism), we are forcing actors to act irrational - which is sub-optimal, as it will continue striving against our inituition, and we won't be able to abandon our preconceived notions of people with different races, sexes and sexualities, before all of these groups are homogenous (which they won't be for long).

Instead, let's focus on removing the statistical tendency for people of middle-eastern heritage to be more criminal, more reliant on public services, less democratic, against equality among the sexes and so on - in that way, the non-criminal, hard-working and enlightened, integrated people from the middle-east, africa, mexico and so on will stop facing racism from their workplaces.

Don't blame people for rational racism/sexism/ageism, blame the objective structures (statistics) that makes racist/sexist/other behaviour rational. That's the only way to get to the root of the problem. The alternative is just treating symptoms - and eventually, the patient will die.

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