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Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Racism Defined

What is Racism?

I'll answer that question for myself. I trust that any who hope to understand racism will see why I define it thusly:

Racist: Characterized by racism, which is the belief that one's own race is superior to all others, and that with that superiority come certain rights and privileges.

A good example is, of all people, Abraham Lincoln. In his fourth debate with Stephen Douglas, Lincoln argued:
"I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races -- that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."

In March 1860, Lincoln's racism was evident in an address he gave in Hartford, Connecticut:
"I think I would go for enslaving the black man, in preference to being enslaved myself. ... They say that between the nigger and the crocodile they go for the nigger. The proportion, therefore, is, that as the crocodile to the nigger so is the nigger to the white man."

And this, from a man born the same day as Lincoln, but on the other side of the Atlantic:
I could show fight on natural selection having done and doing more for the progress of civilization than you seem inclined to admit.... The more civilized so-called Caucasian races have beaten the Turkish hollow in the struggle for existence. Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilized races throughout the world. At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time, the anthropomorphous apes... will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.
--Charles Darwin in a letter to W. Graham, July 3, 1881

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