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Accusations of Racism
Posted by: Jon Henke on Thursday, April 24, 2008

Mike Turk has a sad story of racism.

On one hand, I think it illustrates how far we've come from the days when racism was far worse, but when society did far less to reject it.

On the other hand, I worry that it also illustrates how far we're going in the wrong direction. While we have generally succeeded in making racism socially unacceptable, the presence of that social stigma has produced a destructive tendency to cheapen the social stigma as many indiscriminately and inappropriately cry 'racism' with little regard for substantive evidence or for the seriousness of the charge. That kind of behavior cheapens the charge, ultimately reducing the power of the social stigma against racism.

And so, instead of spending our social capital fighting real racism, you get stupid situations like the one described by Turk.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

The ironic thing is that it is self-perpetuating. It seems to me, this woman sees herself as "black" first and foremost, and thus assumes that’s the first thing other people see too, even (no, especially) other black people. She sees the other two guys waiting as "white" first and foremost. Then, when something bad happens to her, like she doesn’t get the cab she wants, she assumes that it is due to the first and foremost characteristic. But her focus on race, and her assumption that racial perceptions (you know, the part of you that says "oh, that lady is black") overpower all other perceptions/beliefs/decisions, that perpetuates the treating of individuals as merely representatives of their race.

I don’t think humans will ever get past the racial perception I mentioned above, because it’s just like the part of you that notices (not fixates, notices) "hey, that girl is tall" or "boy, does this guy’s breath stink". It’s the assumption that people cannot get PAST that point that sucks and, nowadays, is probably an unfair assumption to make of someone you’ve never met.
Written By: Bench
URL: http://
a destructive tendency to cheapen the social stigma as many indiscriminately and inappropriately cry ____....
A while back I took exception to your use of Gulag to describe Gitmo. While an alluring rhetorical device, especially when you are not generating the passion within your audience you think requisite, this argumentative simile ultimately does disservice to your own own argument.

By comparing Guantanamo to the Soviet gulag system, you did not, as was your intention, worsen our perception of Gitmo, rather you softened the horrors of the real gulag system.
Written By: bains
URL: http://
Surprised the ’sexist’ charge wasn’t used as well, since there is a stereotype of women being poor tippers.
Written By: DouginIndy
URL: http://
At the risk of being called a racist, I’ve this year, most especially thanks to Obama’s pastor and church, that blacks are just way too sensitive to racism that really doesn’t exist or is so mild that it is unrecognizable.

This story puts in in a nutshell.
Written By: Neo
URL: http://

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