Saturday, 19 October 2019

Anti-white rhetorical technique

The claim is sometimes made that it is impossible for black people to be racist, because racism is an exercise of power, and white people have all the power.

This is nonsense, and obviously so. Of course it is possible for a black person to assault a white person for no reason other than his race. Racial bigotry does not have to be complicated.

The specific claim that racism is always an exercise of power is as wrong as the claim that rape is about power (instead of sexual pleasure and the evolutionary imperative towards reproduction). Racism can be simple bigotry.

The specific claim that white people have all the power in a nebulous "structural" way is false. Power is not held by "white people" as a class. One white person can have less power than one black person.

The claim that only whites can be racist is really a rhetorical technique to get white people to shut up and accept racism against them, whether it be personal bigotry and violence, or a political attempt to take money and property from white people as a class, or "positive discrimination" and "affirmative action" against white people.

Publicly identifying it as purely a rhetorical technique and not a serious idea robs it of some of its power.


  1. I’d treat this as a religious question. I don’t believe in Catholicism, and so it would be odd for me to be worried about at what point during a mass the wafer becomes the body of Christ. I might dispute whether the wafer ever does that at all, but I wouldn’t be worried about the particulars—nor would I care how many times and for what a person should go to confession.

    Racism is part of progressive ideology—a secular religion—and, just like Catholicism, I don’t believe in progressivism. I think, therefore, there’s no point in contesting the particulars of something I don’t believe in (“What about the racism done to me?”).

    I can say to a Catholic: “I don’t believe in Catholicism, but I respect your belief in it.” I can say to a progressive: “I don’t believe in racism, but I respect your belief in it.” This, I think, opens up space with productive discussion. We can then ask questions about what “Christianity” and “racism” means to that person without being engaged in a moralised game of who is “good”.

  2. 'I can say to a progressive: “I don’t believe in racism, but I respect your belief in it.”'

    Have you tried this rhetorical strategy? Does it work?

    I suspect not. The problem is we do need a word for racial bigotry, for example hatred of whites. "Racism" can refer to racial bigotry, and also to prog religious beliefs such as "structural racism". That's the problem with motte and bailey arguments, you can't refute them by denying the bailey.

  3. I have engaged a person who claimed to abominate “scientific racism” (their term for HBD) in this way. The result was an engagement in which he eventually admitted that he thought that the conclusions reached by HBD research are true, but that this wasn’t a hill worth dying on. In other words, he agreed the ideas were true but couldn’t say so out loud because it would result in becoming a social pariah or reaching what he regarded to be immoral conclusions.

    I haven’t engaged someone purely in a discussion of racism in this way, so perhaps that would be a disaster. I don’t know.

    I think that removing error is better than actively proposing a solution. I don’t believe in progressivism, so by engaging in Socratic dialogue with another person I can at least make them less rigid in their beliefs (I have no beliefs myself) and so begin to question progressivism. If I come at them “closed”—trying to win an argument as if before an audience (rhetoric)—I think they (and I) harden in their beliefs.

    I saw another post where you delineated between “scientific racism”, racial bigotry, and the other ways “racism” is used. That was very accurate, and I agree that the ambiguity as to what it meant by racism is part of why it is so controversial as a topic. I think that the ambiguity is deliberately encouraged by progressives so as to preserve the term as a moral bludgeon against people who disagree with them.

    Why do we need a word for racial bigotry?

  4. Well, maybe it is about exercising power.

    I don't mean political or economic power, any power will do. So one big strong black guy can beat up a weedy white guy simply for being white. In that situation, the big black guy has the physical power.

    A Chinese kid at a majority Pakistani school is definitely going to be subject to racism by the majority Pakistani kids, even though they hold no political or economic power whatsoever, and so on.