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Race realism

politicalwords

To be realistic & understand that stereotypes within each race exist for a reason and are usually backed by hard data. To understand that although facts surrounding a particular race can sometimes be hard to hear, it’s still a fact, therefore it is more valid than how you feel.
► Urban Dictionary, definition 1

A term used by idiots to justify racial generalizations against nonwhites by using out-of-context statistics and pseudoscientific studies. The overwhelming consensus among evolutionary scientists is that zero evidence exists of inherent behavioral, intellectual, or anatomical differences between races. But don’t tell that to the idiot race realist; it will hurt his ego and his false sense of superiority.
► Urban Dictionary, definition 2

The overarching reality of race shows slippery and elusive it is. Barack Obama has typically been described as the first black president of the United States, and photos of him appear to confirm that; but he’s actually bi-racial. And that makes him not at all unusual in the racially complex United States (not to mention the world).

“Individuals often share more genes with members of other races than with members of their own race,” Gavin Evans, who has written extensively on genetics and race, wrote in 2018.2 “Indeed, many academics have argued that race is a social construct – which is not to deny that there are groups of people (‘population groups’, in the scientific nomenclature) that share a high amount of genetic inheritance. Race science therefore starts out on treacherous scientific footing.”

If you want a rationalization for something, notably an argument or data point that makes yourself look better, you usually can find it, especially in the age of the internet. But the search for justifications for racial superiority goes back to ancient times, and continued through human history, reaching perhaps its peak of awfulness in the Nazi holocaust.

What is now called “race realism” is sometimes presented as a non-racist way of looking at race, but in practice usually is a more centrist-friendly term for the former “scientific racism.” And that, Wikipedia reports, is “the pseudoscientific belief that empirical evidence exists to support or justify racism (racial discrimination), racial inferiority, or racial superiority. Historically, scientific racist ideas received credence in the scientific community but are no longer considered scientific.”

If this had no specific social or political connection it might not really matter very much; but those connections are significant, and long have been. It is a central project of spokesmen “alt-right” (which see), which as Evans noted “like to use pseudoscience to lend intellectual justification to ethno-nationalist politics. If you believe that poor people are poor because they are inherently less intelligent, then it is easy to leap to the conclusion that liberal remedies, such as affirmative action or foreign aid, are doomed to fail.”

Attitudes about race, as about many other things, are not, as it were, black and white, but exist through endless shades of gray. The range of people who accept hard white supremacy is small, but larger segments do agree with pieces of what supremacists have to say, and more skilled communicators in the new millennium have been targeted those softer ideas to try to advance their overall racist agenda.

In his last book, Martin Luther King, Jr., argued that “To live with the pretense that racism is a doctrine of a very few is to disarm us in fighting it frontally as scientifically unsound, morally repugnant and socially destructive. The prescription for the cure rests with the accurate diagnosis of the disease.”

Then there’s also a very different concept: racial realism. Turning the first word into an adjective made quite a difference.

One 2013 book4 argues that “Race is now relevant not only in negative cases of discrimination, but in more positive ways as well. In today’s workplace, employers routinely practice ‘racial realism,’ where they view race as real – as a job qualification. Many believe employee racial differences, and sometimes immigrant status, correspond to unique abilities or evoke desirable reactions from clients or citizens. They also see racial diversity as a way to increase workplace dynamism. The problem is that when employers see race as useful for organizational effectiveness, they are often in violation of civil rights law.”

Shorter: It’s not a subject we can avoid.
 

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