Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Post Racial Society

Dinesh D'Souza's latest article applauds the election of Obama. Not because he thinks Obama will be a good President (he doesn't) but because the election of Obama proves that racism is a thing of the past. In a sense he's right; it certainly represents a big step forward for African Americans. However he then ruins it by talking about rational vs. irrational discrimination.
One of the new terms that The End of Racism coined was the idea of “rational discrimination.” The basic idea here is that there are two kinds of discrimination: one is based on prejudice, and the other is based on conclusions. If groups are hated just for their skin color, then this is irrational discrimination. But if groups provoke hostility on account of their behavior, then this is rational discrimination. The implication of this idea is that it is not racist to be wary of African Americans who behave badly, as long as you are well disposed toward African Americans who conduct themselves admirably.
Codswallop. The question isn't how do you treat black people you know act badly or black people you know act admirably; it's how do you treat black people you don't know. That's what prejudice means; you prejudge people. Obviously you are not required to associate with someone you consider dangerous or annoying or insufferable. The question is - what do you do if you see a Black Person you don't know? Or if you interview for a job a Black Person you don't know? Or a loan application? How does rational discrimination work if you don't have a basis from which to make an informed decision?

1 comment:

Bryant said...

I found my world, found my world in you
But your love just hasn't proved true
I'm twenty miles out of town in cold irons bound
Twenty miles out of town in cold irons bound