What has racism got to do with your freedom? If you are truly a free individual, racism is not a problem for you personally, but the world you live in is populated mostly with those who are not free and who are racists—and most of them do not know it. Those who are not free regard your freedom as some kind of threat. Of course you are not threat to anyone, but being free means you do not belong to or support their favorite group, ideology, party, or movement and, being racists, they regard anyone not part of their personal collective as dangerous and evil. Racism is one of their most useful tools of oppression. It is necessary to understand how the world uses racism so you can protect your freedom from their oppression.
What Is Racism
The recognition of differences in individual human beings, such as the fact they come in an almost endless variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, speak different languages, dress differently, have different interests and abilities, and behave differently is not racism. Racism, in fact, obscures individual differences to identify individuals in terms of some class or category based on similarities.
In the broadest sense, racism is the identification of human beings as members of some collective or group: a race, nationality, ethnicity, sex, class, or category based on anything from physical characteristics to mental ability. It is when any such categorization is used as the basis for judging the value or virtue of individuals the classification becomes racism. Whenever an individual is judged to be inferior or accused of any negative trait because they are identified as a member of some class of human beings, that is racism.
Not every classification of individuals is racism, however, even when the classification is used to denigrate individuals. Those who are classified as rapists, con artists, thieves, vandals, and murderers, because that is what they are, for example, is not racism. What distinguishes racist classifications from all others is that the defining attribute or distinguishing relationships on which the classification is based is something about which the individuals have no choice. No one chooses what country they are born in, who or what their parents are, their stature, their sex, their physiology, physiognomy, or complexion.
What makes all racism insidiously evil is it's unjust evaluation of individuals on the basis of their assignment to some group or collective which they never chose. What any individual is, their virtue and value as a human being, is determined solely by what that individual chooses and does with their own life. Where one is born, who one's parents are, one's physical characteristics and abilities are only resources. It is what an individual chooses to do with whatever life provides that determines who and what that individual is.
That is why a free individual has no interest in where anyone is born, what their physical characteristics are, what sex they are or anything else about them that is not the direct consequence of what those individuals have chosen and done with their own lives. Many others also believe they are not racist, because they believe they only judge others as individuals, but most are actually racist in another much more subtle and radical way.
Racism, Positive And Negative
It is the negative aspects of racism that are usually addressed, because the injustice of a negative judgment of anyone based solely on that about which one has no choice is obvious, though, in spite of that obviousness, most people do hold views that judge others in such terms. As absurd and evil as that negative racism is, there is a much more common and insidious kind of racism which is the basis of such dangerous views as tribalism, nationalism, and balkanism.
That worse kind of racism is positive racism. It is the converse of negative racism. It is the view that one's own value, virtue, and purpose in life is derived by one's membership in or association with some class, collective, or group. Positive racism is much broader than negative racism. It includes all those who are, "proud," to be a particular race, nationality, or sex.
In these days, positive racism is described as that which makes a person, "matter," implying that one's importance, significance, value, or virtue is determined by being a member of a certain race, or having a certain ethnic background, or being descended from certain heirs, or being a particular sex. Unlike negative racism, positive racism includes identification with chosen, as well as unchosen, associations, like being a member of a religion, political party, ideology, movement, organization, or some cultural or social class. While any of those might influence an individual's choices and actions, it is not one's behavior, but the mere fact one is member of a specific class or category of individuals that determines their significance, importance, or value apart from any actual choices or actions or what they actually are.
While most positive racists do not recognize their own racism, and may believe they oppose negative racism, their belief that there superior value and virtue, derived from their membership in some collective category or class, automatically relegates all those who are not members of their own group, class, category, or party, to some inferior class or category.
What's Wrong With Racism
On every page of history and all our daily news there are examples of the kind horrors and outrages attributed to racism, especially today. Why racism itself is wrong and why so much evil is produced by it is never really identified. Much of the criticism of racist acts are as racist in their criticism as the presumed racist acts themselves.
Racism, which is an irrational evaluation of individuals based on no objective foundation and driven entirely by prejudiced classifications of individuals is not itself a cause racist acts. What anyone thinks or believes does not make what they do either right or wrong. If one holds wrong views and their actions are determined by those views, the consequent actions will be wrong, but human beings have a great capacity for acting capriciously and hypocritically. No matter how much one judges others as evil or despises them, if they do not actually take any action that harms other, their racism only harms themselves.
Just because one has irrational views about others is not harmful to others. Only when those irrational views are accompanied by force and used to oppress others is racism a real threat to problem to anyone other than the racists themselves. It is always when actions of some agency of force, a gang or a government, is guided by racist ignorance that racism becomes a real danger to others.
How To Deal With Racists
All racism is a kind of gross ignorance and like all ignorance is a huge impediment to the life of those who suffer from it. It cripples one's ability to judge other human beings objectively and limits one's ability to interact benevolently with them, socially or in business. Since almost everyone is racist, if not a negative racist, than at least a positive racist, it is necessary to know how to deal with racism when it is encountered.
Everyone is subject being treated irrationally by racists, but racist bigotry and prejudice cannot harm the free individual, unless that racism is expressed as a physical threat, which is actually quite unlikely. For the free individual, other's racism is never a direct threat or problem but may be a barrier to a benevolent relationship. Since that barrier is only on the side of the racist, it is only the racist's problem and his loss.
Since the free individual only relates to others as individuals and only judges others based on their actual choices and behavior, enjoying and appreciating the uniqueness of every individual without any irrational prejudice, the very idea of racism or judging of others on the basis of any non-objective basis is both abhorrent. Unfortunately, you will find racism in some form in almost all others. It should neither shock or surprise you but only be regarded as just another form of the almost universal condition of human ignorance, along with all other superstitious beliefs, like their religions, ideologies, and political views.
How other's choose to think, believe, and conduct their life is their business, and so long as it does not directly interfere in yours, you only need to be aware of what other's irrationality might lead them to do that might be a direct threat to you. Racism will never be cured, just as superstition will never be cured. Mencken was right. "The costliest of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true—it is the chief occupation of mankind."