- Politics and Social Issues»
- Social Issues
Racial vs. Racist
"Racial" is not (necessarily) "racist"
The word "racial" is used to describe things pertaining to the social category of "race". As such, surveys that track race-group representation in employment and higher education, or research that examines the effect of perpetrator's or victim's race on sentencing are clearly "racial" in nature.Whether such surveys are also "racist" depends on how the information is used. If the information is used to oppress or otherwise deride a racial group or elevate a more powerful racial group, it is racist. In contrast, if the goal is to track racial data in order to ensure racial equity, then the racial data are not only not racist, they are, in my way of thinking, anti-racist.
I apply the same distinction to humor. Jokes that seek to put a racial outgroup down are, in my way of thinking, racist. Those that make fun of racial dynamics, racial stereotypes, or even racial inequality are not.
Not everyone agrees with this distinction. Racial neoconservatives (those that present a color-blind ideology) tend to categorize any acknowledgment of race as "racism."
From my perspective, this is a disingenuous and calculated response that is actually "racist" in nature, because its purpose is to obscure the racial inequity present in our society by making such record keeping taboo and silencing the activists that would bring such data to public attention.