Unmasking Color Racism

Dialogue and Universalism 31 (1):41-67 (2021)
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Abstract

One reason Aristotle is distinguished as a philosopher is that he thought the philosopher investigated the causes of things. This paper raises the question: What are the causes of racial prejudice and racial discrimination. All ethical beings know that racial prejudice and racial discrimination are morally wrong, deplorable and should be completely eradicated. Deanna Jacobsen Koepke refers to Holt’s definitions in distinguishing racism from prejudice: “Racism is defined as hostility toward a group of people based on alleged inferiorities. Racism is a system of power and privilege that is at the foundation of society’s structures rather than prejudice, which is a hostile attitude toward a person based on trait he or she is assumed to have due to group membership.” This concept squarely places racism as the culprit to be extinguished. In this article, it is to be argued that to define racism as the target is only to observe the manifest phenomenon. The argument of the article is that racial prejudice and discrimination rest upon four pillars: political, economic, social and cultural. For simplicity of explanation, the social and cultural pillars shall be considered under the category of the political pillar, although the distinction between these pillars shall be noted. This article argues that these four pillars themselves, rest upon a foundation. The foundation is the deep psychological fear of the current, existing dominant economic group that the current existing dominated minority group will eventually usurp the power of the dominant economic group. The manifest form that this type of fear assumes is racial prejudice and discrimination. In its most extreme forms it then manifests as hate speech, hate action, hate brutality and hate murder.2 These manifestations provide the fuel that maintains the power imbalance and provides a camouflage for the four pillars that lie beneath the racist exterior. In this article, the political and economic pillars that underlie color racism will be examined first. The underlying deep psychological foundation shall be treated separately. In the end, the argument of this article is that color racism cannot be fully extinguished until its role as providing a mask for the underlying four pillars that consistently support inequality between different groups or classes are uprooted and the deep psychological fear that underlies them is eliminated.3 The masked function of color racism is its enormous power in perpetuating inequality; hence, the title of this paper, Unmasking Color Racism.

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Robert E. Allinson
Soka University

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