June 11, 2003

Defining the dialogue

As an aid to people commenting on this post, I thought I'd provide these various definitions of racism from Dictionary.com:

  1. n. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.
  2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.
Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


n 1: the prejudice that members of one race are intrinsically superior to members of other races 2: discriminatory or abusive behavior towards members of another race [syn: racialism]

Source: WordNet ® 1.6, © 1997 Princeton University

Hope that helps.

Posted by Andrea Harris at June 11, 2003 02:33 PM

Andrea -

The second definition seems redundant, and less accurate than the first.

Interesting discussion on all of that - seems to demonstrate, too, that many in the blogosphere are better writers than they are readers.

I know I can fall into that category - and commend careful reading and thinking before posting.

Posted by: Parker at June 11, 2003 at 04:30 PM

Hey, I was just being thorough. (Well, I could have included the images and ads from the site -- not that thorough.)

Posted by: Andrea Harris at June 11, 2003 at 10:22 PM

I fear that one day we'll see The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition with Politically Correct Definitions. A sample:

1. n. The perceived belief held by whites that their race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that the white race is superior to others.

2. Perceived discrimination or prejudice against non-whites.

"Perceived," of course, ranks high in the weasel word hierarchy. But who cares about objectivity anymore? It's all about feeeelings. Anyone can feel "victimized" and "fight back" by being racist (according to the Fourth Edition definition, which I still subscribe to).

Posted by: Amritas at June 11, 2003 at 11:57 PM

Coming late to the discussion - the example of seemingly reasonable, well-meaning, non violent, non-racist Klan members with a legitimate beef, strikes me as analogous to Lenin's "useful idiot" defenders/members of the Communist Party.

Posted by: Ray Eckhart at June 12, 2003 at 07:15 AM

I second Parker's comment about careful reading. It often seems that instead of actually reading something many people just skim over it, reading a sentence or two here and there then fill in the blanks from their own imagination.

Posted by: Lynn S at June 12, 2003 at 10:39 AM

Perception is a mediated process, which means that it there is an unconcious filtering going on before awareness of facts or events reaches the frontal and prefrontal cortex. A common example we've all experienced is when we're told something that we either didn't expect to hear, or weren't prepared to hear. There is an initial blankness, as the filter automatically kicks in to 'protect' our wetware CPU from 'problems' in the data stream. We ask for a repeat, and the filters are lifted so that we can deal with reality. The mind helps us organize the world around us, but being aware of its' limitations is probably the beginning of what Zen types call "mindfulness".

Posted by: Dark Avenger at June 13, 2003 at 03:04 AM