The National Debt


Friday, September 25, 2009

The R-bomb: Are You A Racist?

You may think racism means prejudging or discriminating against people because of their race. All right: can you define race? Go on, try it.

Or host a party and challenge your guests to come up with an explanation that doesn't start a fight. Is race a biological classification, an ethnic one, a religious one, a geographic one, or what?

If the meaning of race is slippery, how precise can this term it feeds - racism - be? And if the definition is what enables us to evaluate the facts, where does all this leave us?

Racism today belongs to a class of words whose definitions have remarkably little fixed meaning. But racism once described unwholesome behavior that on its own was measurable -- like refusing to sell your home to members of certain minorities.

No comments: