“Racism”, the late-great philosopher David Stove told us in his gorgeous essay “Racial and Other Antagonisms” (found, e.g., here), is “one of those words which are so perfectly foolish that they are valuable as diagnostics: no sensible person ever uses them, except in quotation marks.”
Why is “racism” an utterly foolish word? For the same reason that “eastism” would be, if we had such a word for the belief that the sun rises in the east. There is no need for a word, and therefore no usefulness in a word, for a belief which everyone knows is true. Least of all is there need for a word which ends in “ism,” since that has precisely the effect of suggesting that not everyone shares the belief in question.
If we are to have “racism,” we ought also to have “healthism,” for the belief that some people’s health is not as good as others’, and that differences in health are sometimes properly made the basis of differences in our behavior towards people. This would have certain advantages: all doctors, for example, would stand convicted ex officio of the crime of healthism. The disadvantage is that there are going to be far too many new words at this rate. We will need “weatherism” for the belief that the weather is worse on some days than on others, and that differences in weather are sometimes properly made the basis of differences in our behavior. We will need “climatism,” for the crime of preferring some climates to others. For the crime (already notorious) of preferring one neighborhood to another, we will need “neighborhoodism.” And so on.
“Racism”, though an idiotic word, is also rational:
“Racism” is the belief that some human races are inferior to others in certain respects, and that it is sometimes proper to make such differences the basis of our behavior towards people. It is this proposition which is nowadays constantly declared to be false, though everyone knows it is true; just as everyone knows it is true that people differ in age, sex, health, etc., and that it is sometimes proper to make these differences the basis of our behavior towards them.
After listing some commonplace differences and antagonisms between races (and really any sustaining groups), none of which are our two favorite ones, which are inevitable when different groups come into contact, and which are the rational reason for sometimes treating people differently because of their group, Stove says
Nor does it affect the truth of the propositions I have listed, if some of the traits in question are more culturally determined than genetically determined. They are still traits which are statistically associated with race, well enough, to make race a rational guide in such areas of policy as recruitment or immigration. It needs to be remembered that genes are a scientific discovery, and a recent one at that. They are the things, we now know, which cause racial differences; but everyone knew of the existence of racial differences long before anyone knew of the existence of genes.
Since everyone knows that it is sometimes rational to treat people differently because of their race, Stove asks “why is it that, in countries like ours, there are constant, belligerent, and almost universal declarations that [“racism”] is false?”
Stove couldn’t discover an answer, but it’s obvious to us that cries of “racism” are a tool of political control. Which are themselves, of course, a consequence of Equality. Which is the theory not that all races are equal, but that some should be more equal than others.
“Racism”, when it can be found, or admitted, in non-whites, is a defect of education, it is thought. Sometimes that’s true for whites, too. But more often whites are thought to be by nature suffering from “whiteness”, the root cause of all “racism”. For which, it can hardly be necessary to state, the only cure is eradication.
But in those other times, it is hoped “education” will eliminate “racism”. This false belief arises because of the notion of the Enlightenment theory of “educationism.”
Educationism has come to us from the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, and more specifically from its Utopian wing. When you read Condorcet, for example, or Godwin, you are encouraged to believe that there is no human evil which education could not in time put right. Not merely all large-scale human antagonisms will be things of the past, but all broken hearts and wooden legs too, once education is put in charge (which in practice means, of course, once Educationists are put in charge). According to these thinkers, even the most inveterate of human bad habits, such as dying, or sexual intercourse, will prove to have depended on nothing more than prejudice, and will vanish in the light of Reason and Truth.
It is needless to enlarge on these absurdities, or on the political horrors to which Utopianism always leads.
Stove didn’t live to see (but would have no problem understanding) that education not only does not cure “racism”, it exacerbates tensions between groups, and delights in doing so, using the turmoil it itself generates as justification for its efforts!
This is all part in our long-running series of attempts to kill the god Equality.