Defining Raicsm, Again? Well, Yes.

Do you know that there is a serious conflict over the basic definition of racism in schools, organizations and general discussions?

  1. Does Racism = Prejudice + Power?
  2. Does Racism = Classification by "Race"?
  3. Does Racism = Ranking by "Race"?
  4. Does Racism = Raking by "Race" + from a Position of Power?

Does Race = Ancestry = Royal Power = Political Power?

Does Race = Skin Color + Physical Appearance?

The same discussion can be had over definitions of Power, Royalty which is important in ancestry, which includes families, of course, and Rank which goes to Power, Wealth and Royalty. Definitions matter.

Now, when considering racism it depends upon who you read, who you believe and what you were taught in school and in your family for whatever your personal definition of racism may be. The best full discussion I have found on the topic is here by Hoyt. This is important because if, from the very beginning of any conversation two individuals have different meanings for basic words an interaction which is well meant, one which could be a calm exploration of ideas can turn heated in an instant.

Example: Person of one color to another person of one color: "You know, of course, In America and Europe especially, only white people can be racist, right?" Depending upon the skin colors of the people involved it is easy to see a highly disruptive moment in the making. Everyone is some color after all.

The speaker assumes power is part of the definition of racism as in #1 and #4 above since in both Europe and America it is largely white people who hold positions of power in both societies. If the hearer of the question understands racism to be identification of "races" as in #2 or ranking of races on superior and inferior hierarchies as in #3 the conversation is in conflict before the real discussions even begin.

Global Currencies = Wealth Measures = Economic Power

Euro, Pound, Dollar, Yen

Royal Crowning = Privilege + Power + Wealth

Military Leadership Today = White Male

NFL Power Rankings

NLF Team Owners Ranks = White Male

Harvard Graduates = Achievement + Power + Diversity

To both sides of the discussion I have a question: if you cannot reach agreement on the very definition of the word racism how can there be any real successful movement forward to solutions on the actual world issues of exploitation, oppression, degradation and physical violence based on racial identity? Does success in one forum = success everywhere? Does one success = STOP?

I prefer clarity whenever possible, and chose simplicity as my goal. So I will keep my definition of Racism  = a classification of humans into a hierarchy of superior and inferior beings based on external physical characteristics with an emphasis on skin color as the primary identification of race. I will use Racial Oppression, White Privilege and White Supremacy to indicate the American and European white dominated societies. Now, it is time for us all to deal with the negative effects of this structure on everyone in those societies, in the entire world if we are honest.

Are you ready?