|The touchy subject of|
|Racism and racists|
“”Oh, the white folks hate the black folks,
And the black folks hate the white folks.
|—Tom Lehrer, National Brotherhood Week|
Racism is a system of societal organization in which one or more races is held to be superior to others, thereby enjoying greater privilege in society. Racism occurs when negative discrimination based upon race occurs at a pervasive level in a particular culture. It is based upon the irrational belief that the differences between races "determine cultural or individual achievement." Positive discrimination based upon race is usually viewed as affirmative action, largely because, in a deeply racist culture, such activity is exceedingly difficult to call "racism."
 Meaning of the term
There is great disagreement as to what the term "racism" means. Disputed positions on the term include:
- Racism requires power, and thus racial minorities cannot be racist.
- Racism includes any recognition of race, even without any belief in superiority.
- Racism includes desire for racial separation.
- Racism includes negative attitudes towards cultural attributes, such as religion and language.
Racism has existed in all areas and at all times where different races or cultures of humans have encountered each other. It is an unfortunate legacy of ancient days as hunter-gatherers that humans are inclined to judge groups by surface appearances. While this trait presumably was very useful in a day in which clan cohesion and recognition were of paramount importance, as society evolved into agrarian and then urban forms the habit has proven to be a problem.
With the rise of the written word and formalizing social bonds in the shape of nations, groups began to acquire specific reputations for certain characteristics or simply for general inferiority. What had once been tribal distinctions became immense labels spanning populations of millions. Most notably and globally, by the time of the Middle Ages, those who were light-skinned (today called "Caucasian" or white) generally considered other races, such as the equally advanced Islamic cultures of north Africa and the Middle East, to be 'savages'. The age of exploration and empire, from the sixteenth century onwards, provided new opportunities for racial prejudice and exploitation.
During the eighteenth to twentieth centuries, entire pseudosciences grew up around the study of such "superiorities," with phrenology or other studies of physical appearance purporting to determine with exactness an individual's racial makeup and the traits that would reputedly correspond. The English were held to be phlegmatic, people from Africa to be stupid, people from Asia to be thieves, and the Jews were viewed with a mix of hatred and admiration. 
One of the strongest reinforcements of this worldview was that it was quite apparent to everyone that the white people were running the show. For the last few centuries, most people believed that the immensely disproportionate power and wealth of Europeans (and later Americans) was palpable proof that the white race was superior. After all, how could the British have carved out an empire that spanned the world from their tiny island, if their native intelligence or courage were not naturally superior? It seems obvious on the face of it, and it is why this attitude is still present in many people; evil doesn't inspire racism, but rather ignorance.
Recent anthropologists, however, have suggested an alternate theory based on geography, a position most notably championed by Jared Diamond. The Mediterranean area and Europe constitute one of the few horizontally-constant areas of ecological stability. The same sort of crops that can be sown in Rome could be sown in London, with relatively little climate variation that would make such transfers difficult. This enabled the best crops such as wheat to be transferred among huge populations in a short time, along with parallel advances in technology (such as the metal plow). This is in contrast to areas such as Africa and the Americas, which have a fraction of comparably similar terrain. A crop which grows well in New York is not likely to grow well in Florida or Texas.
This rapid spread of agricultural information combined with immensely superior "packages": the available native species suitable for domestication. The Mediterranean area has a much higher number of such plant and animal species that were well-suited for use by man. And in short order, this enabled those in the area to produce much more food per capita. In turn, this enabled the construction of cities of enormous size and concentrations of individuals, whose fecundity yielded many more inventors to further advance technology and develop strong resistance to virulent diseases.
In the end, this meant that the white peoples of Europe possessed more food and infinitely better technology and that they carried diseases that wiped out the legions that opposed them. Any belief in natural superiority is entirely unfounded.
 Major historical examples
 The "White Man's Burden" and the European colonial empires
Traditionally, the patriarchal assumption that the Empire was "doing good things for the darkies" does not hold up very well to reason. Luckily, their colonies pretty much all finally regained independence, and those outside of Africa are doing just fine on their own, thank you. European colonial rule in Asia and Africa was a venture that was justified by racist ideology.  British and French Second World War claims that they were fighting for democracy, freedom and justice was deemed hypocritical by colonial subjects worldwide because of European domination and racism.
 Japanese-American internment
During World War 2, the American government decided that Japanese people were dangerous because of the very scary combination of not being white and having ancestors from an enemy nation. So they deported all Americans with Japanese ancestry to some internment camps. German and Italian Americans were very safe. Why? They were white.
 Slavery and "Civil Rights" in the United States
We cannot comment on an ongoing investigation.
 The Third Reich
During the twelve year reign of the National Socialists in Germany, Jews (and also Roma/Santi and Slavs) were considered a sub-human race fit for extermination, while the concept of the Aryan race was manufactured from whole cloth. Racism provided the Nazis, simultaneously, a justification for world conquest (Lebensraum for the master race), as well as a class of millions of dispossessed people to take the blame for every national ill and policy failure.
 South Africa under apartheid
A white, colonially descended minority ruled over a brown majority, until recent times. 'Nuff said.
 The Ainu in Japan
The first people in Hokkaido, Japan, were the Ainu. The Tokugawa Shogunate tried to make them Japanese in order to counter Russia's influence in the region, but for the most part the government left them alone. Later, the Meiji government increasingly tried to make the region more Japanese by outlawing the Ainu language. Many Ainu were enslaved by the Japanese fishing industry. In the island of Sakhalin, north of Japan, when taken over by the Russians had most of its native Ainu population sent to Japan to be returned to their "homeland". There are very few "pure" Ainu left and most people with known Ainu ancestry in Japan face intense discrimination. For the most part their culture and language have already been wiped out. After World War II, however, there were some attempts to revive Ainu culture and language.
 Racism in religion
Overall, Christianity generally promotes tolerance. Numerous quotes in the New Testament speak to the equality of all human "races". (The Old Testament is another matter.) Christianity has historically found itself harnessed by racists, and although usually they represent small sects of the population (e.g., the Ku Klux Klan), at times Christian leaders have promoted large scale racism, such as slavery in the American South, which was fully aided and abetted by the religious institutions there. It should be noted, however, some of the less batshit crazy religious institutions openly supported the Civil Rights Movement, and that Martin Luther King himself was a reverend.
In the Book of Mormon, great stock is placed in skin color. The godly Nephites are a "fair and wholesome" people, while the disobedient Lamanites are given dark skin as a curse for their oppression of the Nephites. Later in the book, some of the Lamanites repent, and their skin miraculously becomes fair and wholesome again. As recently as 1978, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints refused to give African-Americans the keys to the Aaronite Priesthood.
A Buddhist came upon a race. He walked the other way, in order to be sure to avoid winning.
Although the Jewish or Hebrew "race" has regarded itself as "special", or "chosen", their general outlook is one of high tolerance for other peoples (at least since the Pentateuch was written). Some people do consider conditions in modern day Israel to be an example of anti-Arab racism, but the point is open to debate, and even if agreed upon, the causes arguably lie outside Judaism itself and are more political than religious. A big thing for idiots like David Duke is mis-quoting a series of writings by Israeli writers like Israel Shahak and Ilan Pape (both who are Jewish) and American Norman Finkelstein (son of two Holocaust survivors) about fundamentalism in the IDF and how it has affected border dispute policies with the Palestinians (yes, there are religious kooks in almost every army) so to construe an insane image of Jews as blood-lusting savages. Political Zionism, as an obviously modern philosophy and being mainly a European one, is different from the entire Jewish religion, and so single-handledly tying Judaism to such a political trend is both inherently non-sensical, anti-intellectual, and blatantly racist.
Leviticus 19:33-34 : "When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God."
However, there are a number of heaven-sanctioned genocides in the Old Testament.
Also, there is a long history of Jewish theological "scholarship" attempting to find the biblical roots of the various skin colors that make upon humankind. For example, some more superstitious Jews believe that black people descend from Noah's son Ham, that Middle Easterners come from Noah's son Shem, and that people indigenous to the Americas are descendants of Noah's son Yaphet. This view is not too mainstream among practicers of Judaism, but it does exist.
Apparently, Muslims do not care what "race" you are, as long as you accept Allah as the one and only God, and Mohammed as His prophet, or are one of the People of the Book (although there exists pro-Arab prejudice in much of the Islamic world). In the absence of such acceptance, the more fundamentalist sects do not regard you as worth allowing to live, whatever your "race".
Hinduism has an inbred racist element in its caste system, which was originally created to segregate races, and now serves to create artificial divides between people of the same race. The caste system has caused untold suffering in India, dooming millions to misery simply because of the station of their birth. Thank the British East India Company for spreading it so you can enjoy that tea! Another time that race and Hinduism seem to intersect is in the idea of conversion. Many traditional Hindus feel that non-Indians should not be able to convert to Hinduism; this can be seen as discrimination and racism.
While neopaganism tries very hard to be a vast fluffy-bunny, very open-ended "religion", the 800 pound gorilla in the room is the fact that many neo-Nazis and other racists use neopaganism, especially Germanic (Norse) and Celtic varieties as a religious cover for their horrible views. While there is always a dispute between the racists and the hippies, the racist connotations are very difficult to shake, thanks in large part to the significant amounts of pagan symbolism (as well as knock-offs of the same) used as Nazi propaganda. See also Lee Barnes and the Anglo-Saxon Foundation. Mainstream neopagans reject the racists.
 Origin of the term "racism"
An urban legend has developed in certain quarters that the term "racism" was coined by Leon Trotsky. This is based on the fact that, in 1930, Trotsky used the word "rasistov" in his text The History of the Russian Revolution, and the term "racism" appears to have cropped up in English some time later in the same decade. However, what this claim ignores is the existence of the roughly equivalent term "racialism", which was in use as early as 1907.
 See also
- Biological determinism
- Race war
- Racial realism
- Social class
- ↑ Dictionary definition
- ↑ "Phrenology and Race in Nineteenth-Century Britain", Victorian Web
- ↑ Diamond, Jared. Guns, Germs, and Steel. New York: Norton, 1997.
- ↑ Semple, Ellen. Influences of Geographic Environment: On the Basis of Ratzel's System of Anthropo-Geography. London: Greenbie, 1997.
- ↑ Well, most of them anyway. Zimbabwe is still a mess, after all.
- ↑ Wilson, A. N., The Victorians, pp 501, ISBN 0393049744
- ↑ Dickinson, H. T., A Companion to Eighteenth-Century Britain, p. 472, ISBN 0631218378
- ↑ Richard L. Johnson, Gandhi's Experiments with Truth: Essential Writings by and about Mahatma Gandhi, p. 41
- ↑ http://penetrate.blogspot.co.uk/2010/01/racist-word-invented-by-ussrs-leon.html
- ↑ http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=J9AOAAAAQAAJ&lpg=PA42&ots=xNv_Oh_EEW&pg=PA42#v=onepage&q=&f=false
- ↑ http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=o-O6N2reiXMC&lpg=PA267&ots=0OXFi8GLXX&pg=PA267#v=onepage&q=&f=false