Research and Dissemination of Truth Project

To be misinformed is to be ignorant of the truth but to be disinformed is to be purposely told a lie. 

"Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it." - Adolf Hitler

The Race Card

The Race Card is an ad hominem. According to dictionary.com, an ad hominem is an adjective that means . . . . .

 

“appealing to one's prejudices, emotions, or special interests rather than to one's intellect or reason. 2. attacking an opponent's character rather than answering his argument.”

 

 

It’s important to be able to identify deceptive tactics used to oppress others. The race card argument is a tool of racial oppression used to deter the examination of, and/or disqualify, claims of racism. Unfortunately, the phrase has become so commonplace in American discourse that even racial minorities sometimes use the term. This tactic discourages any form of intellectual and honest conversation regarding race-based oppression and is extremely harmful to the psychological well-being of individuals belonging to a historically oppressed group, especially African-Americans. Later on we will discuss forms of oppression. For now, we encourage you to ask yourself does a phrase like “race card” promote an affirmative environment, where individuals feel accepted and welcomed, or does it work to exacerbate tensions and further divide people. An effective method of determining whether something is a tool of racism, and other forms of oppression, is to ask “can this be used against people not in the target group or does this have any bearing on white Americans other than when that individual is defending or fighting against race-based oppression?”

 

So, What Exactly Is Racism?

Merriam-Webster.com

"a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race"

 

Oxford University Press

"Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior."

 

Dictionary.com

"a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others."

 

ADL.org

"Racism is the belief that a particular race is superior or inferior to another, that a person’s social and moral traits are predetermined by his or her inborn biological characteristics. Racial separatism is the belief, most of the time based on racism, that different races should remain segregated and apart from one another."

 

So Again, What Is Racism?

For as long as I remember I assumed the definitions above was it. I thought it was an evil person with a white sheet over their head or any person who endorsed a philosophy of racial bigotry. The above definitions fail to address the manner in which racism operates, through institutions. Never was racism truly articulated to me until I became a participant in the “Dialogue on Race Series” and met the CEO Maxine Crump. It was there that it was made plain in words I could more easily digest even though I saw examples of it my entire life.

 

Racial Prejudice + Institutional Power = Racism

 

Far too often I’ve gotten caught up on the individual faces of racism. My original focus was akin to putting out a fire by aiming for the top of the flames instead of the base. Dialogue on Race allowed me to recalibrate my focus to see that anyone who wishes to address racism must do so on an institutional level if it is ever to be eliminated. Activists can demand to fire a police officer where there is evidence that they exercise racial prejudice in the exercising of his/her duties, but a more efficient strategy would be to focus on the department that allows it to thrive. A criminal rarely gets caught on his/her first crime. These extreme forms of overt racism being exposed, while deeply upsetting, the larger focus of outrage should be towards the length of time these individuals have been allowed to thrive in their organizations. This doesn’t suggest neglect on the leadership of the organization, but collusion. Racism has always operated on an institutional level and racial bigotry and white supremacy has been indoctrinated in the philosophies of many of nation’s institutions. Examples of that are Slavery, Jim Crow, Redlining, and the War on Drugs, which began under the Nixon Administration. All of these, rooted in white supremacy and racism, used institutions to exercise it's authority, such as the legal system for example.

How Does Institutional Racism Operate?

Institutions

According to Cain and Jowitt (2010), institutions are organized structures of power that shape society.

Ideology refers to the acceptance of beliefs that support the way society is organized through various power structures.

According to the authors, “Education, media, the political system, the legal system, religion, family structures and other social structures all help to maintain control without force. This is why ideology becomes so powerful. Although it is only an idea or belief, through hegemonic control people come to accept that the ideology is actually real, and therefore do not question it.”

Philosophies/Ideological Prespectives

Brodkin (2014) reported three decades of conservative philosophies have blinded many Americans to institutional racism and the impact ideology has on economic inequalities by ushering in an era of color-blindness.

The article reported homeownership as one of the most important forms of economic security and the discussed the negative impact redlining policies have on the wealth minorities have.

Marks (2014) began his article by stating “racism is a political act.”

Politicians manage institutions. Political elites influence politics through money.

You Know A Tree By It's Fruit

Marginson (2016) argues that the idea that we live in a meritocracy, where all it takes is hard work for upward economic mobility, is exposed as a myth. Since the 1980s, there has been a divestment in public institutions, such as public schools, that serve to reduce inequality for private institutions.

Under President Ronald Reagan, the tax rate was reduced by 42% and has never returned to the pre-Regan administration tax rate of 70%.

Presently economic inequality in the United States is more severe than that of the Antebellum South and South Africa during apartheid.

Farmer (2004) describes this as “structural violence” in which strategies are used on an institutional level to oppress targeted populations. The author continues by stating the most efficient weapon of the architects of structural violence is the erasing/distortion of history.

Case Study:  Dr. Gary Potter’s (Eastern Kentucky University) History of Policing

Potter (2013) juxtaposed the origin of the institution of policing in the northern part of the US and the southern US.

Potter reported while in the North the “Watch” was first created in Boston in 1636, the South created the first form of policing called the “Slave Patrol” in the Carolinas in 1704.

The author continued by explaining that the purpose of the slave patrols was to capture, terrorize as a deterrent, and punish enslaved Africans during the Antebellum years.

Post-Antebellum, policing was used to maintain adherence to laws founded on the ideology of racism, such as Jim Crow.

The author emphasized that through policing, plutocrats of society were able to mask personal interests pertaining to their idea of social order as a rule of law as opposed to economic exploitation and discrimination.

If we follow the dollar, we have to closely examine when Ungar (2002) poses, “one would question the value of superprisons and the multibillion dollar corrections industry, which have shown no positive effect on those incarcerated and have resulted, ironically, in no decrease in crime."

Roseman (2014) argues no accurate understandings of the impact of racism can exist without taking into account the victims of racism and their ancestral history.    

Works Cited

Ad hominem. (n.d.). Retrieved July 26, 2017, from http://www.dictionary.com/browse/ad-hominem

 

Adolf Hitler Quotes. (n.d.). Retrieved July 27, 2017, from https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/adolfhitle385640.html    

 

Brodkin, K. (2014). Work, Race, and Economic Citizenship. Current Anthropology, 55(S9), S116-S125. doi:10.1086/676667

 

Charles C. Roseman. (2014). Troublesome Reflection: Racism as the Blind Spot in the Scientific Critique of Race. Human Biology, 86(3), 233-240. doi:10.13110/humanbiology.86.3.0233

 

Farmer, P. (2004). An Anthropology of Structural Violence. Current Anthropology, 45(3), 305-325. doi:10.1086/382250

 

Jonathan Marks. (2014). Review of A Troublesome Inheritance by Nicholas Wade. Human Biology, 86(3), 221-226. doi:10.13110/humanbiology.86.3.0221

 

Marginson, S. (2016). Economic and Social Inequality. In The Dream Is Over: The Crisis of Clark Kerr's California Idea of Higher Education (pp. 143-151). Oakland, California: University of California Press. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1kc6k1p.23

 

Potter, G. (2013, June 25). The History of Policing in the United States. Retrieved April 05, 2017, from http://plsonline.eku.edu/insidelook/history-policing-united-states-part-1

 

Racism. (n.d.). Retrieved April 02, 2017, from https://www.adl.org/racism

 

Racism. (n.d.). Retrieved April 02, 2017, from http://www.dictionary.com/browse/racism

 

Racism. (n.d.). Retrieved April 02, 2017, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/racism

 

Racism. (n.d.). Retrieved April 2, 2017, from https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/racism

 

THE NOTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS. (2010). In Jowitt A., Jowitt A., & Cain T. (Eds.), Passage of Change: Law, Society and Governance in the Pacific (pp. 185-198). ANU Press. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt24h3jd.18

 

Ungar, M. (2002). A Deeper, More Social Ecological Social Work Practice. Social Service Review, 76(3), 480-497. doi:10.1086/341185

 

*Any works cited, organizations/programs, and/or individuals mentioned does not represent an endorsement of the individual/organization of Distant Beginnings, Inc.

 

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