1. Let us frankly admit that ‘racism’ is a nebulous term which all too often serves to obfuscate rather than clarify. As far as articulated ideology (rather than mere unreflective chauvinism) is concerned, I have seen the following all used as definitions of ‘racism’ at one time or another:

    1.) The belief that races exist (‘race realism’). The claim is that ethnic identities are manifestly real and are no less so for being in part ‘cultural constructs’. They are perceived to exist and so for all practical purposes do exist. Distinguishable physical attributes (skin colour etc) are not the whole of what constitutes ethic identities, or even the most important element, but they are a part nonetheless.

    2.) The belief that races are further differentiated by cognitive abilities which are determined by heritable genetic factors. This is what is usually meant by ‘scientific racism’ and ‘human biodiversity’. What people generally have in mind here is the specific claim that whites have, on average, higher IQs than blacks and that IQ is a question of genetic inheritance. (The human biodiversity crowd are also keen to stress that Han Chinese and Ashkenazi Jews have, on average, higher IQs than whites.)

    3.) The belief, sometimes expressed in quasi-mystical language, that race is decisive in determining an individual’s moral character and that it is therefore legitimate to speak of ’superior’ and ‘inferior’ races.

    4.) The belief that one civilisation is culturally superior to another, regardless of whether ‘race’ is adduced to explain that superiority. (In leftist discourse, this belief is typically only classed as ‘racist’ when white civilisations are judged to be superior to non-white civilisations. The sentiment behind the quip attributed to Gandhi that Western civilisation “would be a good idea” is perfectly acceptable.)

    5.) The belief that an ethnically homogenous society is on balance desirable and certainly not wicked; and the concomitant belief that indigenous ethnic groups have the right to resist attempts by indifferent or hostile elites to destroy their ethnically homogenous societies.

    Would I be wrong in thinking that racism No. 3 is the only one fundamentally incompatible with Christianity?

    1. Alex,

      Yes, #3 is certainly at odds with Christianity. However, I think definitions like #5 raise some problems as well because it’s not really clear that an ethnically homogeneous society is on balance desirable, not unless one assumes that certain ethnicities or races come packaged with inherent problems that can “infect” a homogenous society.

      As for human biodiversity, although there are compelling arguments out there that certain races/ethnic groups have higher IQs on average than others, it’s dangerous to start pressing that fact too far because, more often than not, it places one in a position of distinguishing between “superior” and “inferior” human beings. One of the fundamental tenets of Christianity is that all men at all time and in all places made in the image and likeness of God. Period. Racialist thinking has almost always militated against that truth, even if only indirectly.

Comments are closed.