Endorsement of racial “color-blindness” is linked to racism.

Color-blind racial ideology linked to racism, both online and offline (University of Illinois, via Racialicious):

In a study that examined the associations between responses to racial theme party images on social networking sites and a color-blind racial ideology, Brendesha Tynes, a professor of educational psychology and of African American studies at Illinois, discovered that white students and those who rated highly in color-blind racial attitudes were more likely not to be offended by images from racially themed parties at which attendees dressed and acted as caricatures of racial stereotypes (for example, photos of students dressed in blackface make-up attending a “gangsta party” to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day).

People who reported higher racial color-blind attitudes were more likely to be white, and more likely to condone or not be bothered by racial-theme party images,” Tynes said. “In fact, some even encouraged the photos by adding comments of their own such as ‘Where’s the Colt 45?’ or ‘Party like a rock star.’ ”

To conduct the study, Tynes showed 217 ethnically diverse college students images from racially themed parties and prompted them to respond as if they were writing on a friend’s Facebook or MySpace page.

“Since so much of campus life is moving online, we tried to mimic the online social network environment as much as we could,” Tynes said. “What we saw were people’s responses almost in real time.”

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Scientific findings are not public service announcements.

When a newspaper publishes an article about a recent scientific study concerning humans, it is almost expected that people with a political agenda will pick and choose parts of the article that support their view, and ignore those parts that invalidate it. The science writers may even intentionally and deliberately insert clarifications and disclaimers to make sure the article is inconsistent with a popular incorrect political view, but people with an agenda will ignore the clarifications and disclaimers because they don’t understand it, they reject nuances, or because they simply ignore information that does not fit into their worldview.

However, sometimes members of the public will also take into account the public’s tendency politicize controversial studies, and then accuse the study’s researchers of “knowing” that their study could be used to support a political agenda and conducting the study with the “intention” to stir up controversy and support said political agenda.

Of course, this is a complete misunderstanding of how scientific research works. Almost all scientific studies are not done to educate the general public; they are done to explore the unexplored territory in the field. The primary audience of a scientific paper is other scientists in the field. Only after the original paper endures years of debate and replications among the scientific community do the new findings make it into the canon of an undergraduate textbook. Most published studies do not make it into this canon, and are read by only a small circle of specialists.

In other words, many members of the public assume that scientific studies are conducted for them instead of for other scientists. Given this assumption, it is not too much of logical leap for them to suppose that the scientists conducted a particular controversial study with the nefarious intention to advance a political (e.g., right-wing) agenda.

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This is why white males are so confident in themselves.

The cost of racism by resistance at Resist racism:

Another way that racism harms white people is by denying them the ability to develop their critical thinking. This is due in part to the constant, regular reinforcement that white is right. White people are raised in an environment in which they are regularly assured of their superiority. Their experts are white, like them. And they often live in segregation, thus denying them the opportunity to be exposed to other viewpoints.

What happens in a culture of white supremacy? White people assume that they are the experts. Even in the absence of any history, education or knowledge.

The most blatant example of this is when a white person (typically a white man) is pontificating about a subject and is challenged when a person of color expresses an opinion. The white person will assume that the person of color knows nothing about the subject and will strive to “correct” him or her. I’ve had this happen when a white person who was not in my field was speaking with authority about something in my field. They never assume that you might actually be knowledgeable on the subject, nor do they assume that you might have professional credentials. (I’d also note that this is a very common experience on the part of people of color. And I recently heard a anecdote about this happening to a writer of color with a white man who was discussing her book. Only he didn’t know she had written it.)

It does not cross their minds. This is racism.

[Read the rest of this post at Resist racism.]

It does not even cross their minds that they are noticing race; this assessment occurs unconsciously.

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Africentric education is not black segregation.

Toronto’s Africentric school is open for everyone, not just black students. This is not racial segregation. Everyone needs an Africentric education.

The Africentric grade school will seek to hire a number of black teachers and use a more global, less Europe-focused curriculum to engage more students of colour. It will be open to children of all backgrounds from anywhere in the city.

Currently, our public grade schools are Eurocentric in focus, and children of all colours are led to believe that science, history, and technology starts and ends with Europe and European colonies. Eurocentric schools are not white-only schools. If you grew up in Canada, you had a Eurocentric education, not matter what colour you are.

If you believe that Africentrism is biased, you should also believe that Eurocentrism is biased. If you believe that Africentric education is biased and Eurocentric education is neutral, it means that your worldview is Eurocentric.

Unfortunately, too many Canadians fail to distinguish between “Africentric” and “black only”, and even some CBC news reporters think “Africentric” is interchangeable with “black-focused”. This creates mass confusion among the general public, and instead of quality debate, the general Canadian public reveals the extent of its miseducation.

Gasman (53 people recommended this comment):

Wasn’t racial segregation deemed illegal in Canada? […]

swamprat (52 people recommended this comment):

Martin Luther King Jr. just rolled over in his grave.

CrystalP (35 people recommended this comment):

Why are there such double standards when it comes to “minorities”? If this were a push for an all white school there is no way that this would be approved.

I am proud that Canada is such a diverse country, I am all for promotion of equality and acceptance of different race/religion etc. but I’m white and I’m beginning to feel like I would have a better chance for success in this country if I wasn’t.

ntcMEAsh (22 people recommended this comment):

I really think we are taking a step backwards here…. Imagine the uproar if we re-introduce white only schools…. people would freak out.

RocWells (13 people recommended this comment):

[…] its wrong to seperate, shame on Toronto and whats really disturbing is that its young kids that are being seperated, what kind of lessons are we teaching them? […]

Davebo (11 people recommended this comment):

Why is Toronto promoting Apartheid?

Shouldn’t this so called school be illegal? How can this stand? What does parliament think of Canada becoming the new South Africa?

GaretS (10 people recommended this comment):

I bet nobody would back a white only school…

Puissance (9 people recommended this comment):

Is this a joke? Racial segregation? Who would vote for something like that? Children need to grow up in a multicultural environment.

JaniceRobinson (9 people recommended this comment):

[…] Black people, who have also experienced segregation/isolation in the past….now want to re-experience it?? […]

Jimbo5 (9 people recommended this comment):

Well let me get this straight …my TAX dollars are being used to fund a all black school. […]


Unfortunately, the CBC site does not allow one to downvote comments.

The majority of commenters are arguing against a straw man. Thus, the discussion is unhelpful, and it makes the Canadian public look uneducated.

Here is a bonus stupid comment:

jblack (3 people recommended this comment):


I taught my children to be “color blind” when it comes to a person’s skin color…

Canadians shoudl all be “color blind” and then Canada will work well.

How Whites benefit from fighting White privilege #1: Self-Esteem

A White person may benefit from fighting White privilege, because if she accepts the existence of White privilege, she will develop a healthier self-esteem.

High self-esteem is not always healthy self-esteem.

High self-esteem is not the same thing as healthy self-esteem, according to psychology research from the University of Georgia. Those with “fragile” high self-esteem are more likely to be verbally defensive compared to those with “secure” high self-esteem.

According to the news release, people with fragile high self-esteem:

  • compensate for their self-doubts by engaging in exaggerated tendencies to defend, protect and enhance their feelings of self-worth
  • are verbally defensive; they lash out at others when their opinions, beliefs, statements or values are threatened
  • feel that potential threats are more threatening and work harder to counteract these threats

This behaviour differs from individuals with “secure” high self-esteem:

On the other hand, individuals with secure high self-esteem appear to accept themselves “warts and all,” and, feeling less threatened, they are less likely to be defensive by blaming others or providing excuses when they speak about past transgressions or threatening experiences.

One reason the study’s findings are important, Kernis said, is that it shows that greater verbal defensiveness relates to lower psychological well-being and life satisfaction.

What does this have to do with Whites and White privilege?

Defensive Whites have a fragile high racial self-esteem.

The study is not about race, but the idea of distinguishing between “secure” high self-esteem and “fragile” high self-esteem can be applied to Whites’ view of themselves. Whites with secure high racial self-esteem can accept themselves “warts and all” and can accept that society confers privilege on them due to their skin colour, while Whites with fragile high racial self-esteem will “lash out” at the mere possibility that our society is not a meritocracy.

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United Nations is racially colorblind, and thinks that Canadian term “visible minorities” is racist.

Apparently, the United Nations thinks that recognizing race is racist. Here is an article from last year, March 08, 2007:

UNITED NATIONS – Canada’s use of the term “visible minorities” to identify people it considers susceptible to racial discrimination came under fire at the United Nations Wednesday – for being racist.

The world body’s anti-racism watchdog says in a report on Ottawa’s efforts to eliminate racial discrimination in Canada that the words might contravene an international treaty aimed at combating racism.

For people who want to discuss racism, this accusation is sounds familiar. A person who points out an instance of subtle racism is often accused of being racist herself. The accuser argues that this person is racist for noticing race. Would this be the reasoning of the UN committee?

Canada’s Employment Equity Act defines “visible minorities” as “persons, other than aboriginal people, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour.”

To the committee, highlighting a certain group does not appear to be consistent with Article One of the convention, which says racial discrimination occurs when equitable treatment is upset by “any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin.”

Recognizing race is making a distinction, but recognizing race does not necessarily lead to exclusion, restriction, or preference. “Visible minority” is a meaningful and intuitive term that recognizes that those who do not appear to be “white” may be discriminated against because of their physical racial appearance, which is a separate factor from their ethnicity, language, and culture.

An explanation of why colorblindness subverts antiracist work is well-articulated by Magniloquence in the post Race Relations 101: Colorblindness:

I don’t want [my race] to not be a problem for you; I don’t want race to be problematic.

The distinction may seem subtle, but it really isn’t. When a person says “I don’t see color” as a way of saying “your race is not a problem for me,” it casts the problem as race. Race is not the problem, racism is.

The news article on the UN accusation continues:

Speaking at the committee grilling of Canada last month, committee member Patrick Thornberry went further.

“The use of the term seemed to somehow indicate that ‘whiteness’ was the standard, all others differing from that being visible,” says the British international law professor, according to UN note-takers.

First, let us bring up the normative versus descriptive distinction. In philosophy, a normative statement is a statement about how things should be, while a descriptive statement is a statement about how things are.

Normatively, whiteness should not be the standard, and all others differing from that should not have a unique visibility due to their non-whiteness. Descriptively, however, it is true that ‘whiteness’ is the standard, and that all others differing from that do have a unique visibility due to their non-whiteness.

Rachel’s Tavern notes that the inability to make this [normative versus descriptive] distinction is one of the central problems with colorblindness:

Moreover, like most people I hear discuss race, she was unable to make a distinction between “should racial issues/identities matter” and “do racial issues/identities matter.” This is, of course, one of the central problems with colorblindness. Maybe in an ideal world where race was never invented race wouldn’t matter, but we don’t live in that world.

Other Related articles:

Fallacy: Making moral judgements about ethnic minorities based on the actions of foreigners.

If you condemn people of ethnicity P who live in your country based on the actions of foreigners of ethnicity P living in a different country, your reasoning is illogical. At a basic level, this is fallacious because

  • If individual x has property P and individual y also has property P, one cannot conclude that x = y.
  • If individual x has property P and individual y also has property P, one cannot conclude that if x has some property Q, y also has property Q.

In the ethnicity example, if a foreigner x of ethnicity P in a different country participates in action Q that is morally questionable, one cannot condemn a minority y in your country for action Q simply because that individual is also of ethnicity P.

For example, if a Muslim in a Western country complains that her rights were violated by the state, it is illogical to argue that this individual is being hypocritical because the laws in Saudi Arabia are worse in terms of human rights violations. Here, the individual y who complained about the violation is not necessary the person x who carried out a human rights violation, even though both x and y have property P, being Muslim. Furthermore, it is not the case that if some w has property P and property Q, all z who have property P also have property Q.

At a second level, this reasoning is fallacious because it assumes that minorities of ethnicity P in countries like the United States and Canada are representative of people of ethnicity P living in countries where ethnicity P is the majority. This is often not the case, as those who choose to immigrate to a Western country tend to be sympathetic towards Western values, and may even be escaping persecution from their original country. Cuban Americans on average tend to be anti-communist despite or perhaps because of the fact that Cuba is a communist country. Iranian Americans on average tend to be actively against Muslim fundamentalism despite or because of Iran having a Muslim fundamentalist government. Making generalizations about ethnic minorities based on foreigners living in a different country is simply ignorant, and often ironic.

At a third level, this reasoning is racist because it assumes that Canadian-born Canadians and American-born Americans of Asian, Middle Eastern, or Latino descent are somehow “the same as” or interchangeable with foreigners. This is known as the “perpetual foreigner” stereotype. For example, the tastes, culture, and politics of a fourth-generation American of Asian descent are often inferred from the tastes, culture, and politics of her ancestral country instead of her native country and country of origin, the United States. On the other hand, the tastes, culture, and politics of a second-generation American of Western European descent are assumed to be American. The perception of foreignness when it comes to native-born North Americans of Asian, Middle Eastern, or Latino descent is almost always a result of racial prejudices rather than the “culture” manifested by these individuals.

Related webpages:

  • Asian Americans and the Perpetual Foreigner Syndrome by Frank H. Wu – An analysis and history of the perpetual foreigner syndrome as it relates to Asian Americans, explaining why it is racist and making references to “color-blindness”, color-consciousness, and the reality of participating in racial discrimination without being mindful of it.
  • “Asking Permission” by X. Dean Lim – Humourous video about equating “Asian” with “foreign”. Rather than the reverse situation shown in this thought experiment, in practise, there are more situations where an Asian American is alone and under the scrutiny of the white American majority, so social pressure usually works against him.
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