Welcome to Objectivism Online Forum

Welcome to Objectivism Online, a forum for discussing the philosophy of Ayn Rand. For full access, register via Facebook or email.

dadmonson

Quick Question: Is It Racist to Love Your Race?

Rate this topic

28 posts in this topic

Here is the general question...

Is it racist to love your race?  Are there racist ways to love your race and non-racist ways to love your race?

 

Below are more specific questions:

 

Is it racist to love your race because people from your race have higher IQs or are better at sports...  Is that racist?

 

How about in aesthetic issues...

Is it racist to like a black person's skin tone or a white person's eyes.  Is that racist? For instance, some white people might say,  "We white people are the best looking race because look at all the people of other races trying to copy the way we look!" I've heard similar statements by black people...    

Or what about the other side of the coin...  what about the people who dislike or hate the way they and other people of their race look?  Is it best in that case to downplay other race's features and tell them that their race's features are beautiful?   If you don't agree with downplaying the other race's features then what do you think would be the best action to take?   We often hear "black is beautiful" in the United States for this reason I think.  I remember back in school I heard they did a study with white and black dolls.  When young black girls had a choice to pick between a white or a black doll they always went with the white doll. 

 

If you can articulate why you said yes or no then that would be helpful also.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll probably regret entering this conversation, knowing that no matter how hard one tries to respect everyone's sensitivities, the subject of race relations normally creates a discordant and emotional debate. Based on the premise that all people have some measure of value, if to no one but themselves, individuals must establish their own value in relations to others. To be of value to others determines one's ability to earn and trade for that which is necessary and desirable. This applies to both public (holding a job, operating a business, creating intellectual or aesthetic products, competing in any form of athletics), and private (personal associations of greater or lesser intimate nature). If you excel at any of these pursuits, or only one in particular, it would be right and proper to be proud of it. Pride of one's achievements is an Objectivist virtue.

Pride of one's race is not rational. If one were to claim some right to major or minor achievement by virtue of the fact that that achievement was carried out by one or any number of one's race, this reduces one to merely one in a collective, just another member of the tribe. If you feel a sense of pride for a sibling or parent, you may well enjoy that emotional experience, and express your greater value toward that person. But that person's achievement is not your achievement. I could be proud of my country, or say something of this sort, but what I really mean is that I value it above any other nation. The accomplishments of Americans, whether contemporary or historical, are not my accomplishments, but I value those accomplishments where they have provided a benefit to me, or others I care about. I am not proud of the less virtuous, or in some cases criminal aspects of some Americans of European, African, Asian, aboriginal, or any other ancestry. Neither should I feel the shame of their actions. Collective guilt is not rational.

When a person views his/her self as member of a collective, it had better be a collective that one joined voluntarily, otherwise they are diminishing their individuality. Western Civilization has a dominant influence globally, because at some point the philosophy if the West placed ever greater importance on individual action and responsibility.

Regarding race as a criteria of aesthetic virtue, I agree with the old saying: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And the beholder is an individual.

Edited by Repairman
Bold highlight

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, dadmonson said:

Is it racist to love your race?  Are there racist ways to love your race and non-racist ways to love your race

I don't know if it's "racist", but it's silly, and irrational. There's no reason for Hispanics or African Americans to be proud of their race, or even their heritage. They share a similar genetic makeup, nothing more. When I look around me at fellow Caucasians, I do not feel closer to them than people with black skin. It's been said by others before, but I don't see color.

It has been said - most absurdly but not surprisingly - that refusing to see color is denying another's identity. No. Those who identify themselves by their ancestors or their race is collectivist, and desires an identity or achievement that they didn't earn. I'm no better or worse a person for being a decedent of a race of people who owned slaves at one time and who led the Industrial Revolution. Original Sin is nonsense, and so is racial pride.

 

2 hours ago, dadmonson said:

How about in aesthetic issues

Considering that "racist" means, " having or showing the belief that a particular race is superior to another," yes, if we allow for superiority to be acknowledged in subjective and objective meanings. e.g. "White people look better with that hair cut - to me."

This makes "racism" a messy concept to even use. It includes aesthetic judgements, except racial preference in aesthetic judgements is innocent. Black suits give a measurable impression on individuals that is different than that of grey suits, just as red and blue ties do. We generally instinctively value similarities in people. Short people potentially can value the company of other short people than the company of taller people. It means nothing.

I'm not attracted to black women - usually; there's exceptions. I value black, blonde, and red hair more than brown hair or no hair at all.

Don't put stock in this matters emotionally, for your own sake. The trend in social justice has reached its peak of absurdity, and is receiving its own backlash. There are those who are outraged that businesses discriminate based on intelligent and against "neurodivergent individuals" (unintelligent). There are those outraged at discrimination based on any detail, because its is the inevitable consequence of the philosophical meaning of egalitarianism. All are equal; discrimination by any standard is wrong by this notion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sexual discrimination is evil - by social justice standards. Sexually discriminating against fat people is a microaggresion, and an attack against an entire class of people. You didn't just reject an individual; you denied an entire collective of their right to sex and happiness.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Repairman said:

 

Regarding race as a criteria of aesthetic virtue, I agree with the old saying: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And the beholder is an individual.

What do you think of this quote?  " To say, “It’s in the eyes of the beholder”—that, of course, would be pure subjectivism, if taken literally. It isn’t [a matter of] what you, for unknown reasons, decide to regard as beautiful. It is true, of course, that if there were no valuers, then nothing could be valued as beautiful or ugly, because values are created by the observing consciousness—but they are created by a standard based on reality. So here the issue is: values, including beauty, have to be judged as objective, not subjective or intrinsic. " http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/beauty.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dadmonson,

I am aware of Ayn Rand's rational explanation of beauty. I have read The Romantic Manifesto and other articles she wrote on the arts. She also encouraged individuals to think independently. I did not suggest that my opinion on beauty was rigidly objective, nor Objectivist. I chose to avoid an unnecessarily lengthy and academic rant about aesthetics, while trying to address your earnest question, by invoking an old saying. In certain contexts, I find images of repugnance quite appropriate, if not beautiful. I believe that evolutionary psychology may influence each individual's ideal of beauty, especially where it involves sexual attractiveness. I am not an expert on psychology, but I can think of no reason to ignore theories that explain an individual's ideals of physical beauty. Far from "unknown reasons," such theories offer rational explanations. I believe it is natural and normal for a small child to react with fright at the sight of an unfamiliar face, especially if that face is very different from the faces that that child is most familiar, i.e. its parents and siblings. The child is not racist, not by my definition of the word. However, these theories are not conclusive. I don't believe the theories drawn from the "doll test" are conclusive. As one's cognitive faculties develop, one overcomes irrational fears, including the fear of other races. Of course, overcoming fear does not equate to aesthetic value. And yet, some people develop an attraction to those of other races. In any case, if I were to make a case for my own objective criteria, someone else may list some very different criteria. Does this make it a subjective matter? Perhaps it is. Or maybe it's a matter of perpetuation of the species. If you have an objective criteria for beauty, perhaps you might list the values that determine objective beauty. Include your reasoning for such a criteria, and maybe others will compare their criteria.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

See, this is where Objectivism really fails, in my opinion. This is clearly an "is-ought" problem - but nationalism, "racism", tribalism are clearly part of human nature and for Objectivist "missionaries" to tour the world trying to preach away people's "irrationalities" in this regard is clearly a fool's errand.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How is tribalism "clearly" part of human nature? The most you can say is that becoming part of a group is natural and normal, and even expected, but it doesn't follow that there is some innate need to see members of outside your group as inferior or to see one's identity as -caused- by race/tribe/nation. But it wouldn't be racist to like something about a culture - racist would be judging an individual based only on knowing where they're from. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

How is tribalism "clearly" part of human nature?

Just pick up a newspaper or watch TV news or read internet news, it's pretty clear.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If it is so clear, then it should only take a moment to find a news story and explain. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The breakup of Yugoslavia. South Sudan. The struggle to create "Kurdistan". The struggle to "liberate" Northern Ireland. There are news stories about all these things and many, many more.

People are not just atomized individuals. People have very strong group identities, this is a part of human nature. Objectivism needs to change itself to fit the facts about human nature, not try to change the facts to fit itself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Those are indeed examples of tribalism. It doesn't follow that it is human nature to hold a strong group identity. If you really want to push on it, research in psychology in fact shows that group identity is more important to some people than others. For some people, it's really weak. For others, it is strong. See this paper for instance: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0042366

That's still besides the point, as long as you don't derive your whole identity as caused by your race/tribe/nation, or you don't make bad generalizations, that isn't irrational necessarily to like something about a culture. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Dustin86 said:

The breakup of Yugoslavia. South Sudan. The struggle to create "Kurdistan". The struggle to "liberate" Northern Ireland. There are news stories about all these things and many, many more.

People are not just atomized individuals. People have very strong group identities, this is a part of human nature. Objectivism needs to change itself to fit the facts about human nature, not try to change the facts to fit itself.

Yes, we know that many people are irrational. Objectivism doesn't deny that fact. The Objectivist positions isn't that people are rational, it's that they should be rational.

And rational people don't love their race. Or hate other races.

And no, irrationality isn't a part of "human nature". What IS a part of human nature is free will: the ability to choose to be rational.

Edited by Nicky
Not Lawliet likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Dustin86 said:

See, this is where Objectivism really fails, in my opinion. This is clearly an "is-ought" problem - but nationalism, "racism", tribalism are clearly part of human nature and for Objectivist "missionaries" to tour the world trying to preach away people's "irrationalities" in this regard is clearly a fool's errand.

No, nationalism and collectivist mentalities are conceptual ideologies people use to view the world. They are no more intrinsic in human nature than religion is. People can make choices, people can think, and people can choose to be rational.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/7/2016 at 2:22 AM, dadmonson said:

Here is the general question...

Is it racist to love your race?  Are there racist ways to love your race and non-racist ways to love your race?

 

Below are more specific questions:

 

Is it racist to love your race because people from your race have higher IQs or are better at sports...  Is that racist?

 

How about in aesthetic issues...

Is it racist to like a black person's skin tone or a white person's eyes.  Is that racist? For instance, some white people might say,  "We white people are the best looking race because look at all the people of other races trying to copy the way we look!" I've heard similar statements by black people...    

Or what about the other side of the coin...  what about the people who dislike or hate the way they and other people of their race look?  Is it best in that case to downplay other race's features and tell them that their race's features are beautiful?   If you don't agree with downplaying the other race's features then what do you think would be the best action to take?   We often hear "black is beautiful" in the United States for this reason I think.  I remember back in school I heard they did a study with white and black dolls.  When young black girls had a choice to pick between a white or a black doll they always went with the white doll. 

 

If you can articulate why you said yes or no then that would be helpful also.

 

 

Tough question, I have to say. I think any discussion should start with clarifying our terms: racism is a form of stupidity. It's stupidity on topics that concern race. So yeah, if you make stupid statements about race (such as "white people are genetically predisposed to be more intelligent than other races), that's racist...simply because that's not a scientifically proven fact. Its' stupid.

On the other hand, sexual attraction has nothing to do with this. I'm less sexually attracted to black women, than I am to Caucasians and Asians. Sorry, I just am. Sure, there are black women I'm attracted to, but nowhere near as many as other races. That's not smart or stupid of me...so it's not racist. It just is. There is an evolutionary justification for it, too (Asians and Caucasians split long after leaving Africa).

There's no justification for being racist on an intellectual level, though. That's just stupid.

Edited by Nicky
Craig24 likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sexual preferences really boil down to whether it is a result of conscious evaluations or biological instincts, and nothing outside conscious judgements can be regarded as racist.

Nicky likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, Nicky said:

Yes, we know that many people are irrational. Objectivism doesn't deny that fact. The Objectivist positions isn't that people are rational, it's that they should be rational.

And rational people don't love their race. Or hate other races.

Like I said at the beginning, it's clearly an is-ought issue. But the "is" wins out over the "ought", especially since your philosophy claims to be "Objective".

I definitely don't endorse hating other races, but Objectivism goes far beyond saying "don't hate other races", by saying don't love your race, nor your nationality, nor your tribe, nor your religion, etc., etc., etc. This isn't just "many people" who are "irrational" according to these criteria. This is the vast majority of people in the world. The fact of the matter is that people have very strong group identities, and have had, for all of human history. This is where Objectivism (and Liberalism, and Marxism, for that matter), really fails. Objectivism, especially if it pretends to be so "Objective", really needs to wake up and smell the facts here, not try to change the facts to fit itself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, Dustin86 said:

Like I said at the beginning, it's clearly an is-ought issue.

Objectivism rejects the is-ought issue as a false dichotomy. Even folks like Sam Harris have done this. Objectivism holds human life as the only rational standard of moral values. If we accept this for discussion, since it's a large topic for another topic thread, the facts of reality are not disconnected or conflicted with morality. They are as Sam Harris puts it, as relevant to morality as medical facts are to health.

19 minutes ago, Dustin86 said:

Objectivism goes far beyond saying "don't hate other races"

Nobody denies that Objectivism is a radical philosophy; it claims selfishness is a virtue and promotes free market capitalism. But the consensus of world cultures and American society is not an argument. It used to be religious belief was taken for granted, and lack of any of it was inconceivable.

19 minutes ago, Dustin86 said:

The fact of the matter is that people have very strong group identities

And Objectivism doesn't dismiss identifying with a group as immoral or irrational. Afterall, Objectivists identify as Objectivists. What we do dismiss as irrational, is identifying with groups based on physiological traits that have no relevance to character (race), or by accepting a culture's values based on the mere location of one's birth (nationalism).

For example: There is an undeniable pattern of children growing up to share the same religion and political views as the home they grew up in. This is pattern exists, it has for a long time, but individuals must think for themselves, and choosing not to question one's upbringing or parents' ideas at all is unreasonable.

Edited by Not Lawliet

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Dustin86 said:

This is the vast majority of people in the world. The fact of the matter is that people have very strong group identities, and have had, for all of human history.

And some don't. Therefore, it's not human nature. What you seem to be actually asking is -why- it's irrational to be tribalistic. How could it be called irrational for people who happen to have strong group identities to be tribalistic? Well, it's because tribalism as we're talking about it is, as Not Lawliet is saying, not judging an individual as an individual. Tribalism would be valuing a group -only- for being born into it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

And some don't. Therefore, it's not human nature.

Well, it's upward of 95% of people on the globe who love either their race, and/or their nationality, and/or their religion and/or some other kind of group identity that Objectivism considers "irrational". I'd say it can be called human nature for all practical purposes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, Dustin86 said:

I'd say it can be called human nature for all practical purposes.

 

To say that something is, for example tribalism, in the nature of X, then X wouldn't be X without it. To say something is in man's nature is to say it's innate, out of their conscious control, and a defining quality. Tribalism is none of these things. Even something like wearing clothes is not in man's nature. Nearly everyone does it, but they choose it, they can choose not to, they could more or less tell you why they do it, and it doesn't stem from biology.

Tribalism is a form of social organization. It's not the only one, it's not rational (for the reasons we have described), and people can choose to organize into groups by rational standards, i.e. shared values, common goals, mutual affection, etc.

 

*edit* Anthropology can't tell you what man's basic nature and fundamental qualities are. Only fields like philosophy, psychology, and biology can do that.

Edited by Not Lawliet

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Dustin86 said:

People are not just atomized individuals. People have very strong group identities, this is a part of human nature. Objectivism needs to change itself to fit the facts about human nature, not try to change the facts to fit itself.

Dustin86,

You make a broad generalization of human nature, the natural and normal human condition of identity groups, and the insignificance of the individual. When viewed through the broad scope of history, societies that have adapted to greater freedom and/or protection of individual rights have had the greatest progress. Not all aspects of human nature are rational. They may be assumed to be normal given the overwhelming numbers of irrational people in the world. Certainly throughout the centuries of medieval Europe and the Middle East the social foundations were based on religion and family-ties, i.e. aristocracy and local tribalism. Violence was common, as was poverty among the commoners. Such norms would not be considered normal nor desirable today. Today, most Western nations give little thought to our medieval past, let alone the social foundations of that long forgotten "order." When we look at Yugoslavia, South Sudan, "Kurdistan," and Northern Ireland, it is easy to forget that these societies have continued to base their norms on the irrational foundations of religion and tribalism, just as most of Western Europe was five hundred years ago. It may require another five hundred years to establish a social order based on rational foundations, or it may never happen at all. The difference between whether "it is or it ought" is a matter of whether each individual chooses to agree with you, believing that people are condemned to cling to irrational tribal order, or whether they recognize the benefit of a rational order based on individualism, capitalism, and reason. For a fact, many people have embraced these concepts. In this context, the need is not to change facts, nor to change Objectivism as you've suggested. Rather the need is to promote the Objectivism wherever possible, and to make clear the disadvantages of societies that stress the importance of religion, nationalism, and racism. I hope the necessary change requires much less than five hundred years, but the change has started. And I am proud to be a part of it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Dustin86 said:

Well, it's upward of 95% of people on the globe who love either their race, and/or their nationality, and/or their religion and/or some other kind of group identity that Objectivism considers "irrational". I'd say it can be called human nature for all practical purposes.

Sorry, but you just made that number up. You're saying "love their race/nation/etc" now, which is different. It isn't necessarily irrational or tribalistic to value it for reasons like being interested in ancestors or a language.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Dustin86 said:

Well, it's upward of 95% of people on the globe who love either their race, and/or their nationality, and/or their religion and/or some other kind of group identity that Objectivism considers "irrational". I'd say it can be called human nature for all practical purposes.

That's too ambiguous.  What do you mean by "love"?  Do all 95% hold a collectivist view of human beings?  Is that love?  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/8/2016 at 11:11 AM, Dustin86 said:

See, this is where Objectivism really fails, in my opinion. This is clearly an "is-ought" problem - but nationalism, "racism", tribalism are clearly part of human nature and for Objectivist "missionaries" to tour the world trying to preach away people's "irrationalities" in this regard is clearly a fool's errand.

Racism in the sense of preference is the official Objectivist's version of Original Sin.  See "ARI Watch".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.