Racism is the persistent and deeply held belief that one race is superior to another. It is a sub-sin of pride, the father of all sins. In addition to being vile, it is also profoundly stupid and unsupportable by all available evidence. How could one person be superior (or inferior) to another person based simply upon the color of his skin? Frankly, I’ve never understood the logic of it.
Nonetheless, there was a time when racism was publicly advocated by its practitioners because they paid no legal or social cost in doing so. Thankfully, that time is long past. Racism may persist, as all sin does and ever will until kingdom come, but it has now been beaten back into the dark corners of society where only the truly sick and malformed are willing to dwell. I assume that racists are still able to find each other, much that way that purveyors of child pornography do—but they don’t appear in public because the public will not tolerate them.
As a result, there is nothing heroic in declaring oneself to be anti-racist. I’m not saying it’s wrong to do so, just that it’s about useful as declaring one’s staunch opposition to child pornography. Nobody is openly in favor of child pornography, and those few dark souls who privately favor it are unlikely to be persuaded otherwise because they’re crazy or sick.
There is a bar in my city with a big sign on the wall stating “NO BIGOTS RACISTS MISOGYNISTS”. I’m not questioning the proprietor’s right to set the rules by which his patrons must abide as a condition of entry, just the logic and usefulness of his sign. It’s not like requiring shoes or a shirt to be served, where you can look at a man and determine whether he is in compliance. You can't look at a man to determine whether he is a racist.
Does the proprietor believe that there are racists driving by his establishment in search of a beer who see his sign and say, “welp, I guess I’ll have to go elsewhere, because they don’t serve my kind here?” Does he think there are racists who might not see the sign, but say to the bartender that “there seems to be a lot n_____s here”, so the bartender can point at the sign and tell them they have to leave. I don’t get the logic of it, any more than I get the logic of being a racist in the first place.
Nor do I get the logic of labeling a man a racist without sufficient foundation. To be a racist, one must have a persistent and deeply held belief in the superiority of his race. It’s a conclusory statement based upon a certain quantum of evidence. Would we call a man a liar because he tells single lie? If it all it takes is one lie, then I would contend that we are all liars.
Likewise, if it all it takes is one racist thought or statement, than it is quite likely that we are all racists. Jesse Jackson once called New York City “Hymietown”. Does that single remark support the conclusion that he is an anti-semite? In my opinion, no. It would take far more evidence than that to support a conclusion that serious.
Labeling a man as a racist is a defamatory and serious accusation. It should never be done casually, based upon a single remark or through the imputation of motives to a statement or proposition that is facially neutral. It’s the farthest thing from heroic. It’s a lazy and cynical attempt to surf the cultural waves of discontent that emanate from the dark principalities that seek to drive the community apart.
Racism is a vile sin, but improperly labeling another man as a racist is not far behind. I look forward to a day when they are both equally consigned to the shadows of the dark and twisted corners of our society where only the unrepentant are willing to dwell.