On Racism and Barack Obama

The media is reporting Barack Obama’s win in the Democratic primaries as a “triumph” over racism. They are wrong.

Disassociating oneself from racism involves treating people as individuals, not as part of groups.

It’s ironic then, that the media is proclaiming the “first African-American” presidential candidate is within striking distance of the White House. If the media were not racist, and race was no longer an issue, there would be more focus upon Obama’s policies and his character. Looks would be totally ignored. If bigoted voters choose to make their decision based on race, then that would be their personal business. But the fact that the media is going along with such simple-minded thinking in their news reportage shows racism has not yet been eliminated.

The reality is that it’s hard not to be a racist if you live in America, or indeed Australia. It is completely ingrained in the public mindset. And it will continue to be unavoidable so long as affirmative action programs discriminate on the basis of race. Affirmative action programs are considered “good” racism by their proponents. For example, Australia’s racist constitution permits the federal government to make laws based on race, which means we have whole Departments set up specifically for Aborigines. Yet it’s not an excuse to point out that these laws are used for the (supposed) benefit of Aborigines; even allowing the government to think of race as a relevant factor is racist.

To put it simply, you’re a racist if you believe in using the law to benefit a particular race in a discriminatory way. Just as you’d be a racist if you wanted to use the law to harm a particular race. Racism is racism, whether for a “good” purpose or a “bad” purpose.

Libertarians find it impossible to be racist because they tend to treat people as individuals across the full spectrum of policy areas.

My non-racist judgment of Obama is that he’s the least bad candidate.1 If successful in his plan to socialize healthcare, America will begin facing the same problem of queues and shortages that plagues the Australian healthcare system. But on foreign policy, Obama is the candidate least likely to start World War III, and that far outweighs his domestic shortcomings at this point in time. The views of the next administration will decide whether we go to war with Iran.

1: David Friedman, Milton Friedman’s son, also thinks Obama could turn out to be the most libertarian candidate. I’m less optimistic that any of the candidates will prove libertarian on economic policy given the power of special interest groups in Washington, but on foreign policy Obama is clearly preferable.

46 thoughts on “On Racism and Barack Obama

  1. Ron Paul anyone? the whole US election has been manipulated into Hillary Vs Obama, to the effect that the vast majority of people who get their “news” from main stream media, don’t know anyone else apart from maybe John McCain(cringes). wonder why this is… maybe the main stream media corps made a bribe AKA: campaign donation.

  2. My non-racist judgment is that McCain is considerably more libertarian than Obama.

    I heard him interviewed on Fox News a few days ago and he was saying over and over that things are not a matter for the government, but for individuals. He’s certainly not in favour of big government solutions to just about everything, like Obama.

    He differs substantially from Obama on foreign policy. Obama is isolationist and perhaps an appeaser. McCain is a realist and perhaps a bit interventionist. Neither is any more or less libertarian for that.

    My prediction is McCain will win, and on balance that’s to be preferred.

  3. The money is on the machiavellian black prince.

    I understand Sukrit’s concerns considering his anti-war stance. My concern is that Obama is pretty much a socialist. To what extent I don’t know, as he’s very good at presenting with a strong individualistic American flavour. When his wife is campaigning for him I think she gives an insight into his politics, and my god, that is scary.

    Did anyone hear her ‘pie’ speech? It’s pretty straight forward. Most Americans don’t want a big slice of the pie, so those with too much pie need to give up a bit of their slice.

  4. My non-racist judgment of Obama is that he’s the least bad candidate. Obama has been so far about as open as Kevin Rudd was on what he will do if elected. He really offers little other than some vague notion of ‘hope’ and ‘change’.

    I am not sure where you are coming from on this, and where do you get the WW3 thing from? The hundred year war thing was a lie by Obama, check what he actually said. He is less likely to start WW3 than Obama, as he has a son serving as a front line soldier in a fighting unit just out of a deployment in Anbar Province, and another graduating from the Naval Academy next year.

    Obama is an economic Marxist, posting a solid 100% perfect score from the openly Marxist ADA (Americans for Democratic Action), for the past two years.

    Obama is a gun grabber having voted repeatedly for extremist gun control measures while an Illinois Legislator. Obama is also a big Nanny-Stater supporting Nationalized Health Care.

    Even more interesting are Obama’s ties to ethnic cleanser Raila Odinga in Kenya whose responsible for the murder of thousands of Kenyans after elections last year. Obama campaigned for his distant relative Odinga in 2006, and has received the endorsement of Hamas and other Islamic Terrorist groups.

    And of course, there are Obama’s ties to the corrupt thuggish mafia undergound in Chicago politics, including Tony Rezko, and the Blagojevich regime.

    Could you go into a bit more detail of just why we as libertarians should consider him a better candidate?

  5. Sukrit,

    this is the second time you’ve complained about the Australian health care system. I know people love to complain about it, but there’s very few places on Earth with a better healthcare system than Aus (France, a fully public system, being an obvious example I know of, but Australia spends far less per head. In addition, its not like there arn’t queues in the US — and there would be even more if they didn’t get doctors from the rest of the world, as Australia does also).

    The other thing you might want to condsider is that whilst you might think the US system is private, there are huge amounts of public subsidizies going into it if you consider who is paying to train all the doctors (often state governments who subsidize the university and clinical training places), doing the medical research than the makes the system better (NIMH, which runs off government funds), making and enforcing the health standards and so on. Thus what Obama really wants to do is turn the last little bit that is private into something public (which would mean a system surprisingly similar to Australia). That’s why I don’t think it makes difference, since there may in fact be some small savings to be made by doing it which would potentially trade-off with losses from it being publically run.

  6. I have yet to hear an Australian news report on the elections go a whole segment without saying something along the lines of ‘…potentially the United State’s first black president…’
    The man isn’t even black. At least, if he’s black, he’s also white.
    Obama plays the race card too, it’s not just the media that drums it up. His wife is even worse.

    I agree with David that Mccain is ‘more libertarian’, though this might be an unfair assessment since neither candidate professes to be libertarian at all.
    But what is Obama’s stance on marijuana decriminalisation? I got excited when I first heard him say, ‘I inhaled, that was the point’ and had a good feeling he would go far as a candidate, but I haven’t heard any policy proposals on decrim since then.

    In the end, I like both candidates in terms of pure punditry since I don’t live in America, and I am in both camps on the war issue. 2008 should gear up as a very entertaining election, made even better with my new betfair account.

  7. I’ve just seen your footnote, Sukrit. (I don’t usually read in detail, I prefer to go off half-cocked! It’s more fun!). It’s a pretty sad state of affairs if all you’ve got is foreign policy to differentiate between candidates (even if we’re at war). My position is simple, Republicans talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk. Even Bush on international trade recently was good. Democrats talk varying degrees of socialism.

    PS: Looking at these comments, us libertarians are a pretty disagreeable lot!

  8. Actually, I kind of want Obama to win just to shut up the morally high and mighty lefties that refuse to believe racist Americans would ever elect a black man.

  9. You seem to be asserting that racism is a bad thing without backing it up.

    I agree that the government shouldn’t have racist policies. I agree you shouldn’t be nasty or rude to people based on their race. But I think that making generalisations about races is not only acceptable, but fundamentally necessary and I don’t believe there is any human on earth who hasn’t done it.

    For example, I have noted that chinese people in china nearly always speak mandarin… and I have used this race-based generalisation on numerous occasions to my benefit.

    When people complain about “racism” I believe they are generally complaining about “racial bigotry”. I don’t like racial bigotry… but the problem is the second word: bigotry. I also don’t like sexist bigotry or homophobic bigotry. But generalisations based on race, sex and sexual preference are fine by me.

    I also think it’s fine to note the race of a candidate, and to mention race in the media. I think it’s absurdly PC to try and pretend race doesn’t exist. You may as well try to pretend that nations and religions also don’t exist.

  10. temujin, people do more than ‘note’ the race of the candidate, they seem to be making race itself an election issue. And the problem with the media is they seem to be ‘mentioning’ race continually. Ask your average Australian watching ABC and nine evening news to tell you something about Obama, and they would be able to answer that he’s black, before being able to accurately cite a single policy proposal.

  11. You seem to be asserting that racism is a bad thing without backing it up.

    I said racism could be good or bad. An example of it being good is if I say, “Hey, you’re a white guy… let’s be best friends, because I have a bias in favour of white people”. Or good racism could be setting up a “Department of Black People” to give welfare benefits to blacks.

    An example of bad racism is when the US government locked up hundreds of Japs during WWII. This is commonly called “racial bigotry”.

    As you can see they are two separate terms. If you want to talk about “racial bigotry” then that’s a different thing altogether from “racism”. In my post, I (correctly) accuse the media of being “racist” not “racial bigots”. Just because the general public automatically equates racism with racial bigotry does not mean I should be as imprecise.

    Without more, “racist” is a value-neutral word. Your example of Chinese people shows that.

  12. This is really getting into the semantics… but note my use of the word “bigoted” in relation to the voters who vote against Obama just because he’s black. I wrote:

    If bigoted voters chose to make their decision based on race, then that would be their personal business.

    Compare that to my reference to the racist, but non-bigoted media:

    If the media were not racist, and race was no longer an issue, there would be more focus upon Obama’s policies and his character

    Therefore… talking about people on basis of skin colour, regardless of whether good or bad = racism.

    Deliberately harming them by voting for the other guy = bigotry.

    Two separate things.

  13. I agree with Mike in that it’s quite silly to argue that Barrack Obama’s is somewhat libertarian because of his stance on foreign policy. To be fair, his social liberalism might also be a plus but going back to another of Mike’s points on the issue of international trade. I’m pretty certain that the PM would liken an Obama over a McCain, but if he didn’t know any better he would be horrified if Obama were to be president as we would be saying goodbye to our free trade relations with the US. The Democrats along with Obama have become protectionist with their recent killing of a free trade agreement with Colombia, one of their only real allies in Latin America.

  14. Deliberately harming them by voting for the other guy = bigotry.

    How do you harm a person by voting for someone else. You might disappoint that person but you don’t harm him.

  15. An example of bad racism is when the US government locked up hundreds of Japs during WWII. This is commonly called “racial bigotry”.

    Sorry Sukrit, but that example sucks. Last time I looked, Japanese were Asian.

    The reason the Japanese were interned is because they were Japanese and Japan was at war with America. The Americans thought that Japanese (including, unfortunately, Japanese descendants) living in America were potential spies.

    It was prejudice based on nationality, not race. No other Asians were interned.

  16. Many “racists” will vote against Obama because he is black… just as many people will vote for him for the same reason. You can’t eliminate this sort of thing – for better or worse, it’s part of the democratic process.

    For the record, like Sukrit, I once preferred Obama as the “least worst” candidate… I’ve since moved to a position of complete disinterest. But I have many lefty friends who are almost orgasmic about Obama’s nomination – and his “blackness” seems to be a big factor in their support.

  17. Of course I agree with the libertarian view of racism expressed here. To illustrate that ‘positive discrimination’ is still racism I like to point out that they practiced ‘positive discrimination’ in apartheid South Africa; it was positive for the white minority.

    But to say it’s racist to merely acknowledge the fact that Obama is half black is getting a bit sematical, and worse, rather PC.

  18. DavidL – the Japanese American internment of WWII was racist. Many people who were several generation Americans were locked up. They were not locked up because of their nationality but because of their race.

    You could be interned for having ancestory that made you 1/16th Japanese.

    SOURCE: http://www.colorado.gov/dpa/doit/archives/wwcod/granada3.htm

    And from Wikipedia:-

    Japanese American internment refers to the forcible relocation and internment of approximately 110,000 Japanese nationals and Japanese Americans to housing facilities called “War Relocation Camps”, in the wake of Imperial Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor.[1][2] The internment of Japanese Americans was effected unequally throughout the United States. Japanese Americans residing on the West Coast of the United States were all interned, whereas in Hawaii, where over 150,000 Japanese Americans comprised nearly a third of that territory’s population, an additional 1,200[3] to 1,800 Japanese Americans were interned.[4] Of those interned, 62 percent were United States citizens.[5][6]

    President Franklin Roosevelt authorized the internment with Executive Order 9066, which allowed local military commanders to designate “military areas” as “exclusion zones”, from which “any or all persons may be excluded.” This power was used to declare that all people of Japanese ancestry were excluded from the entire Pacific coast, including all of California and most of Oregon and Washington, except for those in internment camps. [7] In 1944, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the exclusion orders,[8] while noting that the provisions that singled out people of Japanese ancestry were a separate issue outside the scope of the proceedings.[9]

    In 1988, Congress passed and President Ronald Reagan signed legislation which apologized for the internment on behalf of the U.S. government. The legislation stated that government actions were based on “race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership”.[10] $1.6 billion in reparations were later disbursed by the U.S. government to surviving internees and their heirs.

    Full Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_American_internment

  19. Terje, the Japanese are not a separate race any more than Norwegians are. The Japanese are part of the Asian race and Norwegians part of the European race.

    I’m not defending the Americans for interning the Japanese, but it wasn’t their Asian race that prompted it. It was their Japanese connection. Call it nationist if you like, but it’s not racist.

  20. Don’t know. David, I think you might have strange ideas about the meaning of race. Maybe you should ask some people from different parts of Asia whether they think they belong to the same race? Or Europeans for that matter…

    I suppose you can slice this somewhat imaginary cake any way you choose, but there are generally accepted constructs of race, and they are not “European race” and “Asian race”…

  21. Whenever hostilities occur there will be some deep concern as to the foreign nationals from the enemy country within our own. We interned German and Italian as well as presumably Japanese nationals and descendants.

    After 9/11 a great deal of air time was given to trying to avoid attacks on peaceful Muslims and their mosques, it still happened.

    After an event like Pearl Harbor there is a sense of outrage in the community against what are seen as members of that nationality. This can be exacerbated by outraged statements such as; “After this war the Japanese language will only be spoken in hell”. Fleet Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr.

    People of Japanese descent are of course a bit more conspicuous than those of German, Italian, or even Turkish. They in a time of illogic will of course be more likely to cop it. Japanese American soldiers performed conspicuously in the US Army, and were highly regarded.

    I doubt that wartime reactions can be pinned down to racism, the reaction to a perceived potential enemy spy/combatant is a whole different thing to hating people of different racial origins only for being that.

    Interestingly, my father who fought through WW2 was strongly against what had been done ‘at home’, and many others like him felt the same. It sometimes seems that the ‘knuckledraggers’ who do the actual fighting and killing tend to have a much more tolerant attitude on many things than those who mouth off at home.

  22. Because they interned both Japanese nationals and Japanese Americans, this was part of the broader campaign against the race of “asian looking people”. It was not restricted to nationality, as David suggests.

    In some cases, people were wrongfully interned. Probably because bureaucrats decided that if you looked Asian (slanty eyes, flattish nose etc.) you were the enemy. It was completely false – there were few, if any, national security concerns – and compensation had to be paid afterwards.

    During a time of war, anything goes, including state-sanctioned racism. Indeed a similar thing happened in Australia.

    David’s continual denial of the facts shows amazing faith in government. As a libertarian, I don’t share that faith.

  23. interesting discussion as most people are far too afraid even to mention the topic of race.

    the case of the US japanese during WWII is an interesting one. whether you call this nationalist or racist is slightly semantic. the fact was that US-born people who could trace their heritage back to Japan were locked up for no fault of their own.

    this to me looks like racism. whether it was a wrong decision is another matter.

    Racism is a topic that people are sometimes prepared to acknowledge and sometimes not. for example, i believe it is socially acceptable to say that blacks tend to make better sprinters than whites. or that Maoris tend to make better rugby league players than Aborigines as they tend to be a more physical race.

    It is probably not socially acceptable to say that the people of Chinse descent tend to do better at school than Torres Strait Islanders.

    nb – note the important word ‘tend’.

  24. David’s continual denial of the facts shows amazing faith in government.

    Which facts have I denied Sukrit? Please quote me, so we don’t have any misunderstandings here.

  25. Sukrit; from your link;

    Most internees during both wars were nationals of Australia’s main enemy nations already living in Australia. During World War I Germans made up the majority of internees. During World War II, as well as Germans there were also large numbers of Italian and Japanese internees. Internees also included nationals of over 30 other countries, including Finland, Hungary, Portugal and Russia.

    Not all internees were foreign nationals. Naturalised British subjects and those born in Australia were among those of German, Italian and Japanese origin who were interned. British-born subjects who were members of the radical nationalist organisation, the Australia First Movement, were also interned.

    This does not seem to me to be ‘racist’, rather nationalist. The fact that one of the enemy nations was Japanese and therefore asian in origin is incidental, unless you want start suggesting that Germans and Italians are a different race, rather than a different nationality to us.

    Those of other origins were treated with the same degree of injustice as the Japanese were.

    The policy was to remove potentially hostile foreign from the general community in a time of war. The fact that it went too far is an aside to this as far as racism is concerned. Most of those interned were probably harmless, making most of it unjustified.

    I have no doubt that some were detained through bigotry of local officials, many more were probably detained as result of local officials going overboard to cover their arses, – It would look bad for them if someone they didn’t detain despite having a name like Werner, Louigi, or Sako subsequently turned out to be a saboteur.

  26. It appears only Tim Quilty and Jim Fryar are on the ball here. Everyone else seems to be confused.

    There are two separate issues being discussed:

    1. Are Japanese a distinct race?

    2. Was the detention of Japanese Americans by the US in WW2 warranted?

    To the first I say, they are not a distinct race; they are Asians. Therefore detaining them on the basis of their nationality cannot be racist unless other Asians were treated the same way. That did not occur, therefore their detention was not racist by definition.

    To the second I say, history has confirmed their detention was not warranted. Nonetheless, it was not done without an understandable reason. Japan had attacked America at Pearl Harbour and declared war on it, and there were known to be Japanese spies. The mistake was in assuming this raised doubts about the loyalty of Japanese Americans.

    When you comment, please try to identify which issue you are addressing.

  27. On my concept of race (which I have always asumed was near universal), I defined it largely on (old fashioned) language grouping nationality. Thus the Germanic ethnic groups are a different race to say the Slavic ethnic groupings. And the Japaneese a different race to the Koreans, the Celts different to the Picts.

    I’ll also add that I find the whole concept of race to be a little artificial and more a cultural construct then anything backed up by genetics. I think John H (The other one, not Temujin, our wanderlustiges Kind) recently referred to a stydy that the entire human genetic spread was only that of a single chimp group, and we had (as genetic stratgy) emphasised visual difference as a way of reinforcing zenophobia.

    And I don’t suppose that the US government adopting a particular view on race makes it legitimate. (Though it may be a powerful piece of supporting evidence…)

  28. I think it’s a little nit picky to argue that just because the Japanese are not scientifically or anthropologically speaking a race but a sub-set of a recognised ethnic/racial group (e.g. Northeastern Mongoloids) that therefore any people who discriminate against just Japanese aren’t really racist. The last thing you expect from a prejudiced group is coherence or consistency. And Tim is right about how Asians as a whole perceive this. I have a relative who grew up under Japanese occupation of Malaysia and witnessed their atrocities who once memorably referred to the Japanese as ‘poison dwarves’. Was he voicing a racist sentiment despite belonging to the same recognised ethnic grouping as the Japanese? of course.

    Anyway it’s irrelevant how you classify it – the internment was wrong on many levels. Incidentally it was supported enthusiastically by FDR and the few people who spoke out against it I think were Republicans as well as J Edgar Hoover.

  29. DavidL,

    The fact that people of German orgin and Italian origin were also interned on a similar basis could be used to refute the notion that there was a racist aspect to the policy. However the fact that Chinese people were not interned is irrelevant.

    Judging people because of where their genes came from in recent history is pretty damn rude even if you class it as something other than racism on the basis of a biological technicality. People who showed no allegiance at all to an enemy government were still judged as suspect merely because of their biology. I would not call such a policy nationalist. Although given the views then still prevalant about separatism it is not hard to imagine notions of race and nationality being very much intertwined.

    For what it is worth Norwegians are a distinct race. Whilst other europeans are descendant from apes, Norwegians are descendant from mountain trolls. 😉

  30. Here’s the issue with that internment. Were the Japanese a potential threat to US internal security? If the answer is possibly then you don’t take risks and worry about the consequences later.

    Sure it was a bad thing to do, but war is also a nasty bitch too and you do what you need to do to reduce the risks to population.

    Was it a racist act? Sure it was but all out war is an racist act too in some ways.

  31. This debate started because Sukrit said the Americans were racist because they interned Japanese Americans during WW2. At issue is whether the term racism is legitimately applied in that context.

    If racism is defined as discrimination on the basis of race, we need to know what race means. Is the fact that Koreans despise the Japanese sufficient for them to be separate races? They look somewhat different, for sure, but so do Tasmanians, Norwegians and Scotsmen.

    When the Japanese occupied Mongolia prior to WW2, was their brutal treatment of the Chinese racist? Or just brutal?

    When the Germans occupied parts of Russia, was their treatment of the Russians racist? Or just brutal?

    When the term race starts getting thrown around without an objective definition, it’s time to stop using it. Objectively there are only the Asian, African and European races.

  32. David:

    Sukrit seems to have this unnecessary/unnatural hatred for the US. He’s generally a good guy until he starts on about the US and then he seems to go off the rails.

  33. Well, I don’t see why the three race thing is objective. Objectively there is only the species Homo Sapiens. Any subgroupings you choose to make after that are all subjective. Just because 18th century scientists ran around classifying everything on visual characteristics doesn’t make it a useful definition in the 21st century. Anyway, clearly I missed those science classes where they gave us the 3 race definition – I’ve never heard of it till now…

    Interestingly perhaps, the Koreans and Japanese are very closely related both ethnically and culturally, but the Japaneese moved on from the Korean peninsula and asimilated another ethnic group already living in the Japanese islands. Then they kept coming back to Korea and stealing stuff. The Japanese like the Koreans, see them as “little brother”, while the Koreans hate the Japanese with passion, even as they slavishly adopt Japanese pop culture…

    None of that is relevant to the debate, just wanted to show that Temujin isn’t the only one who has travelled all over the world…

  34. Objectively there is only the species Homo Sapiens. Any subgroupings you choose to make after that are all subjective.

    If subgroupings are subjective and race is whatever we want it to be, then racism must be equally subjective. I can hate people from Wagga Wagga and be deemed a racist, based on subjective grounds.

    During the cricket season, Australians hate the Poms. Subjectively, that could be termed racism too.

    Perhaps that’s what Sukrit meant. As JC said, he doesn’t like America, so he called them racists. And all the time he was being racist himself. And racism has as much meaning as scratching your arse.

  35. However the fact that Chinese people were not interned is irrelevant.

    It is rather relevant if the suggestion is as it appears to be that Japanese were interned in a racist act. If it was racist, then it would be anti Asian racism, in which case the fact that other Asian nationalities were not interned is a good case against it.

  36. Jim – I’m happy to concede to David that the policy was arguably not racist. However not for the reason you infer. If there had been no internment of Germans and Italians then I would argue that the policy was clearly racist even if there had also been no internment of Chinese people. It would have been a case of treating asians from enemy countries different to whites from enemy countries. Akin to giving black criminals longer jail sentences than white criminals. However in so far as people with origins based in an ememy country were treated badly on a consistent basis, irrespective of their race, then the policy was not racist.

  37. A side issue- do you suppose that Barack Obama’s middle name is ‘For’? (Barrack for Obama, get it??)

  38. 3 races?

    So somehow you manage to squeeze Indians, Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, Aboriginals and Arabs into those groupings, David? I’d like to see how you slice that cake…

    Actually if you look at genetic clusters there are roughly 7 biological/ genetic races.

    But much like dog breeds it’s far more complicated than that, too.

    The Japanese internment wasn’t about nationality (as defined by citizenship) but about race. Not biological race, but social race. Race, defined socially, is a group of individuals that sees themselves as a distinct grouping of people, where that grouping is commonly recognised by others around the world.

    Tasmanians aren’t commonly recognised as a separate race, nor do they determine themselves to be one (except in joke). Tasmanians are “Australian”, Australians are a distinct race in some people’s judgements, “mixed British” in other people’s. I classify myself as “Australian”- other Australians are proud of their heritage and list their race as “English”, “Irish” or whatever. Most French see themselves as French, most Japanese see themselves as Japanese, not as Asian. Even someone who has never been to France will note themselves as French if they have French blood.

    Yes, there’s no one concrete definition of race. But discrimination on the basis of perceived race is still racism. By its very definition.

  39. Jim Fryar-
    A point of clarification, please.
    When you write ‘To be one.’, do you mean, ‘to be a separate race.’, or do you mean ‘to be all one race.’?

  40. there’s no one concrete definition of race

    My point exactly. In fact there are innumerable different definitions, most of them subjective. Which makes calling America racist for interning Japanese in WW2 meaningless because nobody knows what it means. If the Japanese in America perceived themselves to be a distinct race but the Americans who interned them merely perceived them as having potential loyalties to Japan, who decides whether it’s racist?

    The only solution is an objective division like the three races I nominated. That’s how they do it in the US except they refer to Europeans as Caucasian. But don’t tell Sukrit or he’ll say that confirms it can’t be right.

    And some of my best friends are Tasmanian. As I perceive them to be.

  41. When you write ‘To be one.’, do you mean, ‘to be a separate race.’, or do you mean ‘to be all one race.’?

    I suspect he meant, to be one person in spite of having two heads 🙂

  42. Sukrit — I’m glad we share our definitions of “racism” and “racial bigotry”.

    Regarding this Jailed-Japanese story, I half agree with both.

    I think it was racist policy. I do think that the Japanese are a distinct race… at least according to the way I use “race”.

    I do not think it was racially bigoted. There was an assumption that people of Japanese race would be more sympathetic to Japan… but I think that assumption was based on logic & reality, not bigotry.

    But having said that, I think it was bad policy. While the generalisation may have been true… I don’t believe an innocent person should ever be arrested on suspicion of what they might do.

  43. Temujin; I assume you are still overseas, or you wouldn’t be commenting during the State of Origin, great news mate we thrashed the cockroaches 30/0.

    Actually I was just kidding about Tasmanians, they’re OK, I had a friend once who knew one.

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