Thursday, August 24, 2006

La. Mom: Black Kids Sent to Back of Bus

La. Mom: Black Kids Sent to Back of Bus - AP

One of the most common mistakes we make in combating racism is not understanding or accepting that it comes to us in two very different forms, even though it looks the same to the recipient. Some might even say that this difference does not matter, as the damage is the same. However, the distinction is critical in making the choice of how best to combat it, and how to make progress even while it still exists.

Racism from malice, or hatred, is ‘causative’ behavior that contorts whatever arguments of truth and knowledge exist, with the objective of exploiting others or situations for personal or group advantage. The behavior of the malice-hearted racist is driven by wickedness, in the face of explanatory information known and available. Alternately, racism from ignorance is a ‘resulting’ behavior, is ubiquitous, and does not have exploitation as a goal, although is causes harm, nonetheless.

The behavior of the ignorant racist is driven by their best available, albeit questionable, explanation of why things are the way they appear. These individuals believe that they are doing the fair and right thing for themselves, their loved ones, and society, by taking the positions, whose objective generally is some form of protection, or so they believe. While they do not share the views of the malice-hearted racist, their own actions, which they have difficulty openly defending, do not allow them to confront, or even recognize, behavior they know to be malicious.

For the record, the La. school bus driver, who made the Black kids sit in the back of the bus, is displaying exceptional malice. This is not an example of how all White people secretly feel about Blacks, nor is it an example of how all Black people are treated in this country. Rather it is an instance of racial malice, not ignorance, that deserves serious rebuttal, and without exaggeration or minimization.

James C. Collier


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