..from living in a racially segregated society” simply because he can discriminate against other races. (Rosenfeld 1991: 112). In other caricature of racist attitude, legal philosopher Richard Wasserstrom wrote: “to be nonwhite — especially to be black — is to be treated and seen to be a member of a group that is different from and inferior to… adult white males.”
Though these may be true to certain extent, however it is not correct to regard every person in the United States a racist or charge everyone who makes an observation about people of other races with racial bigotry. Race is as much a part of ones identity as family names and country of origin. There is absolutely no denying that. Therefore to refer to someone as black or Hispanic doesnt really make you a racist. However when claims are made about people of color being deficient or inferior in some respect than this constitutes racial bigotry.
Similarly stating cultural facts or preferences isnt inherently evil. It is simply a matter of common observation. For example we notice that most Asian-Americans excel at studies so categorizing them as nerds doesnt make one a racist. This may be termed as labeling but it isnt exactly racist attitude. However to discriminate due to this labeling is certainly racist. Let us explain this with another example. Hispanics, at least a large majority of them, fancy dancing and are seen as hip. That is fine. It is labeling but its not racist unless the person starts discriminating due to this. It would become racist behavior when if a university refuses a Hispanic admission to medical sciences simply because it feels that all Hispanics are good at dancing but poor in studies.
Jaynes and Williams (1989) explain what exactly is racism or racist behavior:
Racism or racist behavior denotes “negative racial attitudes or outcomes that lack a clear basis in a belief in inherent racial inferiority. Mere recognition of social groups based on “racial” characteristics is not treated here as a form of racism, but as being “race conscious.” Cultural preferences that do not include systematic ranking of social groups and clear hostility toward out-groups is termed ethnocentrism. The concept of racism, however qualified and defined, involves a value judgment. Racism of whatever variety is undesirable; racist outcomes are wrong; and people who advocate racist ideas are typically viewed as being morally deficient, if not dangerous. (556)
In short, racist or racism are highly misused and misunderstood terms. There is a specific behavior in specific situations that can be termed racist. Merely race consciousness doesnt constitute racist mindset.
Nickel J. 1975. “Preferential Policies in Hiring and Admissions: A Jurisprudential Approach.” Columbia Law Review 75: 534-555.
Thomson J. 1977. “Preferential Hiring.” In Cohen, Nagel and Scanlon, eds.: 19-39.
Rosenfeld M. 1991. Affirmative Action and Justice. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press.
Wasserstrom R. 1985a. “On Racism and Sexism.” In Wasserstrom, ed.: 1-29.
Jaynes G., and Williams R., eds. 1989. A Common.