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Is judging a person by their intelligence analogous to racism? A person can't

Is judging a person by their intelligence analogous to racism? A person can't help the genetics that determines their intellectual capacity and the belief in the superiority of intelligent people seems to arguably be a basis for social inequalities.

Great question!

Some preliminary thoughts: Racism seems to involve treating a group of persons who share an ethnic identity with derision, disrespect, and partial disadvantage. Accounts of racism today are controversial, but I propose that a comprehensive account of racism should involve both action as well as attitudes. What you write suggests that one reason why racism is inappropriate / unjust / wrong, is that persons cannot help being a certain ethnicity. I suggest, however, that racism would be wrong whether or not one could voluntarily adopt or abandon a race or ethnicity. If I converted to Judaism and, in the eyes of the world I became Jewish, anti-semitism would still be wrong even though I could have remained a Christian. In a related way, I suggest it would still be wrong to discriminate against homosexuals whether or not a person can choose whether to be homosexual or not.

It should be added as a side point that the very category of "race" is vexing. Some think of race as a social construct. If that is true, then (paradoxically) it could turn out that races do not exist as real things / categories, but racists do. This might be analogous to the idea that while it turns out that there are no witches (persons with supernatural powers to cast spells etc) but there have been witch-hunters.

On to intelligence: I suspect that some kinds of preferential treatment of persons based on intelligence would seem like racism. The following examples seem unjust: a policy in which only highly intelligent people have a right not to be tortured, but less intelligent people may be tortured for any reason whatever; a policy in which intelligent people can enslave those less intelligent, etceteras. But sometimes discrimination in which intelligence is a factor seems fair and prudent. Wouldn't you want intelligent persons to be pilots, surgeons, sailers, etc, rather than persons who are not intelligent --here I mean intelligent in the sense of mastering the relevant skills? Presumably, too, for a university to accept students on the basis of intelligence (including the capacity to learn) seems reasonable, right?

But you may be on to a very interesting worry. Some persons may be very vain and assume that they are superior to others on the grounds of some kind of measure of intelligence, when they are utterly inferior when it comes to matters of compassion, caring for others, generosity, courage, humility, poetic and artistic expressiveness, and so on. I suggest that someone we might call intelligent could turn out to be merely clever, but that is different from recognizing that someone is wise.

Great question! Some preliminary thoughts: Racism seems to involve treating a group of persons who share an ethnic identity with derision, disrespect, and partial disadvantage. Accounts of racism today are controversial, but I propose that a comprehensive account of racism should involve both action as well as attitudes. What you write suggests that one reason why racism is inappropriate / unjust / wrong, is that persons cannot help being a certain ethnicity. I suggest, however, that racism would be wrong whether or not one could voluntarily adopt or abandon a race or ethnicity. If I converted to Judaism and, in the eyes of the world I became Jewish, anti-semitism would still be wrong even though I could have remained a Christian. In a related way, I suggest it would still be wrong to discriminate against homosexuals whether or not a person can choose whether to be homosexual or not. It should be added as a side point that the very category of "race" is vexing. Some think of race as a...

Why is it that when a white person says a racial slur, such as "nigger" it is

Why is it that when a white person says a racial slur, such as "nigger" it is thought to be the most heinous crime. However, when a non-white, in particular blacks call whites "crackers" it is dismissed as nothing. Why is there such a double standard in American society? Why is reverse racism rampant more than ever? Whites have to fear of being shunned for voicing their injustices, because if they do, they will be called a racist. If a white is mistreated due to race in the work place nothing occurs. On the other hand, if it happens to a black it gets mass media coverage. The politics are backwards, the NAACP, pushes racial equality for blacks, yet they are immersed with racism towards whites; not all are but it has been displayed. If a white were to make an Organization for the advancement of their race it would be an outcry for its dismantle. Shouldn't all race Organizations be abolished since we're under the same umbrella, the Human race? I too often experienced this firsthand, being of black decent. I...

The questioner makes a number of factual claims which seem to me to need rather a lot of support. In fact, I'm not sure that any of the factual claims the questioner makes are correct.

Who is it that dismisses racially charged remarks by blacks as "nothing"? What examples of workplace mistreatment due to whiteness does the questioner have in mind? Which of the NAACP's leaders are racially biased, and what is the evidence of that bias?

Where is the evidence that "reverse racism" is rampant? Are whites being randomly stopped by black police when driving through black neighborhoods? Are whites suddenly more likely to receive jail time for drug crimes? or to receive the death penalty for capital crimes? Have dozens of studies shown that a job applicant whose details (e.g., name) make it clear that he is white is less likely to be interviewed than one who is clearly black, even if all relevant details of the CVs are otherwise identical? Have similar studies shown the same thing about applications for apartments?

Until some support is provided for these kinds of claims, I'm not sure there's much to be discussed.

This is a timely issue! For about 30 years now I believe that there has been a working definition on many (but not all) campuses in the USA of defining "racism" not as a general denigration of a person or institution or event by virtue of race but as a denigration of a person or institution or event by virtue of race by a person in a position of superior social (political - economic) power. I am not saying that for more than two decades that has been the majority position, but it has been one that definitely has played a role in class discussions and, in one case I know at my college one philosopher teaching an ethics course almost did not get tenure because he did not endorse this more specific definition. Whether or not this more specific definition has an important, fruitful role to play today, ideally we need to get where race (and today the very concept of "race" is highly contested) as well as gender is not used to discriminate, oppress, etc. In many cases especially involving overt behavior...