Eskimos have more than 50 different words for snow. There is a good reason for this: they can quickly and accurately describe and pass on often vital information about their surroundings. It would be equally vital in the English language to have many different words to distinguish between the different kinds of racial discrimination. Their impact is on a vastly varied scale: harmless, less harmful, more harmful, disgusting and outright abhorrent. However, we brand all of them with a single word: racism.
Could racism be harmless??? I hear some of the readers cry out. Let me give some examples: an African girl who would only consider dating African guys. Is this a form of racial discrimination? Yes. Is this harmless to others? Yes, it is. Now consider a white European girl who would only consider dating white guys. The same should apply. Here is the deal: in a just and fair society nobody should restrict individuals from being attracted to each other, even if race plays a part in their attraction. Is this racism at all? I don’t think so. There should be a separate word for this kind of racial discrimination.
Everybody knows about race related genetic differences. Let’s first discuss some true statements based on this. Skin color is a trivial genetic difference for a start. People rarely think about racism when GPs subscribe to Africans one kind and Caucasians another kind of medication for high blood pressure.
We rarely call a genetics related statement racist if it’s true and advantageous for a certain race. Examples are: the greatest long distance runners are from Kenya or Ethiopia. Conversely, in the 1930s Hungary, Jewish people were only allowed to enter university in severely restricted numbers because their exam results were much better than the average. There was no denial of genetics playing a part in introducing this racially discriminatory law.
However, a statement could easily be branded racist if it refers to a genetic difference which is seen as a disadvantage to a particular race, even if it’s true. In any case there should be a word other than racism for these statements.
False statements linking genetic differences to race could be way more harmful. An example is the German ‘Übermensch’ utilized frequently by Hitler to describe the Germanic master race. We need a word for this kind of racism too.
Low level racist chants in football or soccer stadiums are harmful too, but on a different level. They could incite racially motivated unprovoked attacks on innocent individuals.
Another kind of racism happening in Britain is when men of predominantly Asian origin are sexually exploiting vulnerable white girls. A separate word would be good to describe these abhorrent crimes. This subject is brought up briefly in my book, The Sex Tourist.
There are countless examples of subtle, covert racism. Several of them deserve a separate word, so people instantly know what they’re talking about. Isn’t it time to extend our vocabulary with some new words?