Since the threads these days seem to be strikingly full of accusations of racism and bigotry, which are generally just flung back again with extra knobs, I wondered whether there was some sort of collective opinion on what constitutes racism, and, indeed, whether it's wrong to be racist.
There are, as far as I'm concerned, different levels of 'discrimination' available (in racism and other intolerances). I'm going to use an example to illustrate this - a settled Irish person and a Traveller are the two possible candidates to have committed a theft:
1. neutrality - neither is more likely to have been the thief, it all depends entirely on the evidence.
2. bias - the Traveller is more likely to be the thief, but we'll have to hear all the evidence.
3. prejudice - obviously, it's going to be the Traveller, they're all thieves.
4. bigotry - of course it's the Traveller, and anyone who says otherwise is some kind of bleeding-heart cretin.
Obviously, you can apply this the other way round - that makes no difference.
Most people have some bias, at the very least, and if they don't try to overcome it, it can slip towards prejudice (literally - pre-judgement). Some people overcompensate for their bias, and end up either biased or even prejudiced in a direction opposite to their inclination - this is usually a liberal problem.
As far as right and wrong goes, it's an article of liberal belief that racism, and all forms of intolerance, are automatically wrong, there are other opinions (usually, it's natural to be racist, it's good to be natural, it's good to be racist), but why is this the case? After all, racism was considered perfectly fine for most of human history...[yes, so was slavery, etc], so anti-racism requires a defence. Can anyone defend it?[/b]