Racism, Sexism, and Anti-Semistism

Within minutes of each other (at least according to Google Reader) Megan McArdle and Ezra Klein independently published essays about the real meaning of racism and sexism and anti-Semitism, respectively.

There’s little doubt that these phenomena exist and have real impact on people’s lives. That we’re having to constantly tweak their definitions, though, would surely seem powerful evidence that they’re much less pervasive and powerful than they used to be.

FILED UNDER: Gender Issues, Race and Politics, , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. yetanotherjohn says:

    Below is her latest definition on racism, which is used in “2000 International Convention on All Foms of Racial Discrimination and Resolutions of the Commission on Elimination of Racial Discrimination on Gender and Racism: Elements and Implications for Action”
    About Racism, A Definition by Ester Indahyani Jusuf

    Racism is the belief that human beings can be divided into races and that member of some races is inferior to members of other races. Usually, this attitude also involves the belief that one’s own race is superior to other races. People who believe in or practice racism are called racists. They claim that members of their own race are mentally, physically, morally, or culturally superior to those of other races. Because racists assume they are superior, they believe they deserve special rights and privileges.

    Racism is a form of prejudice. Many people tend to consider their own appearance and behavior as normal and therefore desirable. They may distrust or fear people who look or act differently. When differences are obvious –such as in skin color or religious worship– the distrust becomes greater. Such attitudes can lead to the belief that people who look or act differently are inferior. Many people do not look for the same qualities in other groups that they admire in their own. Also, they do not recognize the different but equally good qualities that member of other groups possesses.

    You know racists, like those who support affirmative action to give one group priviledged status compared to another group based ont he skin color of the two groups.

  2. floyd says:

    Go to, let us go down, and there CONFOUND their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.
    Therefore is the name of it called Babel.

  3. G.A.Phillips says:

    I’m predudice against Bear and Viking fans!

    I have come cleen, now how about the rest of you.

  4. Michael says:

    You know racists, like those who support affirmative action to give one group priviledged status compared to another group based ont he skin color of the two groups.

    Affirmative action was an effort to counter-balance racism that still existed in our society after equal rights were granted by law. You know that, so don’t pretend like it was a bad idea or has a bad reason for existing. Argue it’s not longer needed if you want, you might even convince me of that, but don’t argue that it was always wrong.

  5. Bandit says:

    It’s (AA) always wrong because it is racist by definition and intent.

  6. yetanotherjohn says:


    Racist have always had a reason that seemed good to them as to why their racism was okay. And once they have the privilege, it is very hard for any group to let go of the privilege. So yes, I think it was wrong from the begining and is even worse now. Further, any time you ignore the constitution to achieve a “good”, you should be careful. There is a reason that it is so hard to change the constitution so that short time whims don’t resolve into long term problems.

    The same impact could have been achieved by targeting socio-economic factors, rather than race. That would have also meant that as the purported good of the thumb on the scale was achieved, the people would have naturally migrated out of the protected class.