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  •  Wonderful example, dopper. (14+ / 0-)

    I agree wholeheartedly with this:

    Can both those who think discrimination against the unemployed is wrong because it's racist, and those who think it's wrong because it violates other liberal values, focus on ending the policy, not on each other.

    Can we focus on the fact that we both want the same goal, and not on how we reached our conclusions?

    Now I will comment on the less important issue, your example.  Under the law, I don't think it's racism as I understand it (vaguely).  If there is a legitimate business related reason for an action, then any disprortionate impact (as here) is not actionable.  The system is designed to smoke out discrimination when garbed in supposedly race-neutral clothers.  But that is the law.

    Here (outside the law), we would have to define racism.  Most accept that if something is racist, it is wrong and should be fixed.    

    I suspect people discriminating against the unemployed are doing so because they see them as failures or as having lost skills over the time they were out fo work, or something (I don't really understand it).  So I truly doubt any racial animus with most.

    One could make an argument (a chain of causation) that race (or discrimination based on race) over time, even a long period back to slavery, made AAs over represetned in poverty.  One could add to it specific discriminatory actions closer to the present.  Assuming you could make this case that reace played a role in creating more AA unemployment (and I think it's a fairly reasonable argument, see, e.g., "last hired, first fired"), then there certainly is a racial component to the don't hire the unemployed discrimination, but it is several levels back.

    Most, but perhaps not all, cases of disprortionate impact with an economic component does have an antecedent racial aspect, especially if one goes far back enough.  Sometimes the component is in the present or close to it, and sometimens not.

    Now we go to what it means to call it "racist."  Does being able to articulate an argument based on a chain of causation that leads back to discrimination at some point count?  How far back?  People will differ.  Some cases are easier than others.

    Then there is the question, what difference does it make in the real world.  Sometimes a lot.  Most white/European or non AA people, but certainly not all (see tea partiers) do not want to act in a racist manner and see racism as injustice (they may act in a racist manner any way, but they don't want to be.  (assuming racism vis a vis African Americans)  They'll differ over whether it is racist).  So for most (or many) people, if you convince them something is racist, they are more likely to act.

    So it can be a very powerful tool in an argument, a powerful accusation and one that often will be heard.

    Like you here, this example allows for a coailition because most progressives (and even centrists) will oppose discrimination to the unemployed whether they see it as racist or not.    

    But there are cases where it may not be so.  Concreate examples help and I'm all out today, but like all words, "racism" gets indeterminate at the far edges and people contest its meaning.

    But 90% of the time, it's not difficult to determine.  At a minimum, let's agree on those and try to learn from each otehr, white and black (and all other "races.")

    I love Denises' essays on race on how it is a bs construct from the 19th century  (psudeoscientific racism), but that false construct plays a big role in our lives, and bigger in the lives of African Americans because of our history.  

    More jobs equal less debt, even our kids can understand that.

    by TomP on Fri Sep 23, 2011 at 02:10:49 PM PDT

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