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Zachary W. Anderson
Works at Raiding Party Games
Attended Emory University
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Zachary W. Anderson
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This article was written by Clive Emary from the University of Hull , and was originally published by The Conversation . Light plays a vital role in our everyday lives and technologies based on light are all around us. So we might expect that our...
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Zachary W. Anderson

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All good stuff.
 
Let's get something straight about racism.

I've seen more and more comments and discussions lately that argue that identifying and criticizing white privilege is racist, because it discriminates against white people.

A strictly literal understanding of the word "racism" makes it possible to interpret situations where we criticize someone on the basis of their race to be racism. Here's the reason why that rhetorical move is incorrect.

When we talk about racism, we are not talking about skin colors. We are talking about power and privilege. And, historically, the most powerful and privileged race in the West has been white people.

That means that what we're really talking about when we talk about racism is a system of asymmetrical power relations that are historically-grounded and culturally-enforced.

- "A system" means that we're not talking about what individuals do. We're talking about patterns in macro-groups. Individuals can say, do, or believe things that are racist, but it doesn't usually help us to say that individuals are racist. This is especially so because we all say, do, and believe racist things every day, and we have to accept that we are all caught in a system that has the power to make us say, do, and believe things.

- "Asymmetrical power relations" means here that the way that races interact has to do with who has power over whom, and that one race has more power than others. In our culture, it is white people who have more power, which can manifest as greater leniency when charged with crimes, more access to jobs due to preferential hiring practices, and exclusive access to certain resources. How did all of these racist power structures come about?

- "Historically-grounded" means that racism has a basis in historical events. In particular, it means that whites have enjoyed a high degree of advantage for centuries in the United States, largely on the basis of exploiting others on the basis of race, such as black people, Chinese people, and Native American people. Over time, advantage or disadvantage accumulate, yielding a sense that asymmetrical power relations between races are a natural part of our culture.

- "Culturally-enforced" means that we maintain and support cultural norms that perpetuate cumulative advantage or disadvantage. In particular, we have made the features of white identity into a norm and standard by which all others are to be measured and judged. One result is that sometimes when non-whites do something that seems normal to them, they are punished or rebuked for it. Another result is that we make other cultural traditions weird and/or force them into segregated communities (e.g., reservations, Chinatowns), which forces the people living within those traditions and segregated communities to recognize that they are weird and whiteness is normal.

Let's put all this together again.

After the Second World War, African Americans were actively prevented from buying homes in white suburbs by banks and financiers. We call this redlining. They were forced into African American communities, mostly in inner cities, and were effectively segregated from the predominantly wealthy white suburbs. When African Americans living in these segregated communities were not hired for good paying jobs, their communities came to lack a sufficient tax base to support the infrastructure and maintenance necessary to create a safe and attractive environment. African Americans were only allowed to occupy jobs that were not prestigious, nor that would lead to higher status. Meanwhile, whites, living on the outside, came to see these communities as dirty and dangerous, and they were not required to accept that they created the very conditions that led to deteriorating architecture and low-status occupations. Whites had that luxury, because they were enjoying good paying jobs that provided a strong tax base for their communities and did not require them to undertake more socially prestigious work.

After a time, this gave rise to false but comforting explanations like "black people are lazy" or "black people are criminals" or "black people are uncivilized." The reality was and is that black people, like all people, have always been doing the best they can with what is available and fighting for better. But they also objectively had less to start out with.

Flash forward to today. With 70 years of good jobs, prestige, education, and real estate equity behind them, white families have handed down tremendous amounts of cumulative advantage to their white children and grandchildren, while African American families have been actively excluded and so have instead handed down tremendous amounts of cumulative disadvantage.
Thus, we have a racist system, one that is based on asymmetrical power relations that are historically-grounded and culturally-enforced.

And saying so doesn't make someone racist against white people.
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Zachary W. Anderson
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Boldly going where no drone has gone before.
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A prodigy grows up to become one of the greatest mathematicians in the world.
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Scientist discovers new nonfat particle... wait, sorry, I misread that:

http://phys.org/news/2015-07-year-massless-particle-next-generation-electronics.html
An international team led by Princeton University scientists has discovered Weyl fermions, an elusive massless particle theorized 85 years ago. The particle could give rise to faster and more efficient electronics because of its unusual ability to behave as matter and antimatter inside a crystal, according to new research.
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Have him in circles
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Chemical-to-electrical-to-chemical signal transmission. A conventional neuron (upper panel) senses chemical signals (orange circles), which trigger an
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And hey, another exploding water machine for good measure! http://news.stanford.edu/news/2015/june/water-splitter-catalyst-062315.html
Stanford scientists have developed a cheap and efficient way to extract clean-burning hydrogen fuel from water 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 
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We can rebuild them faster more quickly!
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150611144438.htm
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Have him in circles
402 people
Moe “Gilvan Blight” Tousignant's profile photo
Cheri Cerio's profile photo
Willie Leak's profile photo
Chris “Crispy” Lloyd's profile photo
Chun Huang's profile photo
Danny Herres's profile photo
Andrea Franklin's profile photo
Elias Bekele's profile photo
John Reyst's profile photo
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  • Raiding Party Games
    Game Designer, present
  • Emory University
    Information Analyst II, present
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The same thing we do every night, Pinky... try to take over the world.
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Opt-in circles: I will add you to my following circles at your request.

Games - You like reading about games, discussing game themes or mechanics, want random invitations to game nights, and might be interested in playtesting.

Food - You want to read my restaurant reviews, cooking ideas, and probably random dinner gatherings as well (assuming my budget stays healthy).
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Designed Mad Scientist University
Education
  • Emory University
    Computer Science, 1997 - 2001