The birth and development of the American police can be traced to a multitude of historical, legal and political-economic conditions. The institution of slavery and the control of minorities, however, were two of the more formidable historic features of American society shaping early policing.
Richard McCulloch Reductionism and extremism both try to keep things simple.
Reductionism attempts to reduce the complex to the simple, both in matters of type, kind or form, and causality. Where there are many types or forms, differing in both minor and major degrees, reductionism -- unable or unwilling to make distinctions -- claims there is only one type or form.
Where there are many different causes combining to produce an effect, reductionism insists there is only one cause. Extremism, the other product of simplistic thinking, defines an issue only in terms of its two extreme positions, denying the possible existence of alternative positions between the two extremes.
For the extremist there is no middle ground, only one extreme or the other. Non-support for one extreme position is equated with support of the opposite extreme position. The problem with simplistic thinking, whether reductionism or extremism, is that in a world of almost infinite complexity and variety it rarely provides an accurate or truthful portrayal of reality.
This problem is particularly acute in the fields of definition and categorization. For example, racism -- the subject of this chapter -- is a term that is frequently subject to simplistic definitions. It is common to define racism as having only one cause and existing in only one form, or being of a uniform type.
Definitions that describe a wide variation in types of racism, and a great diversity in causes or motives for racism, are conspicuous by their absence. Furthermore, the single uniform type that racism is usually reduced to in these simplistic definitions is almost always of an extremist character.
In the hope of correcting the distortions, misconceptions and inaccuracies inherent in simplistic definitions, a more complete definition of racism, in its variety of forms, kinds and types, causes and motives, will be presented here.
Racism can be broadly defined as including any ideology -- or system of ideas, values, ethics and beliefs -- in which race and racial differences are recognized and regarded as valuable and important.
It can also be defined as the opposite of racial nihilism, which denies race and racial differences and regards them as being without value or importance.
In terms of causality or motive racism can be based on a wide variety of opposites, as can its own opposite -- racial nihilism. It can be based on love or hate, knowledge or ignorance, idealism or realism, loyalty or envy, benevolence or malice. In sum, the motives or reasons for racism are as varied and complex as anything involving humanity is likely to be.
But for purposes of discussion they can be divided into the following categories -- factual beliefs, ethical beliefs, values and emotions.
Racism based on factual beliefs includes the racism based on the belief that one race is superior to another, as the belief in racial superiority -- whether factually right or wrong -- is a factual belief. This factual belief is often improperly criticized on ethical rather than factual grounds by racial egalitarians who demand that all factual beliefs conform to their ethical beliefs.
Also included in this category is the racism based on the factual belief in significant racial differences and variation -- independent of issues of superiority or inferiority -- coupled with the factual belief that it would be biologically beneficial for life and humanity to preserve that diversity.
The racism based on a religious conviction that it is fulfilling the divine will is also included in the category of factual belief. Racism based on ethical beliefs includes the racism that supports racial rights and affirms the right of all races to life, independence racial self-determination or liberty and the conditions of racial separation required for both.
At the other end of the ethical spectrum, but also included in the category of racism based on ethical beliefs, is the racism which rejects and denies racial rights in favor of a racial competition for territory, dominance, mastery and existence -- a struggle for racial survival unrestricted by moral considerations.
This form of racism -- here designated as immoral racism -- is based on the ethical belief that there are no racial rights.
This belief makes it the opposite of the racism -- here designated as moral racism -- that is based on the ethical belief in racial rights. Ironically, racial nihilism -- the opposite of racism in terms of its denial and rejection of the importance and value of race -- also denies and rejects racial rights, sharing this belief in common with immoral racism, and as a consequence also favors conditions specifically, multiracialism in which racial existence is not protected or secure, but is threatened with destruction by racial competition, replacement and intermixture.
Racism based on values includes the racism which regards the qualities of one race -- usually one's own -- as more important or desirable than those of other races. Values both influence and are influenced by -- and are closely connected with -- emotions, feelings and esthetic sensibilities that are deeply rooted in the human psyche, often subjective, and perhaps partially innate or genetic in origin.
These can be either positive or negative. There are innumerable gradations or degrees of both positive and negative emotions, with love being the most positive and hate the most negative. There are many different definitions of both love and hate, but for general purposes love can be defined as a strong positive emotion or feeling and hate as a strong negative emotion.
In terms of causality, the critics of racism commonly define it as motivated or caused exclusively by hate, or even as synonymous with racial hate. But there is both more than one type of racism and more than one cause.
Each type has its own cause, and each cause creates its own type or form. The emotions of love and hate are often the positive and negative poles of the same emotion, for as it is normal to love that which represents one's values, so it is also normal to hate that which represents the antithesis of one's values.
Similarly, it is normal to hate that which threatens one's values with harm or destruction. This type of hate is a derivative emotion of love, with love being the originating, primary, active and determining emotion, motive or cause and hate being a derivative, secondary and reactive response to perceived threats.
These two emotions, the one derived from the other, are often confused as to primacy, but they are different poles of the same emotion, their existence inseparably connected.
Although the role of love as a cause of racism is seldom admitted by its critics, who prefer to define racism in strictly negative terms, the fact is that the forms of racism based on values are most commonly caused or motivated by the positive emotion of love.There is no way to go back in time and determine what levels of racism existed before slavery existed.
Instead, we can only speculate. Historians who have studied the issue . Abraham Lincoln and Slavery. Featured Book. Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Johns Hopkins Press, ) The Morality and Legality of Slavery. Opposing the Extension of Slavery. Right and Wrong Racism.
by. Richard McCulloch. Reductionism and extremism both try to keep things simple. Reductionism attempts to reduce the complex to . A connection between slavery and racism can then be formed when the White elites decide to only enslave the Black people when they feel their dominance and superiority is jeopardized in one way or the other.
era of slavery The Origin of Race and Slavery in North America The origin of race and slavery in North America is often viewed. A brief history of racism in the United States Samana Siddiqui Racism is the belief that one’s race, skin color, or more generally, one’s group, be it of religious, national or ethnic identity, is superior to others in humanity.
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