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Analysis Of Appiah´S View Of Racism

1025 words - 5 pages

In this paper I will be arguing that racist beliefs are cognitive problems according to Appiah’s account of racisms. In order to defend this position, I will first explain Appiah’s account of how racism is heritable through genes, focusing specifically on what he thinks the connection between extrinsic racists and intrinsic racists are. Then, I will define what Appiah takes a extrinsic and intrinsic racists to be, and show how his definition of what an “insincere” extrinsic is distinctive by contrasting it with other ways one could interpret or define as an “insincere” racist. I will then present an objection that explains why I think that racialism is not heritable through genes and that an “insincere” extrinsic racist should not change their minds.
Appiah argues that racism is heritable through genes. Evidence of this can be found if we consider what he says about Hegel and the nineteenth-century Western world’s view on racism. Appiah claims that the “heritable characteristics, possessed by members of our species… share certain traits and tendencies with each other that they do not share with members of any other race. Theses traits and tendencies characteristic of race constitute, on the racialist view, a sort of racial essence.” This example explains that the becoming of racism was passed down through generation to generation and thus became the basis to be racists towards any individual race if they feel that specific race isn’t worthy. However, others may argue that racism isn’t all heritable because some people can just become racist due to situations they may have had. For example, when Muslims destroyed the twin towers, a lot of people were either scared or had hatred towards them, which is racist against Muslims even though it was only a group of them. However, Appiah does not think that racism is just created in any way. What Appiah calls as “racialism” is basically a cognitive rather than moral problem. He claims, “The issue is how the world is, not how we would want it to be.” Here is why he thinks racialism is a better explanation of a racist, “a presupposition of other doctrines that have been called “racism”, and these other doctrines have been, in the last few centuries, the basis of a great deal of human suffering and the source of a great deal of moral error.”
Appiah claims that there are two types of racists: extrinsic and intrinsic racists. He defines an extrinsic racist as people who rely on stereotypes, they are based in social prejudices and they have evidence based “beliefs” to show they have a right to be racist. Evidence for this can be found if we consider what he states about an extrinsic racist. “…extrinsic racists make moral distinction between member of different races because they believe that the racial essence entails certain morally relevant qualities.” However, some people might argue that being an extrinsic racist is not all about discrimination of respects that authorize cruel treatment. For example, an...

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