Institutional and Individual Racism

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According to Jorge L. A. Garcia, we view racism as a malicious, racially based disregard for the welfare of certain people.

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He describes it simply and specifically as a hatred for another’s wellness, due to their race. Viewing racism in this way fundamentally concerns the “heart” of the racist, referring to his or her sentiments and attitudes. He believes that racism as an act is racist to the extent that a racist heart corrupts the absolute manner of the racist. An institution, on the other hand, is racist to the degree that it is founded and established with racist attitudes that produces racist-infected thoughts and actions presented by its originators or fellow supporters.

Furthermore when viewing racism in this way, Garcia suggests that this connection and their intentions, clarifies why racism is always immoral. He further explains that it’s immorality originates from being against the virtues of benevolence and justice towards a specific race. This could mean that one might not feel hatred for someone, but merely indifferent. Exclusively from a third-persons perspective, an understanding of someone’s beliefs about race is necessary for determining whether their ill-will is racial or not.

Likewise, he also states that the definition of racism must include that racism is inheritably wrong. Throughout time, the meaning and use of racism has changed. Garcia states that many respected individuals such as Mills and Flew have changed their definitions and conception of racism over time. This can become problematic as it is important to have a clear conception of racism in mind as we need to know its core principles before we can truly decide if it is definitively immoral or not. As racism is generally widely accepted to be immoral already, having a clear conception is important in order to rectify racism and rid it’s immoral nature from our society.

When looking deeper into Garcia’s precise interpretations of racism, his account is based off of four main characteristics: (1) volitional, (2) virtue ethical, (3) non-doxastic, and (4) individualistic. Garcia justifies his volitional theory of racism, as it is done of one’s own free will. One’s racist acts are done of one’s own free will and done intentionally, with the inability to “hide behind” other misinterpreted meanings (since they are done purposefully). It is important to be able to understand how a volitional racist expresses himself so that we can identify their actions on the basis of ill will towards others. This allows us to be able to call an act or situation racist. Garcia declares that racism is virtue ethical as racist individuals are not naturally born racist. They have been brought up to believe in racist beliefs and therefore their natural “pure heart” has been corrupted. Racism is thought to be non-doxastic as it is not necessarily concerning the beliefs and truths of a particular individual or distinct race,

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