I'm not good at giving examples (at this moment), but I think you can understand what I mean.

closed as off-topic by James Kingsbery, virmaior, Hunan Rostomyan, Mauro ALLEGRANZA, iphigenie Jul 10 '14 at 7:57

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  • Do you mean prejudice directed at racists for being racists (one might say 'racists qua racists'), or specifically racism against somebody who happens to be a racist, due to the colour of their skin? If the former, then that wouldn't be racism... – J.P. Jul 9 '14 at 15:01

Racism :

consists of both prejudice and discrimination based in social perceptions of biological differences between peoples. It often takes the form of social actions, practices or beliefs, or political systems that consider different races [...]

where race

is a classification system used to categorize humans into large and distinct populations or groups by anatomical, cultural, ethnic, genetic, geographical, historical, linguistic, religious, and/or social affiliation.

But - assuming that the concept of race is "useful" - why we expect that the "racist" belongs to some race ?


A better question is whether 'racism' is or is not a natural kind. In general, if one is going to be intolerant, of whom will one be intolerant? If you merely choose to be intolerant of all those who are intolerant, you've just entered into Russell's Paradox. After all, if you are intolerant of anyone, you are by definition intolerant. So, let's try and rephrase the question from:

Does racism towards racists count as racism?


Does intolerance towards intolerance count as intolerance?

And so, what's really the question is whether some kinds of intolerance are better than others. Intuitively, we want to say "Yes!", for it seems like being intolerant of rapists and murderers. But can this reasoning really extend everywhere folks want it to extend? For example, Steven D. Smith argues in The Disenchantment of Secular Discourse that the harm principle, when worked out in full legal detail, doesn't look at all like the intuitive version which was so alluring.

I'm inclined to side with Alsadair MacIntyre in his After Virtue, and say that one cannot separate into "good intolerant" and "bad intolerant" without some kind of shared telos, shared common good and goal of the whole society. Without a shared telos, there is no effective way to verify that given formulations of intolerance continue to do things the entire society considers 'good'. Without some common standard which most citizens can access, it is simply too easy to slowly and gently manipulate people, bending them to the desires of the elite. There would be a Nietzschean imposition of the will by the powerful upon not just the weak, but the culpably ignorant.


Ethics and morals are situational. When people say "don't lie", it means "don't lie for the wrong reasons". People usually won't judge you if you, say, lied to protect someone.

Likewise, "don't be intolerant" really means "don't be intolerant for the wrong reasons".

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