We know that today society does not approve of racism (atleast in public it has a negative sound). But I asked myself - why did it even come to racism - why was it needed? Did it bring any benefit to a certain community to hate people of different race/belief/sexuality, even if they were not doing any harm to them?

For example - nazi Germany considered the Arian race to be above all other races - what would they gain if all other races were wiped out - leaving the Arian race as the only existing human race?

Would they be able to reach their goal even without wiping out people of other races?

  • As far as the question above -- please consider developing your concern a bit further to share some more of the context and motivation behind it. It would also help to indicate your level of familiarity with academic philosophy. Just like on SO, it's ideal to ask as specific a question as possible: exactly what particular challenge you're encountering in your study (in this site, that means the study of philosophy); what you might be reading or studying that makes this concern urgent or important to you; what sort of explanation you might be expecting; what you might have found out so far; etc
    – Joseph Weissman
    Jul 13 '12 at 14:08
  • I think it would need to be cleaned up and focused a little bit before moving to another site -- if you would like to reformulate to be clearer about the historical or psychological concern, we'd be happy to facilitate the migration. (In passing, this could still definitely be formulated as a philosophical concern -- it would just need a little more development and exposition of context and motivations)
    – Joseph Weissman
    Jul 17 '12 at 17:08
  • I don't think this is a viable history question, as it's too broad. I feel you should narrow the focus to specific time periods in history, rather than asking for a summation of the advantages of racism from all time. Either way, you can try posting it yourself on history.SE, but I'd rather not give them something they may just close right away.
    – stoicfury
    Jan 15 '14 at 10:28
  • @stoicfury - can you suggest where could I get a more argumented answer about this specific topic? I'm interested in more different views on this topic.
    – easwee
    Jan 15 '14 at 10:30
  • If you narrow it down to a specific time period, say, "What were the benefits (perceived or actual) of the racist ideologies of the Nazi Party?" that would give it focus to a specific time period where I think it'd be acceptible. You can ask for the benefits of all racist ideologies throughout history, but I'm not entirely sure History.SE would take such a broad question. I will check with them.
    – stoicfury
    Jan 15 '14 at 19:44

Racism is one of the forms of distinction between 'us' and 'them'. Such distinction to 'us-friends' and 'them-enemy' were very often in relations between tribes and societies. Just open the Bible for the examples - the other peoples in Holy Land are described as the ones that must be conquered and eradicated. In many languages their tribe name means 'people'.

Memetics, such as Vera Birkenbihl argument, that distinctions based on external appearance are similar to the distinction between friend and foe based on smell by rats. It enabled humans to join in large groups, but the rivalization for the resources have stayed (resources are always limited), it simply moved to the higher level (hostility between the whole communities, not the single groups).

However, such primitive distinctions, based only on physical appearance were sistematically replaced by distinctions based on ideology, customs, religion etc. Such distinctions have enabled the groups to join in even larger communities, and also enabled assimilation of the most valuable members of other groups.

The nazi is the return to very primitive and ancient distinction mechanisms. They are the great disadvantage in comparison to ideology-based distinctions. Just simple example - how many great scientists have left Germany because they were Judes - and what Hitler could achieve if he wasn't antisemite (he wasn't be Hitler then, however). It's a great example that the regime practicing racism have the big disadvantage which makes its fall very probable.

Theoretically, if all regimes will become racist, they would survive, as long as they would be able to destroy any regime that would like to use advantages of refusing racism. However, I don't think they would be able to perform such policy for more than one century.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.