The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday June 5th

Rational Discrimination'Still Racist, Dangerous And Must Be Eradicated

I am fascinated by Craig Warner's claim that "rational discrimination is not the same as racism," and how he would define or draw the lines around "rational discrimination." Following from Craig's cabdriver example, it would be "rational discrimination" for restaurants and hotels all over New York to ban black men from entering because of the black crime rate in New York City. And there's nothing racist about that (as long as the owners don't think that blacks are inherently inferior)?

What upsets me the most about the stereotypes of the violent black men in the article, and the ridiculous distinction that Craig draws between racism and "rational discrimination," is that he uses it, apparently, to protect us "scared immigrants" from unjust penalties because we don't believe that "blacks are inherently inferior."

Craig's argument does little or nothing to further the cause of immigrants, since making legitimate certain racist behaviors because they are "rational discrimination" and not racism, hurts all minorities. If it is not racist for cabdrivers - black, white, immigrant - to not stop for black men because they are violent, then it is not racist for people to not rent houses to Indians because they make everything smell bad (a real situation my parents had to deal with while house-shopping in New Jersey), or in customs to examine the bags of almost all bearded Arab men on a flight I took from Cairo to London, because bearded Arabs are generally terrorists.

It's a very slippery slope .

These "rational discriminations" based on stereotypes of race and ethnicity are racist, and it is important to recognize them as such and work to tear them down, as we work (as Craig recommends) toward constructive solutions to problems of racism through improving resources, opportunities and rewards available to minorities.

Durba Chattaraj


Cultural Studies and Economics


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