The ongoing saga of Imus’ comments about the Rutgers women’s basketball team brings this difference to the surface again. Is there a difference between someone who says something racializing (and negative) and someone who says the same thing but would be identified as racist? The book, Divided by Faith addresses this if memory serves. What do you think? Is there a difference? Does it matter?
1. There is a difference but it may not matter. Damage is still done whether one intentionally says racist (believes one race is superior to another) things or whether one racializes (makes remarks that disparage a person based on race). Yes, some people do think that certain races are better than others. Other people may not think their race is better but still buy into stereotypes that disparage another race in general.
2. Racialization may in fact be more damaging and more insidious because it makes the surface look fine (its not my heart, I’m a good person) but continue the legacy of hatred just the same. Ask some African Americans and they will tell you that they’d rather live with open racism than with pretend equality that really isn’t.