Blogs > Liberty and Power > More on the New Jim Crow "Survivor."

Aug 26, 2006 5:22 pm


More on the New Jim Crow "Survivor."



Over at Positive Liberty, Jason Kuznicki rightly slams the new Jim Crow"Survivor" which I discussed here a couple of days ago.

The idea that an experiment in segregation has anything interesting to tell us about the human condition is deeply offensive. As it applies to humans, race may have either physiological or cultural meanings. The first set of meanings is almost completely trivial; the second set is at best demeaning — and at worst totalitarian.

Insofar as race is a physical phenomenon, it means almost nothing. In almost all cases, a person’s blood type is a more medically salient fact than his race. And in every single case, a person’s particular family history, his social environment, his habits, his specific genetic makeup, and his medical history will yield facts that his race could only vaguely hint at.

As to its cultural significance, race means only what we make it mean. Race, in the cultural sense, is an agreed set of meanings, values, and attributes that we — lazy humans — apply to those around us, typically based on their skin color and other superficial physical features. We make these racial meanings both descriptively (by declaring that members of a racial group are X) and performatively (by acting according to X, since, for our own racial group, it is the path of least resistance).

The content of our racial thinking may be relatively innocuous — believing that black people like, or should like, jazz. Or it may be utterly depraved — believing that the Jewish race is fit only to be exterminated. Either way, though, these are things that we have created. They possess no other reality.


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David T. Beito - 9/4/2006

True.....but race is an arbitrary distinction, sex is not (or, at least, much less so).


Mark Brady - 8/27/2006

Why exactly is this "an experiment in segregation"? I don't watch the program but I understand they have had single-sex teams competing against each other. Was this also "an experiment in segregation"?