The opening track on their 2005 album, Angel of Retribution is called…"Judas Rising."
Coincidence? Come on.
P.S. I see from their website that Judas Priest's next album is going to be based on the life and work of, er...Nostradamus. OK, so they're batting .500 now.
My main objection was to the anti-intellectualism of the protests and the praise being offered precisely for that mindlessness.
A second point I made there was one I've made recently in a somewhat different context, e.g., about Norman Finkelstein at Columbia University. A speaking invitation should either be made or not made; but once an individual is invited somewhere (e.g., at a school), he or she ought to be received with a certain sense of decorum regardless of the content of his or her views; allowed to say his piece in uninterrupted silence; challenged with questions (assuming that questions are part of the format); and sent on his way.
This is not to say that speakers should be received"politely" or with" civility" when it comes to a Q&A session. But a challenge has to be put in words, however rude, profane or uncivil. Animal sounds don't count.
I should perhaps have made the more important point back then that I don't think it appropriate for politicians to use schools (especially primary schools) as campaign stops or speaking platforms in the first place. Nor are schools the appropriate place for political indoctrination of any kind. And so, despite my support for the war in Iraq, I object vehemently to the sort of thing described in the excerpt below, drawn from an article in The Princeton Packet of Princeton, NJ.
In his olive pants and green shirt, Sgt. Vince Vella may look like the soldiers in a fifth-grade textbook, but his experiences in Iraq don't match the lessons Eileen Beam and Joanne Glover's fifth-grade students are learning about World War II.If Ms. Beam and Ms. Glover would like to express their support for the war, the military or Sgt. Vella on their own time, they're entirely free to do so. They should not, however, be free—or feel free—to enroll 10-year-olds in their political projects. To have students send letters to a soldier stationed in Iraq is implicitly to inculcate the view that we're all obliged to lend material support to whatever our government does, whether we agree with it or not.
There are no front lines, and there is no visible distinction between an enemy and an ally.
"The only way you know they're there is all of a sudden when they pop up," said Sgt. Vella, describing how to identify insurgents in Iraq. Sgt. Vella spoke Thursday to Eileen Beam and Joanne Glover's fifth-grade students at Village School in West Windsor.
In September, Ms. Beam's students began writing letters to Sgt. Vella, who has been stationed with the Army National Guard near Ramadi since June. Longtime friends of the Vella family, who are West Windsor residents, Ms. Beam and Ms. Glover took the opportunity to let Sgt. Vella's family know how much they appreciate his sacrifice, and to teach their students about the conflict in Iraq.
The students sent letters asking about his favorite sports teams, his favorite classes when he was a student at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South, and how he spends his days in Iraq. They also sent him care packages with snacks at Halloween and cards for Valentine's Day.
Are we, really? For that matter, are fifth-grade students even in a position to express intelligent agreement or disagreement with the war? I for one haven't yet met the ten-year-old capable of grasping the complexities of the WMD debate, the Saddam-Al Qaeda connection, the ramifications of the Reagan administration's"tilt" toward Iraq in the 1980s, the realist vs. neo-conservative debate, the"insurgency," or the concept of a grand strategy.
Judging by reports done by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the average fifth-grader can barely read or do simple arithmetic, has no appreciable understanding of world or American history, and not much understanding of civics or geography, either. How then could they be expected to understand what is going on Iraq? How can children who have no grasp of what war is"appreciate" a soldier's"sacrifice"? Above all, how dare anyone demand that they contribute to and implicitly endorse something they can't be expected to understand?
I suppose the"how" question answers itself. Our schools now seem to regard children as so much material for exploitation: children are there to become means to the educators' political ends. The right conceives its ends in terms of"patriotism"; the left does so in terms of"tolerance,"" compassion," and"multiculturalism." In either case, inculcation in political ideals now seems to override any sort of commitment to cognition. Every college instructor has seen the pathetic product of such educations: students whose heads are full of left- and right-wing bromides, but who are ignorant, illiterate, and essentially incapable of linear thought. Is it too much to expect of our schools that they return to the task for which we pay their employees—education? Or do we want our schools to turn into the American equivalent of the average Pakistani madrasa?
Two basic mantras here are that “No WMD were found,” and “Iraq was never a threat to us,” both now so axiomatic that they furnish the grounds for the sort of casual throwaway sarcasm one sees in this post by Gene Healy at Liberty & Power. That makes it time to revisit Iraq WMD for the nth time squared. Doing so, oddly enough, allows us to achieve some clarity about the aftermath of Katrina, something I'll get to at the end. (This will take several posts.)
Let's start with an elementary question: if Iraq represented a threat to us (the U.S.), how so and in what way? Consider three pieces of testimonial evidence answering that question.
In a little-noticed and hard-to-access article in London’s Guardian, the British WMD expert David Kelly put the issue about as succinctly as anyone has. Kelly was a member of the United Nations Special Commission ( UNSCOM) on the disarmament of Iraq.
Perhaps the real threat from Iraq today comes from covert use of such weapons [WMD] against troops or by terrorists against civilian targets worldwide. The link with al-Qaeda is disputed, but is, in any case, not the principal terrorist link of concern. Iraq has long trained and supported terrorist activities and is quite capable of initiating such activity using its security services. (David Kelly, “Only Regime Change Will Avert the Threat,” Guardian, published posthumously Aug. 31, 2003, but written just prior to the Iraq war).As the title of the article makes clear, Kelly counseled military action as the only effective method of ensuring Iraqi disarmament.
Essentially the same claim was made by Rolf Ekeus, in a little-noticed article in The Washington Post. Ekeus was Chairman of UNSCOM from 1991-1998:
The real chemical warfare threat from Iraq has had two components. One has been the capability to bring potent chemical agents to the battlefield to be used against a poorly equipped and poorly trained enemy. The other is the chance that Iraqi chemical weapons specialists would sign up with terrorist networks such as al Qaeda -- with which they are likely to have far more affinity than do the unemployed Russian scientists the United States worries about.Ekeus sharply criticized the idea that"discovery of Iraqi WMD" ought to be equated with discovery of stockpiles of WMD. By Ekeus's terms and definitions--and he would know, wouldn't he?--the mantra about"No Iraqi WMD" is simply false. In the relevant sense identified in the article, the final report of the Iraq Survey Group shows (a) that WMD were found, and (b) that the jury is out on Iraq's biological weapons program.
In this context the remnants of Iraq's biological weapons program, and specifically its now-unemployed specialists, constitute a potential threat of much the same magnitude. While biological weapons are not easily adapted for battlefield use, they are potentially the more devastating as a means for massive terrorist onslaught on civilian targets.
Being a huge fan of the “blockquote” function, let me quote one more little-discussed passage, this time from Richard Butler’s book The Greatest Threat: Iraq, Weapons of Mass Destruction and the Growing Crisis of Global Security, written in 2000, a full year before 9/11, i.e., before the idea of a suicide-terrorist attack had gained wide currency in political discourse. Butler, like Ekeus, was a Chairman of UNSCOM. On p. xix of his book, he lays out the following hypothetical scenario:
A hit squad from somewhere in the Middle East travels to New York City carrying a one-liter bottle filled with one of the several chemical weapons agents we have long known Saddam Hussein to be developing. Using a simpler sprayer (like one that a gardener or house painter might own), they diffuse contents into the air over Times Square on a Saturday night or into the main concourse at Grand Central Station at 5:30 pm on a weekday evening. Hundreds, maybe thousands of people die agonizing deaths as a result. Because of their own handling of the substance and the strategic concern to maintain ambiguity over the source of the attack, the terrorists may have to be prepared to die themselves.In retrospect, this passage should strike us somewhat naive and understated. Much of it is entirely plausible, even prescient. The exception is the assumption that such an event would be followed by a worldwide"eruption of unprecedented horror and outrage." Butler hadn't, alas, counted on the likes of Thierry Messan, George Galloway or the post 9/11-revelers in Jenin.
Obviously, the world would erupt in almost unprecedented horror and outrage. A search for the perpetrators would be launched. Identifying them, dead or alive, on the ground in New York may prove difficult, but even if their identities became known quickly, it may not be clear whom they preresented or, above all, who provided them the deadly weapon. Answering this question beyond a reasonable doubt might not be easy.
I cite these passages at length because they share the following characteristics:
1. All three come from recognized authorities on the subject of WMD.I take it as established that if three experts of this caliber agree on a claim requiring expertise of just the sort they have, we ought to give defeasible credence to their claim--viz., if Iraq had WMD, there were plausible reasons for thinking that those WMD could be used against us. It wasn't clear whether they had WMD. Nor was it clear that if they did, they certainly would use them against us. What we are talking about, then, is an uncertain event--perhaps one of low likelihood--involving a high-stakes outcome. The question is: confronting the probability of such an event, how large an investment should you make to stave it off?
2. All three writers had extensive experience in and knowledge of specifically Iraqi WMD.
3. All three recognize the distinct possibility that Iraq might use (or distribute for use) WMD in a terrorist attack on the United States.
4. All three agree that such an attack, though not “imminent,” was entirely plausible.
5. None of the three can be accused of having any great partisan affiliation with the Republican Party, neo-conservatism, or the Bush Administration.
The disarmament rationale for war against Iraq implies that we were justified in going to war (a huge investment) to stave off a catastrophic event (an Iraqi WMD attack) of uncertain but definitely positive probability.
A similar argument could be made about preparations for Katrina: we would have been justified in building better levees for New Orleans at admittedly huge expense, in anticipation for an unprecedented event (a Category 4+ hurricane) of disastrous proportions (look at New Orleans now), despite the fact that no such event had taken place in 200 years--and despite the absence of evidence that such an event was definitely going to happen. Such evidence as existed for the possibility of such an event antedated the event by years, and consisted of educated thought-experiments on par with Richard Butler's, expressed in places like National Geographic and Scientific American. There was no hard evidence that such an event would take place until it was too late to do anything about it.
"Defeasible credence" means that claims can be rebutted by arguments so weighty that we would put their testimony aside. What, it’s worth asking, are those arguments about Iraqi WMD, and how good are they? I'll take a few of them on in the next few posts. The parallels with Katrina should prove as enlightening as they are depressing.
I usually hate it when someone beats me to a punch I'd wanted to land, but I have to tip my hat to James Lacey, a"Washington-based writer focusing on defense and foreign-policy issues," who's written an excellent piece on Iraqi WMD in the April 10 issue of National Review, called"The Threat Saddam Posed." The article is not online, so you'll have to get your hands on a print copy of the magazine to read it. The article is based on the ISG's Final Report, which is online, but having gone metaphorically hoarse at suggesting that people read that, as well as the UNMOVIC reports on Iraqi WMD, I'll merely whisper the suggestion for now: If you think NR is too partisan a source to be trusted, or can't get to a newsstand to buy it, go ahead and read Ekeus, Butler, Blix or Duelfer on the subject (along with the text for UN Resolution 687). All of those documents converge on the same basic conclusion: Iraq may not have been an imminent threat, but it was nonetheless a threat.
From the introduction of Lacey's article:
For almost three years now, the anti-war protesters have kept up the drumbeat:"Bush lied and people died." Because weapons of mass destruction (WMD) were not found in Iraq, an endless stream of commentators continues to declare that Saddam Hussein was not the serious threat the administration claimed him to be. The critics usually go even further, and assert that sanctions and the destruction of WMD facilities by UN investigators had done so much damage to WMD infrastructure that it would have taken Saddam years to rebuild it even to a minimal capacity.That's right on target (except for the minor detail that it's the Iraq, not the"Iraqi" Survey Group).
But these claims ignore huge amounts of contrary evidence; and most of this evidence can be found in the final report of the Iraqi [sic] Survey Group (ISG)--the very same report that many critics hold up as proof positive that Iraq was not a WMD threat.
Lacey ends the article with this:
What has become clear, as example piles upon example in the ISG report, is that this document that has been used by one side of the debate as proof that Saddam had no WMD capability actually says quite the opposite. The fact that no weapons stockpiles were found in Iraq does not mean that Iraq was not a threat. According to the report, Saddam could start producing deadling bioweapons within a week of deciding to do it; he retained the capability to produce smallpox; he had the capability to start producing chemical weapons such as mustard gas within days or at most weeks of deciding to do so; he was actively preparing to produce the nerve agents Sarin and VX; he was pouring cash into nuclear research; he was working on his ballistic-missile program even as the Coalition crossed the border into Iraq. (my italics)Well said--and well read. At least someone out there knows how to read a document.
I do have one significant disagreement with Lacey. In particular, Lacey claims early on in his article that Bush didn't lie about WMD. But I think it's clear that Bush did lie about the existence of Iraq's nuclear weapons program. At the very least, he was dishonest and deceptive about it, and the very, very least, the case the Administration made about WMD was and continues to be inept. But Lacey is absolutely right to say that in criticizing Bush, critics of the war are ignoring"huge amounts of contrary evidence" about WMD (and about the efficacy of sanctions and inspections). He doesn't say, but could and should, that ignoring evidence of that sort is a culpable offense against the canons of reason and the norms of inquiry.
What we have, then, are two parties engaged in equal and opposite intellectual malfeasances operating to the detriment of our understanding of the facts, not one. If the facts matter--and does anything else matter?--the blame has to go both (or many) ways for the deformation of public understanding of this issue.
(I can't easily do embedded links on the computer I'm currently using, so I'll get to that sometime tomorrow when I'm at a different computer.)
The UN is not going to stop the genocide in Darfur. The African Union is not going to stop the genocide in Darfur. The US is not going to stop the genocide in Darfur. NATO is not going to stop the genocide in Darfur. The European Union is not going to stop the genocide in Darfur.The implicit accusation in this blurb has now become standard fare: the genocide in Darfur is our problem, and our failure to stop it makes it our responsibility. In particular, Nicholas Kristof has made this point about Darfur in a series of increasingly shrill, ill-reasoned and overhyped columns on the Times's Op-Ed page. Meanwhile, time and again, I see advertisements for rallies for Darfur in towns across"progressive" towns in New Jersey. And every now and then, I'll encounter the person who opposes the war in Iraq by asking the supposedly unanswerable rhetorical question,"Well, what about Darfur?"
However, ask the advocates of"action about Darfur" precisely what it is they have in mind to do, and your hear the usual confected list of obviously inefficacious measures, followed by sanctimonious whining about"the administration's continued inaction," followed by a petulant unwillingness to see the incompatibility of the preceding two things. They want Bush to stop the genocide, but having willed the end (so to speak), they can neither will the means nor even articulate them.
The attitude in question reminds me of a scene in Team America: In the movie (enacted entirely by puppets), Hans Blix shows up at Kim Jong-Il's palace in North Korea to conduct a weapons inspection. He complains about not getting access to sensitive sites, apologizes for having to be so nosy, but insists that the UN"has to be firm with" North Korea."You'd better comply," he tells Kim Jong-Il,"or else…""Or else what?" asks Kim Jong-Il, with as sinister a sneer as you'll ever see on a South Park-style puppet. Blix responds:"Or else we will become very, very angry. Then we will write you a letter telling you just how angry we are." Whereupon Kim Jong-Il pushes a lever leading to a shark-tank, and poor Hans Blix is duly torn to shreds by a hammerhead shark. That's about the caliber of the Darfur protesters' anti-genocide arsenal: speak loudly but carry no stick.
I should be clear about my view on the Sudanese regime and the atrocities of the janjaweed militias: they're bestial. A fundamentalist Muslim regime with ties to Al Qaeda and support for a marauding band of genocidal racists is not something for which I characteristically evince sympathy.
But then, I'm one of the few people around who still supports Clinton's 1998 bombing of Khartoum's Al Shifa Pharmaceutical Factory on the ground that it (the factory) was manufacturing a precursor of Iraqi VX nerve gas, and was in large part owned by Osama bin Laden. This is to say that I'm one of the few people around who will never tire of reminding you that the Iraq-Al Qaeda connection was the invention of Clinton's CIA, and in particular of Clinton's counter-terrorism czar, Richard Clarke, and that that's no barrier to my accepting its existence.
Unlike, say, Christopher Hitchens, I take the preceding to be a point in favor of the Clinton Administration. And unlike, say, the newly-hatched anti-Sudan partisans, my defense of the Al Shifa attack suggests that unlike them, I've come out in favor of determinate U.S. military action against Sudan. Meanwhile, the concerned-about-Darfur faction has been jabbering away about the importance of Bush's exerting"pressure" on Khartoum, and of the ICC's pursuing ex post facto prosecutions against it. So they're complaining about"inaction" vis-à-vis Sudan while proposing nothing in the way of action sufficient to end the genocide there.
As for the ICC, the article tells us explicitly that it can't stop the genocide. It can't even get access to evidence needed for an investigation or a prosecution.
As for the pressure, contrary to the oft-repeated claims of many dogmatic and ignorant people, the Iraq Survey Group's report on sanctions against Iraq makes it abundantly clear (to the tune of hundreds of pages) that sanctions failed as a method of disarming Iraq. It's common knowledge among political scientists and economic historians that sanctions are quite generally an unreliable method for forcing a country to do your bidding. But with respect to Sudan, the"pressure" in question doesn't even amount to sanctions. It amounts to"negotiations" with the perpetrators of genocide, giving them various carrot-like inducements to stop engaging in it. The point of"negotiating" with murderous thugs who hold all the cards is unclear, except in the minds of people who think that any talk with someone must be better than none. For people like that, the pursuit of inefficacy seems to be a special virtue of its own. It doesn't matter if a policy works. It doesn't matter if it accomplishes anything. It just matters that you've pretended with all your might…that it might.
It seems not to have occurred to the advocates of costless moral action in Sudan that genocide typically occurs in the context of war, and it takes a war-like application of force to end a war. We're currently at war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Neither war is going all that smoothly. Anyone want to start a new war in Sudan? If not, try putting on your thinking cap and tell us what efficacious action you intend to prescribe to stop the genocide there.
The article makes reference to one sensible prescription—that we ought to stop cooperating with Sudan in the war on terrorism.
The administration does not want to lose the North-South agreement and the peace it has secured, and this may make it wishy-washy on Darfur. It has also found Sudan to be a useful ally in the war on terror. At least some Sudanese leaders being investigated by the I.C.C. are, according to American officials who asked not to be named, highly valuable, if unreliable, allies in hunting down Islamic terrorists."In 2004, when the Sudanese decided to conclude the North-South peace, they got an A- on cooperation," a senior American official said."They rendered people and gave us information on people we didn't even know were there. Since then they've done stuff that saved American lives." The C.I.A. flew Sudan's national-security director, Salah Abdallah Ghosh, to Washington for a debriefing last year. He shared information that his office had on Islamist militants training in Sudan before 9/11. Yet he is one of a handful of top security men orchestrating Khartoum's crimes in Darfur and deploying intelligence units that have carried out targeted killings since 2003. In December, a United Nations panel recommended that Ghosh and 16 other Sudanese officials face international sanctions."The U.S. has pressed the U.N. not to include Ghosh on the list of people who should be subject to sanctions," John Prendergast, a senior adviser at the International Crisis Group, told me."Trying to constructively engage with mass murderers in order to gather information is the wrong policy. It reinforces the regime's willingness to perpetrate atrocities."Prendergast is right as a matter of principle, but the fact is, non-cooperation isn't going to stop genocide.
More on this in a few more installments.
Five of them involve anti-black racism: the Duke lacrosse team rape case, the Cynthia McKinney case, the ongoing controversies about Darfur and Hurricane Katrina, and last but not least the exceedingly bizarre revelation this past Thursday by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, of a racist threat by the Pakistani government to murder the Pakistani feminist activist Mukhtar Mai:
The threats have come from high up. Brig. Ijaz Shah, a buddy of President Musharraf's, traveled to Lahore in December to deliver a personal warning. He met Dr. Amna Buttar, an American citizen who has interpreted for Mukhtar in the U.S. and heads a Pakistani-American human rights organization that is supporting her (www.4anaa.org).This is, in my experience, a fairly common Pakistani stereotype of black men.
According to Dr. Buttar, Mr. Shah started by defending the president's record on women's rights. But then, alluding to a planned visit by Mukhtar to New York, he added:"We can do anything. ... We can just pay a little money to some black guys in New York and get people killed there."
Continuing with examples, we have the debate about immigration, which involves more than an occasional whiff of anti-Hispanic racism and pro-white nativism. Meanwhile, anti-Semitism is an important theme in the debate about the recent Walt-Mearsheimer article on the Israel lobby, as well as the recent mini-riot in Brooklyn over anti-Semitic comments ascribed to Joseph Esposito, Chief of the New York City Police Department. Finally, there are the charges of racism involved in the debate over the Danish Muhammad cartoons, most notably in its NYU incarnation, as well as the charges of"bigotry" expressed by Mark LeVine and others at criticisms of Islamism by Muslim intellectuals.
You might think, given our saturation in coverage of racist events and phenomena, that racism itself would be a transparent phenomenon—that we would all, at a minimum, agree on what it is. But we don't. One obvious example comes from conduct of the debate over affirmative action, where each side describes the other as racist. For another example of what I mean, consider this passage in a New York Times article about the McKinney controversy, which in other respects takes laborious pains to avoid stereotypes and engage in journalistic even-handedness:
With her frizzy hair (she used to wear it in braids, a switch she said contributed to the officer's failure to recognize her), youthful look and blunt manner, Ms. McKinney sometimes seems out of place in the sedate halls of Congress. Once she said Vice President Al Gore had a"low Negro tolerance level." She once accused President Bush of having advance knowledge of the Sept. 11 attacks, and she is featured in a new documentary,"American Blackout," about voting rights violations.Is the italicized sentence racist? I doubt the reporter or her editors thought so. But I do. Sharp-tonguedness is not, after all, a heritable trait, it doesn't run in black families, and doesn't cause a propensity to use"Jew" as a pejorative term. But that is what this passage seems, however coyly, to say.
Some say the sharp tongue is in the family genes. Ms. McKinney's father, Billy McKinney, a former Georgia state legislator, once branded one of his daughter's political opponents"a racist Jew." Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, said,"I know her daddy, and he's had that same kind of fire." (italics added)
I realize that the reporter's reference to a"sharp tongue gene" is mostly metaphorical. And you might think it uncharitable of me to take the phrase so literally. But consider: for the most part, discussion of racism proceeds on the assumption that any expression of racism, whether intended or unintended, metaphorical or literal, mild or virulent, is cause for concern. As it is. But if so, it can't be wrong to scrutinize a metaphorical expression of the essence of racism, expressed as though the belief it expressed was perfectly harmless. It's a mistake to think that any aspect of racism is harmless.
That leads us to the question, what is the essence of racism? How should we define it?
As a philosopher, I was tempted at first to look to philosophical sources, but none of the ones I looked at was all that helpful. The Blackwell Companion to Ethics contains about a dozen references to racism and one article on"Equality, Discrimination and Preferential Treatment," but amazingly, no definition of racism. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy contains a proposed entry on"race," but nothing yet online. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy has no entry on any relevant topic. The Wikipedia entry, like so many of its kind, is a hodgepodge of ill-conceived claims: on the one hand, it treats racism as a habit of thought possible to anyone; on the other hand, it describes racism as a practice possible only to"the dominant group in society." Most of the"dominant" definitions of racism follow suit.
The state of the art in the field of history is George Frederickson's 2002/2003 book, Racism: A Short History, the appendix of which offers a bibliographical essay on"the concept of racism in historical discourse." Frederickson notes, correctly, that the term is used with a lamentable imprecision by historians (151-2, 167), and that any adequate definition must refer to the content of specifically racist ideas (153). But he utterly confuses the issue when it comes to the crucial intersection of the strictly historical issues and the broader normative ones:
The most fruitful orientation at a time like our own, when racism is generally condemned in principle, is a clinical one. It is legitimate to assume, at the beginning of the twenty-first century…that racism is an evil analogous to a deadly disease. But the responsibility of the historian or sociologist who studies racism is not to moralize and condemn but to understand this malignancy….(158)The responsibility of the historian or sociologist of racism is not to moralize or overtly to condemn; true enough. But the alternative to moralizing is not the" clinical" perspective Frederickson describes but that of implicit condemnation. In other words, the historian should proceed with his or her inquiries into racism on the assumption that phenomenon in question is evil (since it is), without ever having to come out and describing it that way.
Contrary to Frederickson, there is in fact no way to"understand" racism by analogy with a deadly disease. For the fact is, while both racism and disease are malignant, they differ fundamentally in etiology: one spreads by choice, the other doesn't. The difference between those two things is essential to our understanding of disease and racism, respectively. Blur the distinctions between them and you cease to understand either disease or racism.
Unsurprisingly, Frederickson ends his book with a definition of racism that is at once utterly conventional and utterly unhelpful:
[R]acism exists when one ethnic group or historical collectivity dominates, excludes or seeks to eliminate another on the basis of differences that it believes are hereditary and unalterable (p. 170).But this is at best a sufficient condition of racism, not a necessary one. The definition can't account for individual racism; can't account for racism within the same ethnic group; and can't account for aspiring, disempowered or politically indifferent racists.* It's a remarkably anti-climactic ending to an otherwise informative book.
As for my own preferred definition of racism, I'll set it out in a separate post.
*P.S., April 10, 10:50 am:I've taken one clause out of the original criticism I made here ("the definition doesn't make reference to the content of racist ideas"); on second thought, that doesn't apply.