Racism is bunk.
One simply cannot say ‘all so-and-sos are such-and-such’ as the racist does. Every case of this disintegrates almost immediately under a barrage of counter-examples. It’s illogical. Individual character will always be influenced to a greater or lesser degree by inherited genetic factors, and this degree, a vector quantity at least, will always vary with each individual.
In some individuals the degree is greater, and the influence may operate in a particular direction, while in others it is barely detectable, but it is always an individual matter.
The illogicality of racism leads its less self-examining proponents into cul-de-sacs of theoretical absurdity and in some cases practical atrocity.
The same is true of religion, though there doesn’t seem to be an ‘ism’ for it.
For example, among my Muslim acquaintances over time I number a minor Saudi prince, with whom I was in a flying club, and a typically devout recent sectarian convert from an old English family. They are both perfectly civilised people and neither would ever be so indiscreet as to mention that the one officially holds the other to be an apostatic heretic worthy only of instant death, nor that the other officially holds the one historically responsible for a series of deplorable atrocities and centuries of persecution.
On the other hand not a hundred miles from here is a substantial body of apparently less civilised people who, while using exactly the same title for their beliefs, seem, according to some of the things they say, officially to want me dead and my culture replaced with theirs, preferably before the weekend.
This presents the same difficulty as discriminating between my late and rather devoutly Anglican mother, a member of the Westboro Baptist Church, and a member of the Ku-Klux Klan. All of these ‘Christians’ would consider me a sinner, but only one would offer what Over There they call ‘a clear and present danger.
And so we arrive at the semantic root of the problem. It’s that word discrimination.
We’ve made it wrong to ‘discriminate’. We’ve made it mean ‘to express in some detectable way the view that all so-and-sos are such-and-such’.
What we need right now is discrimination, lots and lots of it, and of the highest grade we can obtain. We have to be able to discriminate between people who are prepared to accept that things written more than a thousand years ago might since have changed in meaning or reasonable interpretation, perhaps like the Book of Leviticus, and people who are not.
The accuracy, timeliness and reliability of this discrimination must be as high as can be managed. This is not a theoretical but an existential challenge and should be addressed at once.
Until discrimination is achieved we must go armed, as do some of the people in the seventh paragraph.