Polarization in Practice

Back to week in, and thankfully. Although it does look to be a difficult week with too many medicalist entanglements. But I did get back to gym this morning and hence am feeling a bit better than during week out.

The podcast episode this morning was one of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” dealing with Kenyan (and Ethiopian?) marathon runners. I initially thought it was stretching the limits of the theme but then I decided it was just redundant, repetitive, and boring. But on further reflection, I came up with some more consideration.

Why is it that when we call attention to some group for a behavior and attach a negative aspect to it the attention is considered to be “racist”, but if the same group is cast in a positive aspect the attention is not considered to be “racist”? I put quotes around racist since I consider the whole concept of races to be a governmental and social effort to control humans by means of inaccurate taxonomy. The scientific basis of races is somewhere between specious and vacuous but that does not seem to deter the Yankee government and politicians from meting out punishment in a differential fashion.

It seems to me, relaxing for the moment our consideration of the irrelevance of races of humans, that it should not matter whether the attention is positive or negative if the differentiation and attention is itself negative. But there is, patently observable, this polarization in common social usage. It would seem that “racism” is little more than a means of differentially punishing groups of humans for recognizing differences.

On a more humorous azimuth, perhaps to balance?, there were several interviews of runners in the podcast. None of those interviewed were Kenyans or Ethiops although there was considerable mention of visiting both countries for the production of the episode. All those interviewed were English speaking and their utterances, static insofar as information content, leads us to the question of which is worse: an interview with an athlete or with an obese Southron woman?

This question is less simple than the previous. Both types of interview are devoid of anything but revulsion and horror, in the first case that anyone so capable of physical effort can be so devoid of mental capacity and in the second that anyone so large can be so devoid of mental capacity. And since both are so negative, is either type of interview racism? Surely the differentiation by athletic ability or body mass is as valid a taxonomic category as skin tint or eyelid structure?

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