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So this got posted somewhere and it got me thinking.  What counts as "accepting" and "allowing" something?  Like for the purpose of argument, let's assume that white people are indeed overwhelmingly dominant and that black people are comparatively mistreated.  If you disagree with said mistreatment of black people...what are you supposed to do?  What are you morally required to do about it?

Is it enough to simply not mistreat people yourself?  Do you need to step in to prevent mistreatment when you see a friend or family member doing it?  How about a stranger?  Do you need to get up and actively seek out this mistreatment to remove it from society?  If so, is it enough to attend rallies and be a part of organizations that oppose these things, or should you go out on your own patrolling for these injustices?

A separate question:  how mistreated does a group have to be for it to trigger as actionable?  Does the severity of the mistreatment adjust the moral reaction?  What are the thresholds?


I figure what one ought to do in this situation is to be educated about racism, challenge it in yourself when you identify it, and be willing to educate others and step into situations that racism occurs when it doesn't pose an unreasonable burden on you.

These are really incredibly technical questions that aren't actually necessary. Just put in an honest attempt to do your part, give what you are able and no more, be empathetic towards other groups, etc. That's all one ought to do.


>when it doesn't pose an unreasonable burden on you.

Well what burden is unreasonable?  When does the burden become unreasonable?  What's an appropriate amount of burden?

>These are really incredibly technical questions that aren't actually necessary.

If philosophy stopped talking after determining what was necessary we wouldn't have philosophy!


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There can be no authoritative "reasonable burden" standard of action in which the conditions for actionability are nebulous to this degree.

There cannot be an "appropriate" amount of burden, if the degree to which burden is necessary is not even understood.

To answer the question "how much work needs to be done?", the question "what are we building?" needs to be answered first. And what we are building is, in trying to figure out the puzzle of racial (in)equality, fundamentally not a practical function of law or logic that can be "solved."

How do we even begin to address a task as impossible to conceive of as establishing a burden of actionability for an undefined moral question?

Well, perhaps we start from a moral core, some fundamental principle, and work our way out of the problem.

What is our moral core? Why do we seek "equality" and what does that mean? How do "accepting" and "allowing" fit into that equation, and what do they mean?

What does overwhelmingly dominant mean? In what ways?

Perhaps, instead of thinking for such a long time and trying to pull that problem apart, for the purposes of this thread, it might be good to just approach the topic with the nebulous nature intact: someone though, sometime, will have to do this math someday, if they really care to "answer" this question. i am of the opinion that this (reasonable burden) is not a question that needs to ultimately be answered for the underlying issue to become solved.

Assuming our moral core is the seemingly universal value "treat others the way you would like to be  treated" then the answer for the principal standard seems to be: "From each according to their ability, of each according to their need."

Maybe that will have to suffice, given the other frameworks of morality that we all seem to find important, like free will and personal responsibility.


I think of racial prejudice as both an individual and systemic problem that's an aberration to how people inherently, at a gut level, want to treat others and be treated. It's in the vein of other afflictions that happen to humanity that we want civilization to fight to point of near elimination if not outright elimination. Think of brain cancer, car accidents, depression, earthquakes, hurricanes, pneumonia, polio, train crashes, tuberculosis, and the like. At a personal level, you try to give others the decency and respect that they inherently deserve as your fellow human beings. You also work to 'raise the sanity waterline', as the saying goes, of broad culture as much as possible.


>Is it enough to simply not mistreat people yourself?
Yes.  Everything else you asked about is supererogatory.

Also: Even with discrimination, most black people in America still have lives worth living. Some people might think it more important to devote one's energies to avoiding existential risk than things such as fighting discrimination.

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