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Word Count: 1,486
As children most of us were given a playground definition of racism Racism meant assuming bad things about someone just because of the color of hisher skin Think about this definition Its apparent simplicity actually contains three separate components First a racist has bad intent Second a racist makes prima facie assumptions And third a racist targets an immutable characteristic in other words something we cannot change and which we did not choose Lets begin with the notion of race as an immutable characteristic Race is in our genetic makeup We did not choose our ancestors The luck of the draw the miracle of creation determined our racial heritage An integral part of liberal culture is respect for immutable characteristics We do not deserve either praise or slander for them We did not earn our race nor can we be blamed for it Immutable characteristics are only one part of us An individual also has ethnicity culture religion morals political affiliations opinions beliefs feelings and traditions for example None of these other parts of individual identity are completely exclusively directly tied to race Not even ethnicity and culture are absolutely predetermined by race much less other aspects of our identity For example a Caucasian may be born in China and grow up firmly entrenched in Chinese culture In fact every individual -- however encumbered by ancestors family traditions and expectations and cultural setting -- is at least capable of creating an independent personal identity Multiracial individuals are a perfect illustration they do not have a multiracial ethnicity or culture but rather a personal individualistic approach to how race affects their identity All of these other aspects of identity are changeable not immutable Of course it may be far easier to change our political affiliation than our religion but certain aspects of our identity can conceivably be changed Unlike race they are not genetically determined Race is special because we do not choose
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