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While we feel that the topics included here can be transformed into persuasive speeches of interest to different audiences, they are only meant to give you an idea and you should use your best judgment as to what you would be presenting to your target audience.Most people agree that racism is morally wrong, and therefore that we should all make an effort to get rid of racism. But this essay isn’t about getting rid of racism; it’s about getting rid of “racism.” The quotation marks make all the difference.
So when a lot of people talk about Jim Crow, there is a sense in which they simply don’t know what they’re talking about.
It’s not that they’ve intentionally distanced themselves from the hideous truth, and that their ignorance is motivated by bad intentions.
Those of us who do work in the philosophy of race know that there are many competing conceptions of what racism is.
According to one of them, racism is animosity, repulsion, or contempt directed towards others based on their racial classification.
Rather, the semantic impoverishment of “Jim Crow” should be understood ideologically.
It’s a symptom of White America’s collective failure to confront the horrors of its history rather than something that’s best explained by the motives of individuals.
That’s a lot more informative than “Jim Crow.” It cuts to the heart of the matter, and forces a person who might say that Jim Crow wasn’t so bad to confront the fact that they are implying that terrorism, abuse, torture, and murder aren’t so bad.
The problem with “racism” is a bit like the problem with “Jim Crow,” because in both cases the interlocutors may be operating with quite different assumptions about what it is that’s being talked about.
Your language would be factually accurate but (as I like to call it) morally opaque, because it blunts the fine edge of moral awareness and critique.
When the Nazis imprisoned people in Dachau, where they were abused and sometimes murdered, they described this is “protective custody.” This was obviously a label that was intended to mislead.