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|This page in a nutshell: Racism creates a divisive and unwelcoming environment, especially for people who are members of the discriminated-against group. It undermines collaboration and causes disruption and conflict merely by existing. Editors who express racists beliefs or who display racist imagery or ideas on their user pages should be immediately reported at ANI, under the same principles and for the same reasons as are described in WP:No Nazis.|
Racism of various kinds have been a recurring problem on Wikipedia, and nearly since its inception. Indeed, most of the article subjects topics that have been placed under discretionary sanctions are those in which racist sentiments (and accusations of such) have played a major role. Racism will usually have a profound effect on an editor's judgment; it will color facts and push the editor to believe in conspiracy theories and pseudoscience, and use those ideologies to justify their beliefs. On the other hand, unsupported accusations of racism toward other editors will always be considered uncivil personal attacks (and possibly even harassment), bestow a negative chilling effect on otherwise-positive and collaborative discussions, and add much more difficultly for administrators to properly identify and block racist editors.
Editors motivated by racism, and editors who see racism in anything they disagree with, are disruptive to the community, and will be blocked or banned if they participate, engage, or express support for racism in their actions or behaviors.
The basic definition of racism is one who believes that different races have different levels of various abilities, and that one can organize the races into hierarchies based on this. It is important to note that not all racists believe that their race is superior in every way. For example, many white supremacists believe that Asians are the most intelligent race. They will almost invariably feel that their own race is superior overall, but may "concede" that some other race is better in some highly specific way.
Racists generally believe in the following:
- That their race is morally/ethically superior to others.
- That they have a right to live in a racially homogeneous nation.
- That their culture is superior to others.
- That genetic difference between races are fundamental and meaningful.
Racists also frequently believe that:
- Other races seek to destroy theirs.
- Their race is the most oppressed, often justified by convoluted logic, rather than actual examples of oppression.
- That the religious beliefs of other races are evil.
- Various conspiracy theories about other racial groups.
- That genocides and atrocities committed by members of their own race never happened.
These beliefs are always false or at the very least, unverifiable. Frequently, racists will publicly express their beliefs using more subtle words and strategies than with direct and unambiguous ones. For example, a racist person may acknowledge a genocide and may even admit that it was wrong, but will go to some length or level of effort in order to justify it, under the auspices of "explaining how it happened". Racism and other forms of bigotry often go hand-in-hand, and are sometimes interchangeable. For example, in the West, there's a strong strain of anti-Islamic bigotry which is frequently indistinguishable from racism against Middle-Eastern people.
Problems with racism
- The categorization of humans into "races" has been considered a pseudoscientific idea by scientists and anthropologists since the 1960s and the discovery of molecular genetics. See Race (human categorization) § Modern scholarship. Because racists reject empiricism and the scientific method, it is exceedingly difficult for them to neutrally evaluate logical arguments which challenge their beliefs.
- Interpreting information
- Racism tends to distort the way an editor interprets information from reliable sources, as well as how the editor determines reliability in sources (for example, they may think that sources are unreliable on the basis of the author's "race"). This leads racist editors to insist upon using unreliable sources that support their beliefs, and twisting information from reliable sources in a way as to support, or at least not contradict, their beliefs.
- Engendering conflict
- The way racism causes people to view the world is very different from the way non-racists view the world. To a non-racist person, the difference in wealth and power between two races is usually seen as a problem that should be corrected. To a racist person, this can be seen as the inevitable and obvious result of the perceived differences in races. It can also be interpreted by racists as an attempt to penalise "their" race, leading to a feeling of victimisation. When experts speak publicly about issues in a neutral manner which does not fit their racist views, a racist will see a person who should be trustworthy lying publicly, undermining their trust in experts in general, and in this one in particular. Such a racist person might then expend considerable time and resources undermining efforts by this expert or others like them to address the issue. This conflict hardens both sides against each other, turning relatively uncontroversial efforts to improve society into bitter cultural battles.
- Fostering extreme views
- These days, it is easy enough to find a racist of any sort on the internet, and this massive conglomeration has resulted in racist beliefs becoming more virulent and hateful, as racists compete online to see who can say the most hateful things, or commit the most hateful acts, thus proving themselves to be true believers in their cause.
- The end result is a huge disconnect from reality. To a racist editor, reliable sources are full of lies, and fringe publications with no fact-checking mechanism the only outlet for truth. Anyone who disagrees with them is either racist against them, involved in some kind of conspiracy, or an enemy (or paid by one these groups), which causes Wikipedia to always present the untruth. It is easy to see how such a person can become impossible to collaborate with.
- Chilling effect
- On top of that, racist editors can have a chilling effect on discussions. Racists will often condescend, or otherwise treat differently, people who they consider to be inferior or an enemy, a fact which quickly becomes apparent to other conversation participants. Editors eventually avoid working with a racist editor, not wishing to expose themselves to such toxicity. This reduced participation ends up hurting the project.
- Outright disruption
- When editors grow weary of dealing with racist editors, they will often ask admins to deal with the problem by starting a thread at ANI. Naturally, racist editors of all stripes, but particularly those of the same type as the original editor will flock to such discussions to block action from being taken against them. These editors will also look at diffs provided, and follow them to article talk pages, where they will continue edit wars and arguments started by the original racist editor.
Blocking racist editors
The English Wikipedia and the Wikimedia movement as a whole are based on the concept that everyone has a right to receive free knowledge, regardless of their race, ethnicity, class, creed, or any other demographic factor, and that everyone has the right to contribute to this sharing of knowledge so long as they act in a way that does not disrupt the ability for others to contribute. Racism, both historical and neo-racist varieties, is inherently incompatible with these principles in a way that virtually no other ideology is. This is particularly true of neo-Nazis and other groups with ties to genocidal ideologies. Expressing such views on Wikipedia will always be considered uncivil and, if made against or toward other editors, will always be considered blatant and serious personal attacks as well as unambiguous attempts at gross harassment.
Disruption by racists, while often taking place in articles and talk pages, often comes to a flash-point in user space, when a user openly displays iconography from racist groups on their user page or signature. The only way for administrators to recognize this form of disruption is if these individuals make it known on Wikipedia. Declaring oneself to be a racist, or using Wikipedia as a webhost to show racist or Nazi-like imagery, propaganda, or mythologizing - is considered disruptive editing because it sends a message stating (directly or indirectly) that a significant portion of our readers and editors, in one way or another, shouldn't exist at all due to their ethnicity or race. This belief system (and hence any expression in support thereof) is in direct conflict of Wikipedia's five pillars, which outline Wikipedia's founding principles and how each editor is expected to behave and contribute to the project. As a result of this conflict, users can and will be blocked for such disruption. This enforcement is sometimes interpreted and expressed by users as being a form of censorship. This is not correct. As a private website, Wikipedia and its community of editors have the freedom, the right, and the ability to determine and deem certain behaviors and actions as disruptive. In addition, they can also deem that the disruption, immediately upon its creation or presence, is severe enough that it makes contributing in a positive and collaborative environment impossible. When that level of disruption occurs, and when it crosses the line in regards to racism, that person is no longer welcome here as an editor.
Additionally, editors who come here to push this point of view within any articles or content, under the guise of the neutral point of view policy, are also typically blocked as being "POV pushers".
False accusations of racism
Casting aspersions of racism (as well as -ist or -phobe aspersions) should not be used as a trump card in disputes over content or a coup de grâce on a noticeboard. They have the potential to permanently damage reputation, especially when the accused's account is publicly tied to a real-world identity. As such, unsubstantiated aspersions are a form of personal attack which may lead to the accuser being blocked.
Aspersions make the normal dispute resolution process difficult to go through and may create a chilling effect. Editors are encouraged to work through the normal dispute-resolution process when it comes to legitimate content disputes, such as disagreements on the interpretation or quality of sources.