I don’t see how being a person of color makes one an expert on racism. That person may understand how it feels like to be a victim of racism. That person may tell you which aspects of racism especially bother them or their family. However, being a person of color doesn’t necessarily make one understand the psychological, socio-political, and economical causes of racism.

One might ask: how can you understand racism if you don’t listen to those who experience it? First, you don’t have to experience a robbery to study robbery. Second, one mustn’t assume that not considering victimhood as expertise means that one mustn’t listen to a person’s experience of racism. It’s probably wiser to gather data from people of color, because they usually are more aware of it than their white counterpart. Nonetheless, one shouldn’t take these testimonies at face value. One must test them to see if they’re true, see if they fit our current definition of racism, and decide whether it is wise to expand or re-define racism to accommodate certain testimonies; or see if it’s better to defer the testimonies to something else entirely like the availability heuristic or tribalism. This kind of work is very different from experiencing life as a person of color. So why do we reject this impersonal and objective method practiced by experts, and instead favor the subjective testimonies of people of color?

I think much of the fear of the impersonal or the objective standpoint is thanks to postmodernism. Postmodernists tend to believe that those who favor objectivity use the name of reason to further entrench the sovereign power. It is true that Enlightenment thinkers like Jon Stewart Mill advocated imperialism under the name of Reason. It is true that many still propose the same – Sam Harris and Douglas Murray. It is true that some do so in favor of the patriarchy or capitalism. Even so, that doesn’t mean the impersonal or the objective standpoint is always on the side of imperialism or the patriarchy. Enlightenment ideals like equality gave us the necessary soil to sprout movements like women’s rights and human rights. Also, who said the impersonal or the objective belongs to the Enlightenment? Even postmodernists make impersonal and objective judgments on knowledge, politics, and so on –a claim like “truth is not objective for reasons” is objective. As you can see, the objective standpoint is necessary and useful; and I see no reason to abandon it. 

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