This is a short except from a conversation I was having regarding racism in America…in response to a particular assertion…
I personally don’t think that there is such a thing as a “subtle racist” as you mentioned. IMO you can’t be a (nice or slightly) partial racist, “you are, or, you’re not”.
Yes, and no…you could say there’s only hate, not different kinds or degrees of hate…but that would be in the same vein as a theist saying all sins are equal…the murder in your mind is equal to actually killing someone or that theft of a candy bar is equal to rape…theoretically hate is hate, racism is racism, but for practical purposes they’re not.
For practical purposes there are three different types of racism…all three types were repeatedly brought up in my conversations with members of APA, AKA, and various other black fraternities and sororities, as well as with my conversations with members of the Black Muslims ( Nation of Islam )…
1. overt racism ( ie. the KKK, Skin Heads, Neo-Nazis, etc… )
2. institutionalized racism ( ie. lack of parity, etc… )
3. subtle racism ( as described earlier )
you can argue that there’s no difference between them, that racism is racism…but for practical purposes there is a difference between some guy burning a cross on your lawn and being denied a managerial position because of your skin color, and there’s a difference between being denied a job because you’re black and live in Oakland and a thoughtless and unnecessary, seemingly innocent remark said off-the-cuff.
Back when I was having discussions with these organizations and their members the only one that really concerned them was institutionalized racism…as an example back then there were only three MLB managers that were black ( and two of them were in Canada – Expos and Jays ), and there were no black owners.
In the 60’s the emphasis was on overt racism…hangings, beatings, abuse, riding in the back of the bus, going to inferior grossly under-equipped schools, etc…
for the last 25 years the focus has been mainly on institutionalized racism.
In a nutshell…yes you’re right, racism is racism philosophically speaking…but in practical terms and applications they’re not all the same.