The Racist Side of ‘Fairness’

At times I have a title that is only waiting for a paper or a joke that is only waiting for a talk. And (with some effort) the opportunity usually presents itself. I am now in the process of writing such a paper on fairness, which could be titled “The Fairest of Them All.” Very excited about this work and will surely discuss it here later. But while working on it, I (finally) realized something that I find to be rather horrific: Racism is so ingrained in our culture that even the word ‘fairness’ has racist etymological roots. After all, fairness comes from fair which refers to ‘beautiful’ but also to “light of complexion or color of hair and eyes.” (See NPR for further discussion.) So, I take this opportunity to remind that black beauty matters!

3 Comments on The Racist Side of ‘Fairness’

  1. Ariel Procaccia // October 3, 2017 at 1:48 pm // Reply

    That title is approximately taken 🙂

    http://procaccia.info/papers/rent.pdf

    Like

  2. A funny (but inaccurate) skit on the racist etymology of ‘good’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ow6JSv_I1Oo

    Like

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  1. The unbearable racism of fairness – posttenuretourettes

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