I really can’t stand listening to Sam Harris — he is a dreadfully boring speaker whose schtick is to reduce racism to a bland, boring mediocrity that we’re supposed to just accept. I managed to get all the way through this interview on BBC Hardtalk because the interviewer actually pushes back on him. I almost bailed, though, at seeing Harris, who looks chillingly botoxed or processed by some video filter, matching the plastic quality of his arguments.
For instance, he goes off on the Black Lives Matter movement, accusing it of “identity politics” and seeing racism everywhere, even where it’s not. To back up his claim that concerns about racism are overblown, Harris says out of his emotionless white face that Black Americans are roughed up by the police far more often than white people, but on a per incident basis, black people are less likely to be murdered.
No, really, he says that.
That’s right. If cops beat up white people robbing gas stations, and they also beat up black people robbing gas stations and jaywalking, then black people are less likely to get shot in any particular encounter with the police. Gosh. What a triumph of statistical bullshit.
If you want an example of a calm, polite racist holding odious views while denying that he’s a racist, just tune in to Harris. Or don’t. You’ll be less angry if you don’t.