Racism is defined as:
The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races. Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.
This is a view that has been challenged in academia since it was first put forth, but Pooja Sawrikar and Ilan Katz of the University of New South Wales in particular destroy it as a useful prism through which the question of racism can be viewed in a sociological context:
By properly acknowledging the role of ‘prejudice’ in racism, and not exclusively focusing on the element of ‘power’, individuals can be better empowered to exercise their own personal power and choice to be vigilant on their racial prejudices, and all racial groups can be better empowered to take responsibility for protecting each of our human right to racial equality.Like many things, Folkish belief is a spectrum. At its heart, though, is a belief that ancestry is relevant to religion. That relevance can take many forms - some might believe that those who practice Ásatrú should have at least some European ancestry, while others might feel that those with any non-European ancestry would be better off exploring the ancient faith of those other ancestors. Still others are more specific, looking to Scandinavian, continental German, or other more specific ancestral homes for relevance. It's most definitely not a monolithic block of belief by any stretch.
puts it eloquently:
The belief that spirituality and ancestral heritage are related has nothing to do with notions of superiority. Asatru is not an excuse to look down on, much less to hate, members of any other race. On the contrary, we recognize the uniqueness and the value of all the different pieces that make up the human mosaic.Boiled down to its simplest terms, Folkish belief is not racist because it does not hold that one race is superior to another.
In and of itself, that doesn't mean that Folkish (or non-Folkish, for that matter) people can't be proud of their European heritage (or a more specific national heritage). It doesn't require a belief in racial superiority to say Europeans have done some great things in the world, and continue to do so, and be proud of those things.
myself included) because we dare to believe that ancestry informs religion and can realize that being a proud European does not mean one is anti-anyone else.
One wonders, then, why these stalwart foes of anything smacking of racial or ethnic uniqueness as applied to spirituality have nothing to say about...
- Shinto (only seven non-Japanese Shinto priests had been ordained as of 2011)
- Yorùbá (one of the criteria for being a "devotee of Obatala" is to be a direct, literal, descendant of the god)
- Amerindian religion ("there will be no non-Natives allowed in our sacred Ho-c'o-ka (our sacred alters) where it involves our Seven Sacred Rites.")
And many, many others besides.
I certainly don't think that adherents of such ethnic religions should be forced to open up their ranks to outsiders, and the relative silence of others on the subject seems to speak to agreement on that point. But when non-European religions and cultures are closed to outsiders or set a very high bar for entry (can you imagine the vicious reaction if some Folkish Ásatrú group required blood tests to get in, like some Amerindian tribes do without comment?), the otherwise-strident opponents of "racism" are strangely silent. Their silence is not so strange, perhaps; since most of them are white themselves, they feel a perverse shame in saying anything that would be critical of other races. Even when those other races are doing the exact same things for which they excoriate people of European dissent. Their hypocrisy is borne of guilt.
I am not saying that there are no people who call themselves Folkish Ásatrúar who cross the line into outright racism. There absolutely are. But so too are there adherents of Yorùbá (to take but one example) who rant about "white devils" and "Caucasoid interlopers" and who are quite racist by any objective standard. The mere fact that a relative handful of people misuse the label does not invalidate the label.
And the Folkish label is one that is, and should be, distinct from the racist label. As far as I know, Hitlerblót is not on the calendar of the AFA (or any other Folkish Ásatrú organization) and is not going to be. The attempt to paint Folkish Ásatrúar as racists is contrary to the facts, it is hypocritical, and it is quite simply wrong.