I stated in another thread that "it’s actually quite rare that the starting point of racism is belief in the genetic inferiority of certain racial groups. More often, it’s related to perceived aggression or offense from a group of people highly populated by a certain race or ethnic group, with discrimination against that race or ethnic group then becoming a convenient mechanism for quickly and effectively categorizing them."
In that thread, we were discussing the allegedly racist attitudes of the Minuteman Project and border vigilantes. I first referred to the cognivite scientist George Lakoff's commentary on the social conservative's view of illegal immigrants and the violation of their moral values that such immigrants' behavior involves.
Within Strict Father [conservative] morality, illegal immigrants are seen as lawbreakers (“illegals”) who should be punished. People who hire them are just pursuing their self-interest, as they should, and so are doing nothing wrong. [Of course, that’s not always true anymore.] From the perspective of the Nation as Family metaphor, illegal immigrants are not citizens, hence they are not children in our family. To be expected to provide food, housing, and health care for illegal immigrants is like being expected to feed, house, and care for other children in the neighborhood who are coming into our house without permission. They weren’t invited, they have no business being here, and we have no responsibility to take care of them.
I then commented that "as illegal immigrants are viewed that way, and as most illegal immigrants are persons of full or mixed-blooded Indian descent, and given that most Americans incorrectly consider Mexicans a racial group and group Indians of Guatemalan, Nicaraguan, or Salvadorean descent (just to offer several examples) into the “Mexican” group, it’s not surprising that you hear Mexican jokes or slurs; “Mexican” identity has become a way to easily aggregate the people violating the social conservatives’ moral precepts."
Let's consider the example of blacks next, who are stereotypically regarded as being the greatest users of social welfare programs in the country. Apart from being inaccurate, since whites use more total welfare (because of their greater numbers), and there is thus a greater probability of encountering a white welfare user than a black one, welfare provision is regarded as another violation of the social conservative's principes. It is considered to be free provision of rewards to a person that has not worked for it, thereby undermining individual responsibility and self-reliance. (That this is misleading and untrue is irrelevant; the fact that social conservatives believe
it to be true is the important part.) If blacks are regarded as the primary users of welfare services, then it stands to reason that blacks would also be regarded as uniquely irresponsible. Blackness then becomes a convenient mechanism for quickly and effectively mentally categorizing welfare users, with certain "urban" traits (speech in the black dialect, a certain style of dress and appearance, etc.) strengthening the categorization more.
This hardly stems from a pre-existing belief in black racial inferiority; it's just that black skin color is associated with welfare usage, high crime rates, and other aspects of "ghetto" life that social conservatives regard as profoundly immoral. And that can lead to racial discrimination, even if the offender is not aware of the exact nature of his or her conduct.