Perhaps you missed my initial posts, but I started with the claim that I could defend racism on some level. So your observation that I have a negative view of all this "superficiality" isn't quite right. Quite the opposite: I agree with you that it's an inevitable feature of human life. My argument is that people who claim they're better than racists probably aren't. Does this mean I find racism intolerable? Not exactly. It just means I see two types of phenomena on a similar level: judging others because of their somewhat culturally defined ethnicity and judging others based on other types of culturally defined values. The latter includes, for example, not giving someone a job because of what they wear, or consolidating one's ties with a group that drives nice cars, wines and dines at expensive restuarants, has proper table etiquette, etc. So my point contests the idea that the latter group is somehow better than the former. By making that point, I am thereby defending some definitions of racism (I can't cover all my bases as everyone has a different definition) as being just as acceptable as our everyday cultural habits: no better, no worse. But most of us typically think, especially in "multi-cultural" America, that we're just fantastic people compared to those ignorant, naughty racists and sexists! Are we?