Racists don’t usually take the interests of members of the group they oppress as relevant to their actions. They are typically content to cause suffering to some racial groups because they believe that they are somehow inferior to the racists’ racial group.

Philosophy: The basics

In the context above, the word "their" makes me confused. Does it refer to "Racists" or "members of the group"? Could you give me an example of the first sentence? Thanks

2 Answers 2


It is impossible to decide based on grammar and syntax alone.

But the meaning seems clear enough: "Racists don't care about the groups that they discriminate against". So the "actions" must be the actions of the racists. "Their" refers to "racists" in this paragraph.

  • So, does it mean that the racists care about their actions more than the interests of members of the group they oppress?
    – XVI
    Aug 27, 2021 at 8:44
  • 2
    They do whatever they want regardless of the effect it might have on the minority group. Aug 27, 2021 at 9:08
  • @XVI It's more a case of 'racists don't care - at all - about the interests of the group they oppress'. The oppressed group's interests have no value or meaning to the racists.
    – mcalex
    Aug 27, 2021 at 9:53

It is not written very precisely, XVI. As James K said, the grammar and syntax are unclear.

Leaving aside the modifying "usually", "typically", "some" and "somehow", this is the essence of what s/he is saying:

The interests of the (members of the) group they oppress are irrelevant to the racists, who, believing themselves superior, are content to cause suffering among such racial groups.

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