As I learned growing up, having been taught by sane people, I learned that racism is the false belief that one race is inherently and essentially superior to another. Taken this way, and when the attitude is combined with malice, we can see that racism is a very grievous sin.
God hates it, and one of the things Jesus came to do was eradicate that sin.
A lesser sin, but still a sin, is when the false belief of racial superiority is combined, not with malice, but with a patronizing do-goodery. Many missionaries from previous eras fell into this problem.
We see a continuation of this variant of racism in affirmative action policies — policies quite effective in casting a shadow over every genuine black achievement. This highlights yet another destructive aspect of the “soft bigotry of low expectations.”
Because the apostles of uplift have snow white motives, their racist assumptions are invisible to them. They would never use the phrase “white man’s burden,” but they operate in terms of it all the time. They are not racists, they claim, because they intend only good things for those lesser breeds without the law. And of course, they would never dream of expressing their smug superiority through phrases from Kipling. They express their smug superiority in other ways.