The fact that the British Empiricists were somewhat racist can cast a bit of a shadow over their arguments. The practices of slavery and racism are somewhat objective moral taboos, ones which can lessen the validity of their other points. Because their philosophy includes the excusing of oppression of one group by another, they lose the moral high ground and become less appealing of a group to ally oneself with. It can be difficult for one to listen to the remaining arguments of the British Empiricists when one of their major tenets is so morally reprehensible. With this in mind, the fact that the empiricists do promote the subjugation of "lesser" peoples can indeed affect one's perception of their arguments.
I believe that Rationalism provides the best epistemologic framework for embracing difference and individuality. By placing the focus on ideas rather than objects, it is possible for more people to have a direct connection to abstract concepts. By placing the emphasis on the nature of thought and existence, there is no room for social order and difference - everyone just is. Everyone has their own unique perceptual experience, and as such everyone is equal in their attempt to understand the world. There cannot be subjugation or repression of others in this philosophy, as the very nature of reality is perpetually put into question. Plato claims that all essences are universal, including people. The nature of a man, therefore, is equal to that of another, regardless of status, skin, or gender.
Rationalism works much better for me as an ethos than empiricism. As I mentioned previously, it is difficult to reconcile the rest of the arguments toward Empiricism when one of their arguments involves a connection to racism. By placing doubt on even the most fundamental questions of life (who am I? How can the mind create physical objects like tables and chairs? How can we know that anything is real?), it offers a much deeper and more comprehensive examination of life than empiricism, which takes certain ideas for granted. Rationalism's overall goal is to free the human body of its irrational soul, which involves moral development and greater inner examination of the self. There is no room for racism in a rational soul; that is one of the things discarded when one attempts to be rational, not to mention fair to others.
There are certain attitudes I can concede about empiricism that are attractive; for one, the idea of the tabula rasa, which allows human experience to shape the person we are. The emphasis on the senses as the means to receive the information that shapes our lives makes sense, and places importance on the human experience. However, it must be said that, given how these basic ideas are formed by British Empiricists into a means to excuse racism, it can make it more difficult to accept them wholeheartedly as a philosophy one should follow.
Descartes, Rene; Laurence J. Lafleur (trans.) (1960). Discourse on Method and Meditations.
New York: The Liberal Arts Press.
Loeb, Luis E. (1981), From Descartes to Hume: Continental Metaphysics and the Development
of Modern Philosophy, Ithaca, Cornell University Press.