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Saturday, February 8, 2020

Racism

self reflection
I’m not making a judgement on anyone. Though, to be very clear, I’ve found a slight obsession1 and in terms of an outlet I’m going to use this site. 

Because of the thing I cannot talk about[*2], I’ve started to notice trends in people and have formed an idea, possibly even a hypothesis. This idea is on racism and racist people. 

Today, racism is bad. It’s always been bad, but in terms of recognizing the tendency in people it’s even more bad today because we can see both the history of and ramifications personally, within communities, and nationally2

What is more evident is how people couch their racism and hide it from themselves in the guise of hiding it from the world. 

How does one hide their racism?

It’s not to be overt or outright in their approach to people of a different ethnic or national origin. It may not be using derogatory language. For many, they may think a lifetime of fighting their inclinations and upbringing is enough. Yet, the problem is evident when listening to how people intersect with interruptions related to their cultural comfort3

Instead, racism is down by proxy, in support of things like Blue Lives Matter or the Thin Blue Line and in open opposition to movements like Black Lives Matter or candidates of color or even neighbors of different nationalities moving into a neighborhood followed by white flight4

One of the verbal indicators is when someone says:
I like [insert ethnic group] just fine, but [insert exception].
Basically, the format is the openly agree they like all people and then to give an exception to a willingness to accept. Of late I’ve heard the following exceptions:
  • Trump’s border wall
  • Obama
  • People who come to abuse the health or welfare system
  • How children are raised
The list can go on almost infinitely. And it’s this exceptions list that protects the person from their racism. It’s an open acknowledgement that they accept everyone, except for those they disagree with or whose motivations are circumspect or unclear5

The final indicator is who these groups choose to represent them in local, state, and national levels. It’s one thing to not outwardly say or do things. It’s another to find someone clever enough to appear to not be racist and who does all they can to advance ethnic agendas. Which is, without question, the underlying issue with a lot of politics and representational democracy.
We vote for those we feel best represent our interests.
Which means ethnic communities are most likely (when not cheated) to vote for community members who look and act like them. Yet, gerrymander enough and entire communities are misrepresented by people who don’t look like nor reflect their basic values.
Add in money and the political stakes are elevated considerably.
People will do almost anything to protect and defend anything they think is rightfully theirs.
Which is one sense of entitlement where racism is an inherent part of the national discourse6. Who you vote for and why is yet another example of inherent racism. There comes a point where decision making is done by whatever group one chooses to affiliate. Therefore, morality is an extension of who people choose to associate. 

None of which means the inherent ugliness inside is an extension of what we do on the outside. And it’s this outward tendency that in large part informs who we choose to be. Unfortunately, this outward-in approach doesn’t extend to party politics of for whom we vote7.

Most of the time there’s an ease of purpose in this kind of decision making. It makes a lot of sense. Choose to trust those who’ve dedicated their lives to a specific thing. Until, that is, it conflicts with who you think you are inside. When that happens, it’s not who you voted for that matters, it’s why you voted for the person. If the reasons follow an:
I like … but ….
Mentality, then your racism is showing and that’s when things are bad. Really bad. And it’s when you find out who you really are and what you really stand for.
So, there are judgements. There will always be judgements. That’s not the point. The point isn’t whether or not someone points their finger and calls you a name, it’s whether or not you can accept within yourself the image your choices portray to the world, your children, and your community. 

That’s what’s important and that’s where individual judgment and being judged by others is at odds with our places in the community or within our families and among our friends.

  1. In autistic circles this would also be referred to as a special interest.  
  2. With all due respect to the amazing Morgan Freeman, in order to truly combat racism and come to terms with it as a nation is to talk about it. A lot. All the time. Between groups and in individual organizations. It needs to be an essential talking point and it needs to not go away simply because it’s uncomfortable or someone, anyone thinks the problem has gone away.  
  3. Clint Eastwood’s 2008 movie Gran Torino is an interesting exploration of this theme as is Sean Connery headlines Finding Forrester. There are many examples, these are two of my favorites.  
  4. It should also be noted that there are all kinds of cultural flight. The vast majority of people in this country are white and when they feel threatened they run. The inverse of this is gentrification, or the upgrading and pushing out of low-rent or poor people currently living in an area. There’s enough on this for entire volumes to have been written and to still be written.  
  5. There is no one more untrustworthy than the person you cannot understand whose motivations are unclear or different than one’s own.  
  6. The reason the Republican Party and others are desperate to carry out a pharaonic approach to removing anything done by former President Barack Obama either by removing what was accomplished or attempting to rename or take credit for it.  
  7. It’s the party aligned person who looks most like the person voting in terms of both gender and ethnicity.  

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