There are two core underlying beliefs in racism: (1) Individuals are not distinct but uniformly representative of their respective groups. (2) Said groups are in some way inherently inferior compared to other human beings.
Racism does in fact require that both conditions be met since applying assumed group traits to an individual (e.g., “Since you’re tall, you must play basketball,” or “You’re skinny as a twig, so you must be a model,” or “You must not be that smart since all blondes aren’t the brightest of the bunch”) does not equate to the presumption of racial superiority. Similarly, to think of others as inferior, you must therein assume yourself to be more than human by comparison—fashioning the racist above humanity and closer to deity. The master of lies has already charted this perilous course.
Additionally, thinking oneself to be better than the rest is just plain arrogance or pride—vices that are essentially competitive and directed against everyone globally. This perverse paradigm is a deplorable form of self-idolatry that unfortunately nurtures itself.
There was a shameful time in this nations’ past where racism was visible and palpable mostly everywhere. Much progress has been made, but racism still exists, even though it has become much more subtle and disguised in exceedingly clever ways. Take for example the now-defunct policy of the former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg called stop and frisk. This policy, formed in the “public interest” in order to ensure “safety and security,” had a rate of failure of over 90% for its entire existence and disproportionately targeted male minorities. Deceptively, this program was executed with “good” intentions but used as a means to intimidate and discriminate. Even more troubling was the fact that the program was in existence for more than a decade before being dismantled and was repeatedly supported despite the fact that it was racially prejudiced and failed to satisfy its stated goals.
Equal treatment under the law is a good thing, and the law (in theory) is supposed to be color-blind, race blind, and sex blind.
However, on the other side of the coin, many groups in society nowadays ironically call for equal treatment by requiring preferential treatment of certain groups—this is simply prejudice by stealth and has the potential to be as dangerous as the more overt forms of discrimination.
While no one can deny the legacy of racism, one must also be cognizant of the slippery slope of perpetual group identification leading to claims of perpetual group victimhood. At the end of the day, if anyone has been wronged, retribution is in order. However, when a claim is repeatedly abused or relied on by default, a sinister pattern develops and leads the alleged victim(s) to think and behave in a specific mode. The psychology of victimhood places the victim’s nexus of control externally so that consequences are invariably a result of peripheral factors and never internal ones. This thinking promotes lack of self-confidence, guilt, hopelessness, and feelings of inadequacy. The dangerous twist happens when such feelings demand the continual reparation from the victimizers. This dynamic absolves the victims of any future responsibility to and of self, even after all debts have been paid (or at least attempted), and can extend to those who never participated in the victimization in the first place. This representation becomes exceedingly murky when the victimizers and victims are nebulous, or when the extent of the damage is not quantifiable.
Sadly, bigotry is a disorder of heart condition, regardless of the means by which this disorder developed. While everyone has the right to say what they want, unfortunately, laws and regulations can’t rectify ignorance and stupidity.
In essence, collectivism tainted with disdain and aimed at particular racial sects equals racism. Anything that persuades us to think in terms of groups, and not individuals, actually promotes racist ideology. It’s the obsession with race itself than can lead someone down some treacherous paths. Children playing together don’t notice that Billy is Black, or Walter is White, or Andrew is Asian; they just see the other little boys and will go about playing happily. Unfortunately, time will indoctrinate them all to see the other children’s race first, and then see the rest of the person second. Living in a truly color-blind society does not mean that we purposely ignore race, but rather we refrain from elevating its importance and attributing it so much significance that it trumps all other characteristics, both physical and mental.
Is there a cure for racism? Absolutely not, because there’s no cure for human ignorance. What any civilized society can do is attempt to minimize its own contribution to racism’s development, while nurturing an environment that emphasizes him or her as opposed to they. This attempt is best understood in a free and liberated society, where the governing bodies do not base political platforms and agendas predicated on group claims or generalize experiences to all persons of the same racial group. True freedom and genuine blindness to race, then, would regard it as an inconsequential incidental, just as one would dismiss other negligible physical characteristics such as freckles or bow-leggedness. In this type of society, rewards would be given for accomplishment and competency, not race, gender, or ethnic background.
In the prior examples, I’ve described an individual’s adoption of racist ideology based on their own volition, but the promotion of discriminatory dogma, sadly, has a legacy of being wielded as a manipulative tool. If C wants to eradicate B, C can attack B directly (the path of most resistance). Conversely, C can also convince A that B is a threat to everyone, thus turning A into a mortal enemy of B (the path of least resistance). Who knows what else C can accomplish or has up its sleeve when such a diabolical scheme is executed and its seeds of hatred are consumed by the masses.
The reader should also keep in mind that when promoting fear or hatred, it becomes prudent to direct resentment at a group whose power and resources can be usurped. Oftentimes it’s never really about “them” being inferior or “them” being a threat, but said groups occupy a niche that someone else wishes to control—thus, race happens to be secondary, a smoke screen to conceal true intent. If a potential target’s role cannot be effectively taken over, then there would be no gain at all in promoting odium. Notably, this prototype can be extended to any issue within political grasp and need not be limited as a function of race. For instance, suppose you wanted a certain economic cohort to pay more taxes. Coming out and saying, “Pay more taxes,” wouldn’t be so palatable. But what you can do is stir up resentment against inequality and demand that these other folks pay their fair share. Now everyone jumps on the bandwagon, and away we go.
Would any tyrant or political demagogue persecute another group if the group were a nonfactor? I think not. Genuine hatred may play a role, but so does lack of familiarity, an alleged threat, and a perceived gain.
Dr. C.H.E. Sadaphal