Quite an emphatic title to this blog post, isn't it? Now, I've got your attention, I'll explain where that came from: Someone posted this in one of the groups to which I am a member on Facebook:
"Unfortunately, niggers' dicks are bigger than their brains. they never choose to not reproduce because they know their kids will grow up starving so *we* have to prevent them from doing this."
And my reaction and revulsion to that was, and is, extremely strong. So strong that it makes me want to throw up.
I responded to it. And then started wondering why racism engenders such strong feelings in me.
I won't lie and say that I'm not racist. I am - it's an automatic reaction conditioned by my upbringing, era (the 60's), culture and society I was born into.
In other words, if I encounter a person who's skin is a different shade to mine, or who speaks a different language, or comes from a different culture - there is an automatic labelling that comes up as a result of that conditioning. And I despise it.
I know that those labels aren't true. They are just phobic markers instilled in me as a result of my society's fear of the unknown, the unfamiliar.
Perhaps it's a tribal thing - to fear what you don't know - but I don't think it's a useful reaction anymore to encountering other people who are NOT posing a threat. Who just appear to be different. And it doesn't just extend to race and culture, it is illustrated by class divisions, sectors of society, age differences, sexuality - in fact, any label that tries to define a person can be used against them to de-humanise them.
But, regardless of the reason for any kind of racism or ageism or snobbery, or homophobia, there was still a very strong feeling in reaction to the post. I questioned this revulsion in me. And saw that it is, basically, fear.
Fear due to the extremism of what the illusion of separation does. It starts with me/you and extends to us/them, by making assumptions and judgements about people based on outward appearances.
The fear feels sickening. Fear at what happens when the illusion of separation leads people into violence and, ultimately, murder. Because that is what it leads to. It starts with words that point out a difference that is seen as being something that isn't 'me' and extends to action to protect 'me' from the fear that there are 'others'. And then lots of 'me's get together to agree and support each other's words about other 'me's and 'thems' and on it goes from there. Then the 'us' and the 'them' start to defend their 'us-ness' and 'them-ness' and organise themselves into groups and organisations and society's and policitcal parties and religions and nations and united nations.
And it seems it's the way of the human species - to divide and protect.
All from one silly misconception. That there is any separation. That there is a me and a you. That there is a them and an us.
All violence and killing comes from 'I'm right' and 'You're wrong'.
Needing to control, wanting to assert authority and dominate - because that notion that there is separation (not differentiation, but separation) fills us with dread and terror.
And me calling out that person on FB following their post, was an assertion by me to show them up to be wrong, to point out their rascism and blanket judgement based on someone's colour.
To me the post demonstrated hate and superiority and ultimately, ignorance. Literally ignoring people by judging them under a set of criteria.
And yes, I could see that I was judging her too, in the same way that she was judging others, except I had more than appearance to go on, I had her views laid out on the screen. But I couldn't just ignore what she had said. I could see the mechanism of how the belief in separation was producing her hatred, superiority and ignorance and led to her posting what she did. But I couldn't ignore it. Because it was there, boldly stated and to ignore it felt like being complicit in the belief that she was demonstrating. To ignore it felt like a tacit agreement in her opinions that all black men have big dicks, are stupid, uncaring and expect everyone else to take action to feed their children.
And the revulsion that I felt on reading it, which came from a fear of what happens when people display rascism through their own fear of separation, propelled me to respond and it was a perfect display of how humans feel compelled to assert their opinions and display how 'right' they are.
It demonstrates how humans are wired to protect their views and positions. Even in the name of defending against racism.
And it was interesting to watch that reaction in me and to see how easy it is to slip into that.
I don't regret responding though. It won't make any difference to her or me, but it ended up being a useful exercise for me to look at my own pre-conceived notions and conditioning.