Thursday, February 06, 2014

Hunting for White Racism

Hunting for and turning over rocks to seek out evidence of white hypocrisy about race, seems to be a very popular pastime with many black women. Each day I get dozens of emails and articles in my inbox, on the topic of 'outing' whites as racist, against all their protestations. The other week, I got one saying, 'White people treat blacks different in Emergencies' or some such title. As you can see I am more or less blasé about all this and so cant even remember the title.

It might seem a bit exciting to peak into the minds of whites, to confirm what you have always thought about them: that they are a two faced group of people, ‘they smile in your face, but stab you in the back.’ However I think this preoccupation to expose whites is entirely time wasting. And here's why:

Why? Because I feel like showing a black woman with a seriously kicking body sue me!

Racism is a natural response

Truth is that it is only in Western societies that we have taken very great steps towards social engineer against a normal natural impulse in all humans. Humans fear difference or fear the outsider who is marked different by their appearance.

Lets use an evolutionary model here to look at why racism is a natural response. Let’s think back to a time when racial characteristics linked closely to you being from a different continent and climatic condition (before the time of large scale and modern travel). Supposing I was taking my daily stroll down by the rift valley, just chilling, and I suddenly saw a band of foreigners who were finally revealed to have come from far afield as China. What do you think I would feel seeing these strange folk riding on horses or who knows what? I am sure most of you would say I would feel alarmed, and you are not wrong. Racial difference would mean they came from an area that is markedly physically different to the area from my locality. It would suggest that they have been subject to different climatic conditions and they have a culture that has evolved from that climatic and ecological landscape. How do I know that they don’t have a belief system that would imperil my own life and that of others who look like and act like me. If they came from a harsh and unforgiving land than it could be quite easily true that they have adopted cultural codes that match the need to survive under those situations. Maybe they don’t like to share or in their lands, darker skin meant the attack of a very wasting disease that could kill in thousands. If this were the case then I could be in serious trouble couldn’t I?

Even in a less threatening scenario, their culture would be different and might lead to a serious conflict around resources (maybe they come from an area with an abundance of water and thus treat that resource differently to how my tribe would, coming from the other point where we don’t have much of it). There are a thousand and one ways in which we could suddenly come into serious and even life threatening conflict as people who come from lands which have evolved markedly different ways of life. A shorthand way of dealing with this situation and its range of variables which could possibly prove lethal is for humans to have this instinct to respond with reservation to characteristics marking people as coming from a different climatic and thus social milieu.

Racism is a problem in all of us

If studies were done for blacks as frequently as for white, we would notice no great difference in basic responses. We are not naturally trusting of difference, we just have had to put up with it and evolved more open and cooperative ways of dealing with others out of necessity. Blacks are not the socially dominant group in Western societies so it hasn’t been a very pressing issue to analyse our attitudes in these matters. Negative reactions in blacks are also often excused away or put down to the fact that we are minorities and socially excluded as a group and so these responses are a result of the evil of racism and the racist system that surrounds us etc etc etc.

Stop wasting time fishing for and collecting articles and data on whites subliminal race aversion

These response are comon to all mankind and until the time when humans can engineer their every attribute I doubt we will be able to get rid of this response which is bedded deep in the human psyche.

I am hoping black women can wean themselves off the self justified feelings they get when they read and chase down the latest report on white racist hypocrisy.

How to do this

Consider white folk as mere human as we are human.

Consider that a reasonable focus ought to be how to avoid being at the mercy/victim of these natural human responses to difference. You will be able to control some of it, but you will not be able to save yourself from ever being a victim of such race prejudging or knee-jerk, 'unevolved' response to your racial difference. That my friend is life and what it means to be a human being vulnerable to broader realities and plain life's happenstance. Try not to get bent out of shape if it is not a serious issue. Focus on surviving, fighting back and having 'options' available to you to side step to.

Above all, pray for good fortune!

Next blog post 21st Feb
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