The Excuse Culture: Racism in America
Racism — or any kind of (arbitrary) prejudice, really — is lazy. You can say it’s ignorant, stupid, uncreative, short-sighted, etc. But the core root of the problem is pure laziness.
When people want things in their lives, they are likely to do one of these three things:
- Do Nothing. Hey, if you do nothing, it can’t hurt too much and if you’re comfortable, that will (most likely) change gradually, in a way that’s hard to notice. There are all kinds of ways to justify doing nothing.
- Work to Improve. They develop themselves, make plans, and work to progress in the world so that they can get what they want. These people try, fail, learn, and try again, repeatedly, until they get what they want or die trying. The smartest ones adapt to new information and set new goals once the first are achieved.
- Try Half-Assedly. Folks in this group try without determination or discipline or sound planning, fail, and make excuses and justifications to pump themselves up and soften the blow of their perceived ineptitude and give up.
People in group #1 can be a problem, but they usually pacify themselves with TV, booze, or religion. These are the folks who usually become obsessed with triviality (toys, cartoons, stamps, sports, etc.) or danger (petty crime, sexual crime, etc.) in order to numb away their existential dread.
They feel this dread because they are too scared or too lazy or too un-reflective to figure out that the meaning of life is whatever you want it to be and that the purpose of life is to make dreams come true for yourself and others. So the big questions, such as “Why am I here?” are answered in a purely reactive, bowl-of-jelly sort of way.
People in group#2 usually start off in group 1 or 3, realize their error, and start to become proactive in their lives and take responsibility for their station and their purpose. They create meaning for themselves and work to make their lives as great as possible.
Sometimes, people in group #2 fail to realize that making dreams come true can only work long-term if it comes from a place of COOPERATION, not COMPETITION. This is the stuff of future posts (and I really want to dig into it), but it is an important distinction here because some people from group #2 don’t understand that competition is for self-defense, not self-expansion, and burn out and fall back into group 1 or 3.
People in group 3 lack self-esteem and tend to trade away their empathy for security, if possible. They have given up on becoming the heroes of their own movies and tend to follow whichever pooch barks the loudest. They make the half-effort necessary to lock themselves into dead-end jobs (or welfare checks) and bad marriages. They tend to neglect or abuse their children (those kids who were supposed to give them purpose somehow).
When people lump themselves into group 3 for too long, there is a sharp tendency to try to rationalize their failures and to blame their unhappiness on outside sources.
Some fall into extreme political ideologies that have loud leaders and boisterous opposition to some “other” groups, whether it be Fascism, Communism, etc.
Some fall into conspiracy theories:
It’s the conservatives! It’s the liberals! It’s the CIA, NSA, KGB, Mafia, Illuminati or the Bilderbergs. It’s the Muslims, the Jews, the Masons, the Catholics, the Mormons. It’s aliens! It’s angels and demons! It’s ghosts. It’s wizards and witches. It’s Satan. It’s God. It’s an evil monster from another dimension holding me down!
Anything that isn’t “me” can be pointed at and blamed. It’s safer and easier than taking responsibility for your own life.
And this is where prejudice comes in — especially racial prejudice, because if your life sucks it’s pretty easy to point at someone who looks different from you, maybe has a funny accent and eats better food, whose life seems to suck less and say “Those darm _____’s are taking my ______’s!”
This feeling can be compounded by economic realities, such as immigrants working menial jobs for less pay in order to establish themselves in their new country. People blame illegals (shifting it away from themselves for not pushing themselves more to have better lives and more relevant skills, etc.), getting caught up in the ideas of jobs and countries, which are social red herrings.
I’ll make a post about this soon, but the essential idea is that the concept of “jobs” is 90% obsolete — a relic of a dead paradigm that is in the process of being swept away. Ditto for countries. Change has to come as the machines do more and human hands do less.
To get back to racial prejudice, racists believe in a paradox: the groups they hate are intrinsically better than they are (“beating” them or “taking over”) and yet also somehow inferior.
Note: I’m going to start using “you” to address the bigots, so don’t take offense.
A person cannot “steal your job” unless he is as good or better than you are. “But he’s willing to work for pennies and I need a wage!” How about learning some new skills so that you’re actually worth spending money on? I don’t hire useless people. I don’t expect your boss to, either.
A person cannot “steal your women” — women aren’t property that can be exchanged (at least not in a civilized society). Maybe you fear that the other guy has a better penis than you do and has some magical ability to use it better than you can and you fear your wife finding out. You could try talking with your wife and improving your sex life (maybe get into shape so you can do more than just lay there?).
There are all kinds of fears: the other group is stronger, faster, more athletic, more cunning, more creative, more socially adaptable, etc. If you fear that they are “more”, they cannot also be inferior (“less”). It doesn’t make sense.
The rhetoric is the weirdly paradoxical “we’re superior and we’re going take back what’s ours!” Not one single racist TRULY believes he is superior. Not one. Not in his heart. He fears losing to people who look different because he thinks they are able to take what he has. An inferior creature cannot take away a superior creature’s worth. Not in the long-term.
And the idea of any group of people being intrinsically “better” than anyone else is absurd. The use of the term “race” to describe different-looking people is scientifically inaccurate because there are very few differences between ethnic groups that aren’t purely cosmetic. And those differences are due to environmental differences over thousands of years. Look it up if you don’t believe me.
Housecats can come in a variety of colors: orange, yellow, brown, gray, black, striped, spotted, etc. Humans come in fewer varieties. With the exception of albinos, all humans come in shades of brown. That’s it. There is no black, white, yellow, or red. It’s all brown. Cats have a variety of fur textures and lengths: thick (and some have crazy thick), thin (and some are hairless), different kinds of curly, wavy, straight, etc. Humans have less differentiation: straight, wavy, and curly. That’s it.
Do short-furred orange striped cats with pointy faces hate fluffy white cats with mushed-looking faces because of their appearance?
Fear of arbitrary difference is the result of laziness. And taking pride in an accident of birth instead of achievements (because you refuse to achieve anything) is pretty darn lazy.
If you take responsibility for your life, nobody can take anything away from you. If you are proactive about what you want in life (get in shape, serve others with your talent, have rich and rewarding relationships with other people, etc.), nobody can “steal your job” or anything else. Not in the long-term.
Everybody has unlucky breaks. You might get robbed or punched or worse. Everybody of every background has unlucky breaks, too. Not everybody has to blame others for their problems and prop themselves up with an unearned sense of “superiority”.
And everybody (at least in my country) has to deal with a government that’s mostly corrupt, inefficient, and ineffective. But it’s not “the Mexicans” that made it that way. It’s US that made it that way. Collectively, we have power over our governance — if we bother to choose.
If everyone were proactive and took responsibility for themselves (and stopped blaming easy targets for their troubles), we wouldn’t need governments anymore.
And if you took the time to talk to some of the people who scare you so much, you might find that they are just like you; just with skin that’s a different shade of brown and maybe an accent and better-tasting food.
How has racial prejudice affected your life?