activism, culture

Homogenized White: Racism and Fear

So, unfortunately I just saw some racist shit cross my Facebook page. It was standard propaganda: Jew Communists are undermining us, white men are sacrificing themselves to keep the country that is being undermined by liberal Muslims going, whatever. Of course, such hateful shit ignores that plenty of black, Asian and Hispanic folks also sacrifice themselves for this country, but hey, that must be some kind of conspiracy too.

But it reminds me of something that I considered yesterday. I was at a Round Table in Brunswick in my hometown of Grass Valley (an almost all-white town), and I saw a black family and an Asian family. I could scarcely contain my enthusiasm. I was like, “Yay! Not white people! Thank God!”

And then I recalled all of the wonderful times I’ve had eating Chinese food, my favorite cuisine. Not to mention experiences meeting people from different worlds, with different experiences of life, being enriched by them.

There’s a lot going on with racism. Racists are afraid of outside threats. They’re afraid of being hurt, their families being hurt. Racism often justifies existing inequalities. It doesn’t feel so bad to have a sub-human worm under your boot. If you had to recognize the humanity of the person you are robbing, you might do something about it.

But one thing I don’t think we talk about enough is this: Racists want their world to be homogeneous. Those who favor Christian supremacy, or racial supremacy, or bitch about multiculturalism… What they are saying is, “I want my world to be more predictable, more homogenized, more alike. I want the world to have experiences like the ones I already know and am comfortable with”. And, even worse, “I have the privilege and power to turn that desire into reality, and I’m going to use it. I’m going to force the world to be more like what I prefer”.

Every time I look at the evils that we do to each other, I see every single time that the worst victims are those who are doing the evil. Those who have fear and hate in their hearts are depriving themselves of a strange, wonderful world. They aren’t just people who notice the different, the Other. They’re people afraid of that Other. And there’s nothing worse than living in the one true hell: Our own prison of hate, of fear, of anger. Living in a small world.

One of my favorite parts about making my own knightly code, my own superhero ethics, is that an inherent part of those ethics is adventuring. The knight errant sallies forth to new lands. The superhero discovers new enemies and new allies. I want adventures. I want to meet new friends, and yes, even new enemies. I refuse to let this world cow me into submission. And I refuse to let the misdeeds of others cloud my mind with hatred.

We failed the White History Month people, the white supremacists on Facebook and elsewhere. Our educational system failed to give them a perspective of critical thinking that would let them know that every month is already white history month, and that maybe we should be asking for an Irish history month or a Swedish history month or an Italian history month instead, celebrating actual ethnic identity and not “whiteness” which is an ethnic cipher. We collectively failed to save them from ignorance (ignorance in the Socratic sense, ignorance of the soul) and wrath. We are allowing our brothers to wallow in a spiritual morass.

So let’s embrace a world of difference. Let’s embrace a world where we love and are excited about the new and strange things we encounter. And let’s do that openly, so that even those who are angry and lost can realize that there is nothing to fear but fear itself.

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