“Racism is a disease at the very heart of our Democracy.”
— Mordecai Johnson
“No, it’s not! Racism is an evolutionary relic. Specifically, fear of ‘The Other.’ It’s a common enemy to all Humanity. It knows no skin color. Blame doesn’t apply.”
— Tony Wall
We’ve got to stop beating ourselves up about Racism. I’ll go first! I admitted my Racism long ago. It’s high time we all did. Only by OWNING it can we move past it.
Does my admission of Racism repel you? Have I triggered a defensive response? If so, tuck in your indignation. Let’s have the courage to view the EVOLUTIONARY SCIENCE that drives Racism.
But first, indulge me in a simple experiment. It will place all humans on the same page. Are you ready?
With your right hand, use your thumb and index finger to pinch your left hand really hard. Don’t sit there with a confused look on your face. The assignment is easy. PINCH YOUR LEFT HAND.
Did it hurt? Yeah — it hurts me too, every time I do it. I’ll go even further. All 8,000,000,000 humans on Planet Earth will experience the same pain, and make the same face, if we pinch ourselves. “Ouch!!”
By this elementary procedure, we’ve arrived together at a simple truth. Human beings are FLESH AND BLOOD. If we view ourselves as anything greater than that, we get into big trouble. Conversely, when we own that we are ONE SPECIES, we can now openly discuss Racism. This relic of human evolution has a vice-grip on modern Humanity, and it’s WAY STRONGER than our will to defeat it.
You say, “Not so fast!! I’m not a Racist”. Umm, yes, you are. But don’t beat yourself up. All humans — and I don’t care what color you are, or how intelligent you are — are lost in the same woods. Racism is a common enemy of ALL Mankind. We bond against common enemies. Let’s bond over this one, too.
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Racism is an evolutionary tribal relic. I’ve just plainly admitted my Racism, but let me guess. You’re not ready to do that, right? No problem. That means you’re normal. After all, who ADMITS to being a Racist? The gravity of those words — RACIST & RACISM — is precisely why we deny it. I’m here to change that. And why? All humans, no matter their color, are now circling the same drain to Oblivion. Recess is over.
The lies we humans tell ourselves are so diverse, so pervasive, and so immovable, we’ll never arrive at true self-examination as a species, until we intend to reach sustainability. In order to do this we’ll need to SWEAT OUT all of our delusions, like a fever that won’t break. The fever must eventually break, or we’ll perish.
With my Racist tribal faults fully admitted, will we all fall in line? Quite the opposite. This is what I can now look forward to:
— My admission of Racism will get me expelled from my fraternal groups. They’ll want nothing to do with a Racist like me. They’ll fall on their rusty swords all day, rather than flatly admit having ever entertained a Racist thought. We’re not yet ready to even PARTLY own our Racism. After all, “Concession” is a weakness in the primitive mind, where humans spend half their days.
— With this new Racist admission, if any of my neighbors see me, they’ll duck into stores, or dive into hedges, rather than greet me. They won’t associate with an admitted Racist. I’ll find the courage to gut that out, because someone has to. Bold admissions like mine will be set upon by the very ones who suspect how RIGHT I am.
— With my Racist admission unbowed by the several gang-beatings that I sustained, the tongue-wagging will then begin. It won’t deter me, because I’m able to VIEW MYSELF. I’m a scientific mind, and Racism is ROOTED in evolutionary science. My detractors are free to swing away.
If you still claim to harbor no Racial defaults, you’re my hero. You’ve somehow managed to cheat one of the strongest evolutionary forces that drive repetitive human failure. Let me pop your balloon quickly. Accept my apologies in advance:
You’re not that good! These compulsions activate ten times faster than the thinking brain. They own me, and they own you. Your false bravado serves you poorly. Let it go. When you do, we can actually get something done.
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You’ve now placed your bravado to the side. Nice work. What happens now? Let’s look at the scoreboard:
1. We admitted our powerlessness against Racism.
2. We gutted out all the gang-beatings we took by those offended by our admission.
3. We allowed for a period of tongue-wagging. Many are openly disgusted by our admission. They protest too much!!
4. We ask them now to listen, as the mechanism of Racism is explained. I’ll now write in the first person.
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— -The baby boy named Tony who was born to my mother did not appear from thin air. I had already evolved over two million years. I was already driven by innumerable compulsions, set on “automatic”, that were baked into my Biology.
— Perhaps the strongest of these compulsions was my residual fear of anyone who DIDN’T LOOK LIKE ME. That compulsion was a card dealt to me by evolution, not a choice I made. Its grip on me was stronger than my ability to defeat it.
— Human beings are EQUALLY CAPTIVE to evolutionary relics. While our physical bodies live in the present moment, our brains DO NOT. Ancient compulsions continue to act like schoolyard bullies. They make me — and you — feel things that society dictates we’re not ALLOWED to feel. Our rationalizations allow us to sleep, but the compulsions we send to the basement fester there. We don’t dare summon them. They summon themselves. In denial, we project outward. OTHERS are Racists — but not us.
— Our sandcastle rationales eventually crumble. The truth intrudes, when we simply look around. A fully-deluded Humanity finds itself once again at our throats, driven there by our unwillingness to MEET, let alone to KNOW ourselves.
And there it is, folks. Racism is not a choice. It’s an evolutionary mechanism. By our denial, we remain fully disintegrated from these baser compulsions. Disintegration cannot persist in Nature.
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What can we do to free ourselves?
1. Own and teach the MECHANISM, not the curse, of Racism.
2. Retire the BLAME — slowly — by what we’ve learned.
3. Let us not defeat our Racism. Let’s BECOME it! It’s part of us, but its
enemies died EONS AGO. There’s no one left in the modern day to be angry at, other than this COMMON enemy — fear of “The Other”.
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While we’re all here, let’s reacquaint ourselves with “The Other.” Existential philosophers long ago put a name to anyone who IS NOT ME. They call him, “The Other”.
Evolving humans needed to be wary of “The Other” at all times. We didn’t strike up a friendly conversation with “The Other.” due to a vague suspicion that he may wish to kill us. If he DID or DIDN’T was irrelevant. Our primitive minds were always on high alert. We scanned every landscape with great interest, not for its beauty, but for any other living beings. These had the annoying possibility of ending our existence.
All the while, “The Other” was just like me, and I was just like him. But friendship was no option for us at that time. It is this extremely strong, residual compulsion — Fear of “The Other” — that manifests itself today as “Racism”.
With the evolutionary groundwork of Racism now in view , let’s return to the present moment. Racism as an unresolved symptom of evolutionary paranoia. With this “ah-ha” moment in tow, we no longer need to hurl Racist epithets at one another. NOW might be a good time to see that.
I’ll go further, and point out the simplicity of it. RACISM IS OUR COMMON ENEMY. Skin color and Racism are not even remotely related. Viewing it differently, as we now can, allows us to escape these ever-darker woods together — as ONE like species.
BLAME will then be replaced by the gift of Clarity. Clarity will give way to Empathy. Empathy will give way to Sustainability. Until it does, the currently-paralyzed human species continues to have a bad case of “ITSELF”.
Anthony A. Wall, Jr.