Ferguson and Race; Power and Color

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Racism has existed since competing tribes have existed. It is a deeply engrained, biological creation. It occurs through a need for the brain to process vast quantities of information in an efficient manner. We categorize, we stereotype, and we generalize people into convenient ‘groups’.

That’s not to say racism is good. Racism is clearly bad from a social and economic point of view. But it is the truth. We do not have the cognitive resources to process the amount of information we go through on a daily basis. Just think about how large your ‘video’ file would be if, everything you saw and heard was on HD video. Then, and this is where the real data comes in, add to that your emotions during each moment of time. Every conflicting thought of anger, anxiety, and excitement. Every monologue you have occur, hooked up to your visual and auditory stimulus. Then add in the sensations from your skin, the smells from your nose, or the tastes from your mouth.

Your senses don’t ‘stop’. You are constantly feeding your brain inputs. Enormous quantities of data are processed every second. It is truly incredible when you think about it from this perspective just how efficient the human mind is. So it should come as no surprise that these operations are not easy to deal with. There is a reason we do not remember every second of our lives since birth. But we do have a single smell trigger a ‘video’ of a beloved (or dreaded) memory. We are continuously condensing and throwing away irrelevant information.

The octopus is a great example of data processing. To deal with the information comming from its sensitive tenticals, it ‘crowd sources’ the job, by putting part of its brain stem (operating independently) in each appendage.

Racism is a key component of this cognitive necessity. I’ve been reading a lot of crap recently about the Furgeson trial. It falls into two categories.

  1. A discussion of race on a peripheral level: People saying that race is a construct, built to ensure the propagation of one class over the other. That race is created by men in black suits in a fancy conference room.
  2. Details of the case and guilt/not guilty being the important factor. If you think that the guilt or innocence of the police officer means anything than you are blind to the political reality of this case. It is a result of underlying racial tensions in a region. Who cares if he was innocent or not. The only people who appear to care are those with nothing to say about race.

I’ll tackle #1 first, then cruise on over to #2.

#1: We use race to subjugate, inferring the solution to perpetuate policies which reverse the subjugation

This is moronic and truthfully leads to misguided, dangerous, and even overtly racist policies. As usual, the people who say this have the intention of ‘eliminating racism’ but going about it in a way which only perpetuates more racism. They are looking at the symptoms of the issue and trying to find the cure by applying the ‘negative’ to it. If the anarchists are right and fighting violence with more violence is wrong and if the solution to racial injustice is to legalize selective racial ‘justice’ then how is this any better, from a moral perspective, than maiming a thief?

A nice example is affirmative action. Forcing colleges to admit more blacks over whites/asians simply by the fact of their race and nothing else. I think that this fires people up, it generates an ‘us vs them’ mentality, and perpetuates racism and sexism to extremely dangerous levels that otherwise, I argue, would not exist.

Race is a social construct, propagated through every man, woman, and child on earth. This much I will agree with. But it is not a conscious construct. It is a subconscious one. Therefore it will never cease because we decided to hold hands and cry together; only to then run home in our segregated communities. Race, as we know it (black vs white), will only end with the communities are integrated fully. But it doesn’t stop there, it has to go further.

People don’t just have to integrate, they have to behave contrary to their biological desires (of being with people who are ‘similar’ in physical characteristics) and have their everyday actions merged with people with different colors. We have to change the ethnic makeup of our social circles.
That means, black and white children becoming friends, work groups containing equal numbers of blacks and whites (requiring extreme population changes), etc. It requires a massive shift; and even then, it will change nothing.

In the end people will find new reasons to segregate each other. It may be on an economic basis (sorry, you are too poor to be in this group), a regional basis (you talk funny, what a hick/trashy person you are), or the introduction of a new racial minority which has not propagated yet.


#2: We are trapped and in our desire to rationalize our inert racism, we use ‘justice’ to guide our viewpoint

If you think minorities aren’t subjugated you are lying to yourself. It is an exceptional rarity that a nation, clan, tribe, kingdom, or commune in history didn’t subjugate one group at the expense of the other. In any part of the globe. The absence of subjugation is so rare, the only examples I can think of are possibly the Kibbutz of Israel (plus some anarchist communes) and a few tribal societies.

In ancient to modern Africa it is the fight of the Bantu Africans and the Pygmies. The latter are treated as slaves and servants; victims of that dangerous war of farmer vs hunter. For the Native Americans, the only concern was for the members of your own tribe. Slaves and servants were taken often as spoils of war from surrounding tribes.

Exploitation comes in many forms. It can be forced of soft. Forced subjugation is putting people in chains, keeping them locked in cells, and controlling their live through direct violence. Soft subjugation is establishing a culture which legally doesn’t subjugate, but collectively decides to repress. An example is the fact that, all else being equal, blacks are more often convicted to life in the case of murder compared to whites. Or those with black names are less likely to get a job interview. It is less morally wrong than putting a gun to someones head, sure, but it’s still bad.

Rant

I can care less if the police officer was innocent or guilty. It is as irrelevant to me as the destruction of so many others who are innocent of wrong doings. But the dialogue is relevant. I think it’s great that people are getting riled up and posting stupid things on the internet. I’m happy that people are openly saying racist, self-serving things. I’m happy that liberals pretend to care about race, inhaling the perfume of their own self-righteous crop, only to reinforce a culture of shame and bigotry. I’m happy that conservatives are pretending as if we don’t live in a tiered society. As if, allowing children to be raised in squalor and crime will produce something other than more crime.

I don’t think we can ever fix racism. I think most of the suggestions to ‘fix’ racism are as flawed as section 8 housing is to ‘help’ the poor. Racism starts on an individual level, not a communal one. It starts on a biological tier, the desire to be around other people who look, act, and like the things you do. So long as there is another ‘group’ who is both different looking and enjoys a different culture; we will have racism.  We can get over one of these two differences, but through great difficulty. However, we will never get over that poisonous combination, a difference of physical characteristics and cultural practices. That is a recipe for conflict.

Saying whites all live in harmony is like saying all blacks in Africa are nice to each other. There is anti-Semitism, Irish hatred, French distaste, and more. Turn the page in your European history book and see for yourself the incredible suffering inflicted between white groups. The difference between whites and blacks is, that the whites established the society, initially, to ingratiate themselves. There is always less hatred between the sects of a ruling group, so long as there are other enemies to unite against (immigrants, blacks, minorities). It is a biological drive which pushes us to demonize those in an external group. Most blacks were forced to America, they had a different language, culture, and economic status. They have lost their language but not their desire to formulate a new sub-culture, to feel wanted and not subjugated. It is that form of rebellion, inert in all of us, that dooms the race-free movement from the very start. And it is only possible when the population of that minority is large enough to fight. Which blacks are and native Americans are not.

As long as this remains true, nothing will change.

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21 comments

  1. Well said –> People don’t just have to integrate, they have to behave contrary to their biological desires (of being with people who are ‘similar’ in physical characteristics) and have their everyday actions merged with people with different colors.

    1. Exactly. Step one can be done by force and through the threat of violence (as was done in the south, the initial kick start I agree with; later iterations of college admission or work place racial hiring I do not), step 2 cannot be done through force.

      You can make a school with 50/50 ratio of blacks/whites but that is highly unlikely to integrate social circles, friendships, etc. but this is the most important step of all. While forcing races to share the same public school forces some level of mutual understanding of each other through proximity; it heightens the dialogue of stereotypes.

      So instead of calling the other race a single word which is derogatory and demeaning, children now heighten their insults to “lazy, stupid, selfish.” moving from 1 to 5 on a scale of 1 to 100 is technically progress, but it’s still unacceptable.

      1. It is the strict adherence to homogeneity that impedes education and knowledge-building. When a grade school teacher is tasked to provide a civics lesson, and she decides to separate the classroom into Whites up front and Blacks to the back to teach about the Civil Rights Movement, if she doesn’t preface this as an exercise, nor prepares the children to engage in a sensitive topic, immediately she infuses inclusivity into the White students who never knew of this luxury, and infuses exclusivity into the Black students who are taken aback that this activity was the norm for their parents and ancestors. Because of that adherence to homogeneity, this innocent activity framed by this schoolteacher now creates a chasm in the student population where once never did before, and, as cruel and mean as children are with each other, starts a mini-race war. Simply because the teacher did not detach from his/her conditioning for the good of the community.
        Those who willfully bring children into this world, those who willfully share their teachings with school-aged children, and those who have the capacity to mentor and foster developing young adults all have to first commit to releasing that strict adherence to homogeneity before any objective discussion on race relations can occur.
        By the way, I was the confused kid seated in the middle of the divided classroom with my hand in the air asking, ‘But ma’am, where do *I* go?’

  2. Chomsky noted in an interview that the Kibbutz (after he lived with them) began showing a racist perspective to people on the outside. Perhaps there is no explicit subjugation. But perhaps there is implicit subjugation in their failure to being inclusive.

    Nice essay. Thank you.

    1. At your suggestion I read through that interview, it’s this one right?
      http://www.chomsky.info/books/reader01.htm

      Very interesting indeed. I agree they was no explicit subjugation, but they certainly benefited from the subjugation emanating from the Israeli state, allowing their existence. His comments on the political leanings of the community is also very interesting. Thanks for bringing this up!

      1. Yes. That looks like it. Although i read it as supplemental piece added to ‘on archarsim’ I am trying to decipher myself if man is capable of governing other men without it going south.

        Thanks for the good posts. 🙂

  3. Do we not subjugate for reasons other than color? Racism is a cumulative result of many human emotions. To find a cure or effective treatment for racism would be to control the human mind and how it reacts to various stimuli.

    Racism is an unfortunate but conditioned, social and economic emotion, and one which your post summarizes brilliantly. Until we are all magically turned into the same color or culture racism will always exist.

    It is sad though, when one tragedy like the confrontation between Michael Brown and Officer Wilson triggers racial unrest. Who are we all to expect that the killing of one individual could possibly force a resolution?

    A balanced and fair society is a delusion. The best we can hope for is that sooner or later we will evolve into a society where the human mind instinctively (and biologically) refutes the act of racism itself as an impracticality.

    But it certainly wouldn’t hurt to take baby steps meanwhile. “One small step for man…one giant leap for mankind?”

    Good post!

    1. Certainly we subjugate for a variety of reasons, depending on your definition of subjugation. I think racism can be mitigated, but the solution is cultural integration. And I think it is happening slowly over time.

      Something which I’ve alluded to in my posts and haven’t directly mentioned yet is the need for people to constantly be in contact with other people. Synthesizing cultures, I think, is one of the most important results of the 21st century information age. And I think it is essential. If we remain a separate people with mutually exclusive values; we can never unite in a true sense.

      It isn’t about ‘respect’. Respecting another values means that you accept their interpretation of subjugation. This only works if they agree with you on everything that matters (rights of the individual, placement of gender in society, etc.).

      Certainly if we all upload into a computer than we can bypass our biological short comings, but in the mean time, I encourage people to get into shouting matches.

  4. interesting essay. thank you for writing. when people learn to appreciate ethnic cultures outside of the one to which they belong and also understand and appreciate the complexity of the human race we may be able to move forward. Race/racism is the great conversation…

  5. People who say that Racism is ingrained into a person is something I majorly disagree with as while it may be true in some cases, it is not the reason for all of them but rather it is genetics which are ultimately the main culprit.

    1. Hello there, certainly this is the current, commonly accepted stance toward racism in America. But I argue that once we gravitate toward people like ourselves, we form communities. These communities form unique cultures and these unique cultures form ingroup bias and xenophobia. Accepting of differences is just a polite way of saying I’ll treat you differently (or think of you differently) but only in secret. I won’t try and openly oppress you, just passive aggressively do it.

      Like any fire, racism begins slow, first it’s some offhand remarks about their character, work ethic, family life. Then it grows into accepted stereotypes, then we purpetuate these stereotypes publically through media, friends, and family. Then the stereotypes intensify, people take them as a given and build on the myth, add to the story. We all love good stories, and we hate to hear people talk shit about OUR community, so we listen to the evils of others. Then we hear that all external races are lawless barbarians, looting and rioting as they see fit, and we eat it up. It justifies our way of segregated life, for if we allowed them in our community this is what we would get. Destruction.

      Allowing people to do what they do best (form judgements about outsiders) only will add fuel to the racism fire, in my opinion.

  6. I did not read your entire post. I stoped when you posited that race exists. Back about 1968 a French anthropologist, sorry, I have forgotten his name, studied all the factors that one might find that could prove that humans, as homo sapiens, could be divided into different races. Genetics has supported his conclusions, there are no races. There never was and one can never find any reason to support the idea of different races in homo sapiens. You do a great disservice in perpetuating this ignorance. What we think of as race is more due to the difference in skin color. I think you need to research your subject and modify your analysis.

    1. Hello, I suggest you try to work on your reading comprehension as I state in the very first sentence
      “Racism has existed since competing tribes have existed. ”
      That is, racism, not race. You can google the difference.

      Take care

      1. I know you said racism. Unfortunately racism implies race and always has. If someone is racism rather than a simple bigot, then that individual believes in racial superiority. To ignore that point is to make light of race and racism. I am not trying to start a flame war here, merely pointing out that when we, in the collective sense talk about racism is to talk about race and racial superiority. When we call someone a derogatory name that is bigotry as opposed to being racism. Unfortunately racism has come to imply bigotry is an act of racism. If I call an Irishman Mick, I am being bigoted. ame with derisive terms for Jews. This may be a small point to many, but it is a major distinction when we talk about our relationships with others who unfortunately want to pose the argument as one of race and not bigotry. This is my point. We will never get past the stupidity if all we can do is misframe the arguments. Racism is about race, not bigotry, and if we cannot get pass that difference we will never have the understanding we need to deal with bigotry. Bigotry implies behavior, race and racism imply thought and classification based of perceived differences that do not exist. Again, words have meaning and if we choose to distort arguments for the sake of convenience then we will reap the disention we sow. Race baiting has become an industry, one that pays well for the disaffection of the masses by the few who know how to play upon the emotions of ignorant individuals who have been made to see everything in terms of racism where racism does not exist. I am sixty seven and I have heard all the arguments about the supposed racial differences. There ain’t none, never was, and never will be. If you need further proof, then go to China or Thailand or Burma or some of the other Asian countries and deal with their contempt for you as white man or black man or hispanic. In those countries you are automatically a second class citizen because you aren’t Chinese or Thai, or Burmese. You aren’t as good as them, you are of an inferior race, a barbarian. Al Sharpton does not understand this point. Neither do most of those in the black leadership nor the progressive liberal elite who believe they are above it all. This is the reality in life. You think you know what racism is? You really don’t have a clue. As I said, I am not trying to flame you, only make you aware that what you postulate as racism is little more than bigotry.

  7. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/racism
    You can find the difference here.
    “a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others.”

    I claim that the belief exists. Not that race physically exists. Again, read carefully before calling people bigots.

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