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A typical “conversation about racism”
on Facebook. ©Vic on Flickr

This post was triggered by a “conversation” I had on Facebook over a video about racism.

The video stated that racism is a spectrum and it’s based on nurture and “social contact” more than anything else. The basic thesis – more diversity equals less racism. Period.
 
 

More diversity = less racism.

 
 
Then of course, you get the angry white guy who claims that it’s the video that is actually racist, but he’s NOT racist and the narrator is an arrogant asshole telling other races how racist they are.

Yes. Seriously. A white guy said these things.

Here’s the video – it’s literally one of the most benign and welcoming videos around white privilege and racism that I’ve watched yet.

…but it seems there will always be angry white guys.

Who AREN’T racist.
 

 

Stop justifying emotional reactions

Our triggered emotional responses are fine… when we own them for what they are – emotional resistance to information we do not want to hear.

The white guy I was talking to was angry.

He had a very emotional reaction; he denied the premise of the video, denied that he as a white person was racist, attacked the narrator directly and accused the video and narrator themselves of being the actual racists.

Reverse racisim! The secret plot against white people.

WTF.

All angry white man’s arguments and “reasons” were just logical attempts at rationalizing why his own triggered feelings were justified – about something other than a black man calling him a racist.

Angry white guy took being called racist super personal and defended against it.

…and that’s the insidious thing about racism – no one person is too blame. (Unless you are purposely acting in a racist and hateful way – then you are to blame.)

Racism can’t be taken personally. It’s fundamentally NOT personal.

Racism’s power comes from it’s institutionalization in every fabric of our society. It is absorbed into our world view without critical thought and it’s structures and power dynamics play out in all aspects of our lives.

That’s not personal.
 
 

It’s not personal.

 
 

What IS personal is our emotional reaction to being called out on how we benefit from racism as white people. What IS personal is our emotional reaction when discussing racism.

Most people – especially those that want to cry reverse racism on the internet, will NEVER accept responsibility for our emotional reaction to a POC calling us racist.

The refusal to be introspective about our emotion triggers is just as bad as being a racist because it’s still a refusal to look deeper at unconscious racist thoughts that are lingering – no matter how progressive we think we are.
 
 

Context Matters. Race Matters.

The most diverse cities in the world.

When we’re talking about race, context matters. When we’re talking about race – race matters, background and environment matters.

How can it NOT??

I’ve had these stupid conversations with many white people on Facebook and I always check context.

I always research racial demographics of where these people live – because context matters.

I’ve never had conversations around reverse racism with white people from Chicago or New York, or LA or Montreal or London.

I’ve never had to talk about racism with white people who have lived experiences of racial diversity. NEVER.

NEVER.

Invariably, the white people that want to claim reverse racism, and “I’m not racist” are white people that have been born, raised and currently live in towns of over 90% white people.
 
 

90% white = probably racist.

 
 
Even worse though is that they’re likely to deny their own racism – thus shutting down the whole conversation or sidetracking it to avoid talking about their own discomfort at being called racist.

This angry white guy thought my checking demographics was weird and even creepy. I think he was just mad because I can point directly to how

“sigh”

his experience of life was exactly the point in the video was trying to illustrate; the lack of diversity in our lives fosters racism.

Shit, the lack of diversity in the middle of America elected Trump.

Ethnic and cultural homogeneity voted Trump into office. Ethnic and cultural homogeneity gives rise to an ignorance and bias that are just not possible in a life lived daily in ethnic and cultural diversity.
 
 

Diversity is always better.

Always.

ALWAYS.

On Facebook I met a woman named Lisa (not her real name), who has taught me a lot about southern white Christians and how their beliefs and insularity opened the door for Trump’s election.

To understand, I had to imagine a life different from my own.

I had to imagine a life where everyone in my town was white and Christian. Everyone looked liked me, lived like me and believed what the authorities at school, church, city and home taught about what was good and normal and righteous.

Jesus Camp 2006.

Imagine how hard it would be to go against that? Imagine how anyone who doesn’t believe in the false worth and superiority of their particular form of white christianity would have to leave town in order to live their beliefs.

There is no one in southern white christian towns rallying a revolution calling for diversity.

If you yearn for freedom and diversity – you leave.

Lisa was a southern white Christian who has since moved to a lived experience of diversity. Knowing both, she agrees – diversity is better.

Diversity IS better.

Diversity is better than any tribal affiliation of which you can think.

Tribal mentality kept us alive for a long time – but it’s no longer the way forward.

If we continue to divide ourselves by ethnic, cultural, religious &/or any affiliation that fragments humanity into pieces as opposed to uniting us under a common earth/humanity heritage – it WILL eventually kill us.

The “other” as enemy. The “other” as stranger. The “other” as danger is over.

There is no other. There is no them.
 
 

There is only us.

 
 
A lived experience of ethnic diversity is the foundation for living a life of global harmony and peace. Living an experience of ethnic and cultural diversity is our only peaceful future.

Ethnic diversity is better. Ethnic diversity is the future. Living in ethnic diversity creates an experience of humanity that is just not possible to comprehend unless you live it.
 

 

The one question

Are people responsible for their own ignorance?

This is the one question I keep asking because I’m not sure how to answer it.

We can’t help where we’re born. We can’t help the homogeneity or diversity of the towns we are raised in.

The most diverse cities in the US.

We can’t help the messages we are taught to believe by the authorities in our lives; parents, teachers, civic and religious leaders – together they are a powerful delivery method of a homogeneous world view.

If we can’t help that – how are we responsible for our own ignorance?

Stephanie says yes. Yes, we are responsible for our own ignorance.

She says anything else is laziness and a lack of participation in the world.

North America isn’t the middle of the rain forest.

There is no excuse for not being educated about the people who live in our own country. Adhering blindly to the homogeneous world view that we were fed growing up is not even trying to grow and evolve.

I have to agree.

Diversity is what peace on Earth looks like.

It’s harder.

It takes more patience, understanding and communication – but it’s worth it.

It’s the only future that is possible on the Earth.

If you’re white and your town is white – seek diversity.

If you’re brown and your town is brown – seek diversity.

If you’re religious and your whole town is the same religion – seek diversity.

If we want to be a member of Earth and the future – we need to seek diversity in all that we do.

 
 

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