We are ALL racists. Every human being on the planet is BORN a racist.
NO! you’re screaming at me. BULLSHIT, you whacked out bitch. I am not a racist!
Racism is taught, not inherent to our nature is the common wisdom. And while it’s true racism, hate, fear can be taught by parents, community, schools, religious leaders, conservative media, we are all born, to varying degrees, racists.
Mammals, the genome to which Humans belong, are born with an innate FEAR of THE OTHER—anything outside what is familiar to us. And this fear manifests as RACISM, and SEXISM, and NATIONALISM.
“FEAR of THE OTHER” should be the universal definition of racism. And humans manifest our fear in a variety of ways. Some, their fear is so overwhelming, their ignorance so great, it aligns with HATE, and they are violent against THE OTHER.
But sometimes, when our fear is acknowledged, and then examined, it motivates us to learn about THE OTHER. Only then, do we discover that regardless of color, or even gender, we are not so different. We all FEEL the same feelings.
BULLSHIT, you calling me out again. You don’t know how it FEELS to be Black.
You’re right. I’m White. But I know what it FEELS like to be dissed. I grew up overweight in chic L.A. I was the butt of fat jokes through elementary and middle school. I never got asked out on a date until I dropped the weight in my senior year of high school. And while I am now in “good shape,” I will go to my grave feeling fat. I will never fit in to the world where thin, even skinny, is the only way to be “in.” And I know what it FEELS like living forever on the outside wishing to be in.
So what if you were fat, you say. You lost the weight. Skinny or fat, I can’t stop being Asian, or gay.
And I am a woman. While attending college, I built a leaded glass company from the ground up with a male contractor. Our work was on the cover of Architectural Digest, which lead to venture capital interest, and in short order an infusion of quite a bit of cash. During the Christmas party that year, the VC tried to rape me, then fired me because I would not submit. My first job out of college as an art director for a major jewelry manufacturer, the CEO of the company came into my first big meeting and grabbed my breast instead of my outstretched hand. He squeezed my tit like it was an orange and said, “Nice!” I know how it FEELS to be objectified for my body alone. I know how it FEELS to be paid half the salary than the man next to me doing the exact same job.
Being disrespected makes me FEEL valueless, ashamed, awkward, angry, mystified, enraged, scared, small, sad. And all these negative feelings manifest inside each of us when we are dissed. The fact is, Black, White, Fat or not, we’ve all experience each of these feelings independently, or simultaneously, regardless if we are consciously aware of them. Each of us may react to our feelings differently, but we are all intimate with feeling dissed.
Most all of us are also intimate with feeling happy, engaged in a pleasing activity, safe, content in the moment. Our reasons for feeling these things may vary, though not as much as you think. The love of a parent, guardian or friend, the comfort of a home, full bellies from tasty food makes most of us FEEL good. The intensity of our feelings vary wildly from person to person. Some enjoy positive feelings far more often than others born with internal, or into external misfortune. But the feelings of HAPPY and SAD, GOOD and BAD, PROUD and ASHAMED, EMPOWERED and DISSED are common to all of us.
Being alive means FEELING. The enormous, complex range of feelings we get to experience, both body and mind, is exclusively Human. The capacity of our brain power is what separates us from every other living creature on this planet. And while we all have different experiences, feeling the same things provides a natural bridge to unite us, a window for empathy, even camaraderie through our shared feelings.
We are all born racists. You, me, all humans are born with an innate fear of THE OTHER. Once again we are standing on the precipice of change, Equal Rights one of the topics de jour. Perhaps this time, we will get off the politically correct train, admit we are all racists, and choose to fight our innate fear of THE OTHER. We’ll acknowledge the benefits of integration and globalization as an opportunity to learn from the best of each other. We’ll not only believe in, but practice equal rights.
Stand up, or take a knee, but SPEAK OUT against hate, and educate the ignorant that there really are no substantive differences between us—not color, not gender, not religious or sexual preference, because we humans all FEEL the same feelings.