Racism

Differences of opinion.


 

Racism is the belief that one's race is superior to another race (i.e. 'white supremacy'). Often lumped in with racism is the belief that a culture can be superior to another culture.



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Culture is how we view the world. It is essentially a generally agreed upon opinion by a group of people. These groups of people are typically located in a similar geographic area.


Race is a broad term used specifically to describe appearance of a person that generally comes from a similar geographic region. Racism usually has to do with culture and less to do with appearance. Rarely does someone choose to be racist based solely on physical appearance. They usually have some reasoning to base their racist perspective. This is where it starts to be about culture and less about racial appearance. Culture gets into the nitty-gritty of racism.


Culture and race are human constructs. Meaning, we humans made-up the idea of race and culture to serve some functional purpose. Functionally, they create categories to lump people together based on some criteria of likeness and difference. This is not to suggest that there are no differences between these various categories. There most certainly are.


Someone from an Asian based culture is more likely to care about how they represent their family name as opposed to someone from a Euro-American based culture. In many Asian cultures this is something of higher value or concern. A Euro-American from Canada may be less concerned about the family name after a decade of alcoholism, joblessness, and incrimination. There are general differences here. These differences are based on opinion.


Because race and culture are human constructs, this does not mean there are no differences.


Things don't start to get racist until someone believes that their opinion is superior to others. This belief is subtle but it has massive implications to our mental state. When we encounter something we have predetermined as inferior to us, we assume a righteousness. Righteousness, as in we assume we are right or more correct before a difference is even established.


A righteous mentality also assumes a lack of ignorance by default. Approaching life with the assumption that we are right and have little to learn, breeds great ignorance.


If we assume we have little to learn then we will learn little.


This mentality is embedded in the belief of superiority. We may not actually be conscious of this internal narrative in our mind. However, it is always there, whether we know it or not.


What is this ignorance? It is the ignorance of a group of people. If we believe we have little to learn from them, then we will learn little from them. In actuality, we have volumes to learn from them. Racism has been alive for generations and this ignorance is passed down.


Children are naive to racism but learn it from their parents. Even if the parents don't categorize themselves as racist, they may still harbor the belief that their opinion is superior to another group of people. This belief can be unconsciously passed on to their children.


Little is learned from a group of people, generation after generation. The ignorance becomes so vast, that neither group can really understand each other.


Differences of opinion.


This is what we are dealing with. Having a difference of opinion is not new. We all have opinions and we are bound to have some of them differ.


However, when we believe that we are superior to someone else based on our opinion about something, we are setting ourselves up for disaster. We are likely to ignore the other person more. We are far more likely to be disrespectful towards them. We are far more likely to take advantage of them through lying, manipulation, and or sabotage. We are far more likely to dehumanize them and treat them in inhumane ways.


Through the generations, there is a growing fear between the groups. Yes, both become afraid of the other. The oppressor is afraid the other will find a way to oppress them. The oppressed is afraid more oppression is on its way. They get locked in this cycle of fear filled with oceans of ignorance between them. Neither group seems to be able to sort out the issue, our current world predicament.


The human population has outgrown the Earth. There is less to go around. The believers of superiority are being increasingly challenged on their self-proclaimed stature. Racially charged protests are on the rise.


If you consciously want to be racist, know that this is your opinion and it is not shared by everyone. If you are unconsciously racist, know that your opinions are not always share by others. Whatever your opinion is, know that it may not be shared by everyone.


A righteous mentality also assumes that everyone wants to be like us and our opinions. This is rarely a shared opinion from the other group and an outrageous assumption. If they truly wanted to be like us, they would've done so a long time ago. Most have no interest in this.


*Dr. Ignacio grew up in Chile and traveled the country providing medicine in remote villages. Dr. Ignacio was told by his parents that his ancestry included the Aymara. The Aymara was one of the indigenous tribes in Chile and Ignacio knew nothing about them.


Young Ignacio wanted to learn about his Aymara culture. His parents didn't seem to know much about it. So Ignacio visited a near-by indigenous community. They were not from the Aymara tribe but this was the best he could do at 13 years-old.


Ignacio's parents were not too excited about this but they knew they couldn't stop him. When he set his mind on something, he could not be stopped. And he didn't stop. He made friends and then was traditionally adopted into an indigenous family. He has spent the rest of his life learning from them. Dr. Ignacio is now in his 40's.


All this time spent with them shifted his perspective of the world. Predominantly, Ignacio's ancestry was Portuguese and his skin was very white in appearance. When he attended college and medical school in Chile, he experienced something he had never experienced before...racism.


Ignacio wrote his papers from the cultural perspective of someone from an indigenous tribe in Chile. Professors criticized his perspective and his grades suffered for it. Ignacio even supported his perspective with the scientific literature. This didn't seem to matter and his grades still suffered. He even confronted some of the professors asking them how he can improve his grades. Many of their deductions were not substantiated and he left more confused.


Ignacio wanted to meld contemporary medicine with the healing philosophies of the indigenous people of Chile. He wanted to bring their medicine to the greater public. He knew the greater Chilean community would benefit from their healing practices. Unfortunately, his professors were not as enthusiastic about the idea. They believed their approach (opinion) to medicine was superior. They didn't want to hear of another approach to healing. They assumed it was wrong anyways; so they ignored him.


Ignacio was white in appearance but he had the cultural perspective of an indigenous man. His parents had never experienced racism and had no way to be able to teach him how to deal with it.


Ignacio created quite a stir among faculty as he openly criticized them of their racism. Those that have endured racism all their life know that this approach is rarely a good idea. They know that this only gets the oppressors more fearful and they are more inclined to act in aggressive and irrational ways.


Ignacio realized that they were not listening and the matter was swept-under-the-rug. Ignacio was reprimanded and told he should take this up directly with each professor rather than bringing matters out in public. Ignacio began to fume with rage as this was exactly what he did in the first place. He did meet with a couple of these professors seeking substantiation for their deductions on his assignments. He was ignored and the unsubstantiated deductions continued.


Frustrated, Ignacio dropped his complaints and endured the continued racism. "I'm going to pick my battles," he thought. Some professors insinuated that they could have him kicked out or at least fail him in their class. Ignacio wasn't poor but relocating to the next nearest medical school wasn't a financial option. Getting expelled from one school also wasn't going to look good on an application to another school.


Whenever Dr. Ignacio found himself under someone's power, be it a teacher, a boss, or some authoritative figure; he knew he was susceptible to their racism. And he encountered it, often.


Because of his white appearance, Dr. Ignacio experienced just a fragment of the typical racism a person of color might endure. However, because he reached across an ocean of ignorance and learned about an indigenous culture on a deep level, his personal culture shifted. Ignacio sees the world differently than his parents, the indigenous culture he was adopted in, and the Aymara. His cultural perspective is unique and bound to have several differences with the people around him. His opinion is going to differ and it is going to differ often.


What keeps Dr. Ignacio from being racist is his belief that he is not superior. However, he had to learn that his opinion (culture) was not inferior either. After graduating, Ignacio spent lots of time reestablishing a sense of pride in his diverse cultural background. It is easy for the oppressed to assume an inferiority.


Dr. Ignacio learned that his opinion was rarely going to be shared by others. His unique culturally derived opinions were never to be forced down-someone's-throat. His experience of racism has taught him that this is highly inappropriate.


We all have opinions that vary from one another. These opinions guide us in our life and they often change with time. Our opinions are derived from the cultural values we adhere to. We may not see them as cultural but rest-assured, they are derived from our culture. Everyone comes from a culture, including the oppressors.


The diversity of opinions around the world provide balance. The diversity of our opinions makes US as a whole stronger. When we impose our opinion onto someone else, we are attempting to weaken this diversity. Usually this imposition only solidifies the other's opinion. It also creates hurt, sickness, and ultimately death.


Acceptance.


Unconditional love requires acceptance. Accepting another's opinion as their guiding force, is ridiculously easy. All we have to do is see them as an equal human being with the same basic rights as we do to our own opinions.


It is not about who's right and who's wrong.


One opinion does not work for everyone. One race's opinion does not work for every race. One culture's opinion does not work for every culture.


From the perspective of Oneness, racism is absurd, obnoxious, and fully based on personal fears. Acting from fear breeds chaos and violence. Acting from Oneness breeds understanding and peace. Rejecting someone because of their opinion is a rejection of self. We will experience rejection in life again and again, if we do not learn this.


Unconditional acceptance.


Recognize that we may have an opinion that is not readily accepted by others is the first step. We can also be certain that our opinion is largely shaped by the culture we adhere to. This opinion is not superior or inferior to others. The imposition of our opinion onto someone else, is likely going to have tones of racism...even if they are part of the same race.


 

*Names, places, and gender have been altered to respect, protect identity, and confidentiality.