What True Racism Really Is

CHicagotj.org race

There have been multiple waves or eras of Social Equality Recognition in what would eventually become known as the United States, in regards to individuals of African descent.

  • The first wave was the introduction of African slaves to the British colonies.
  • The second wave was the period of unrest that encompassed the American Civil War.
  • The third wave rolled in with the Civil Rights era of the 1960’s and 70’s.

Now, speculations regarding the year 2017 that began as a curiosity into what is usually a normal, boring passing of one year into the next, have become the harbingers of the next era. Welcome to the 4th Awakening of Social Equality Recognition.

The sides are being drawn and redrawn every single day.


There are those who agree with Activist Jesse Williams, and see these times as a revolution for societal and functional changes in the way “white” people and “black” people relate, particularly in how law enforcement deals with blacks. They call for renewed discourse and are led by police representatives and rappers alike.

There are those who view events such as the Dallas shooting as an inevitable boiling over of suppressed fury over expressed oppression, even going as far as calling the shooter a martyr. They proclaim by upraised fist, along with a growing number of celebrities, personalities and athletes, that black lives matter just as much as any other lives.
Then there are those, seemingly in response to the perceived, reverse marginalization created by BLM, who counter that no, in fact BLM is simply more hate speech and that the only just stance is one that recognizes the right to liberty, justice and happiness to everyone. All lives, they argue, truly matter.
There are no shortages of apologists and pundits for all positions. However, no matter how brilliant and eloquent and sophisticated an argument may be, this is actually a case for the Emperor’s clothes, a that is a case which is inherently indefensible.
The tale by Don Juan Manuel (the author from which Hans Christian Anderson derived his inspiration) is an old and familiar parable:

A vain Emperor who cares about nothing except wearing and displaying clothes hires two weavers who promise him the finest, best suit of clothes from a fabric invisible to anyone who is unfit for his position or “hopelessly stupid”. The Emperor’s ministers cannot see the clothes themselves, but pretend that they can for fear of appearing unfit for their positions and the Emperor does the same. Finally the weavers report that the suit is finished, they mime dressing him and the Emperor marches in procession before his subjects. The townsfolk play along with the pretense, not wanting to appear unfit for their positions or stupid. Then a child in the crowd, too young to understand the desirability of keeping up the pretense, blurts out that the Emperor is wearing nothing at all and the cry is taken up by others. The Emperor suspects the assertion is true, but continues the procession.

The syllogisms are glaring. The Emperor is completely self-centered, consumed with only his esteem and feelings of self. Those around him know this, but refuse to resist his will because of the status that the Emperor gives them. Even when the jig is blown, and the truth revealed, the Emperor ignores the blunt reality, and persists in his self delusion. He does this because he needs to.

Don’t miss that. We’ll come back to this story in a few.

I know this steak isn’t real, but….ahh..never-mind.
One of the pioneering academics driving our understanding of human behavior and needs was American Psychologist Abraham Maslow.  Maslow, rejecting both the Conditioning (behaviorism) theory of Psychology and Freud’s psychoanalysis as being too mechanical and limiting, proposed his original Humanism; a person-centered Hierarchy of Needs. In this gradiated structure, every “need” must be fulfilled in order to progress to the next stage of human potential and happiness. Take note of levels two through five:
Safety, love/belonging and esteem are universal and fiercely powerful motivations for humans. Not only will most people work towards fulling these needs, they will do whatever it takes to fulfill these needs. We need to feel safe, fit in and belong, and we need our esteem to be validated. 
Back to the story about the Emperor, the townsfolk and the minsters  needed to fit in, to feel safe and to belong, so they self-formed a group: Those who can see the Emperors clothes. The child, ironically too young to understand this nonsensical grouping, self identifies as a member of the group:  Those who see that the Emperor is naked. Because the child has not been acculturated “to understand the desirability of keeping up the pretense”, the child does not find the identification with the first group of people to be desirable.
It is the grandest of all lies. The clothes simply do not exist. They are a construct, a construct that the Emperor and townsfolk went along with because they needed to. You see, we are the ministers and the townsfolk. The emperor is our ego.
And the clothing that we refuse to acknowledge as non-existent…is racism.

Racism is an psychological narcotic that inebriates the social conscious of its users, ever increasing its users dependency and absolute lust for it

Notwithstanding the ludicrousness of Nazi Eugenics, the science behind race is rock solid. And by rock solid, that is to say that there is no science. As Bill Nye has said:

“If a Papua New Guinean hooks up with a Swedish person all you get is a human.  There’s no new thing you’re going to get. You just get a human. Japanese woman jumping the African guy, all you get is a human. They’re all humans. So this is a lesson to be learned. There really is, for humankind there’s really no such thing as race. There’s different tribes but not different races. We’re all one species.”

Our differences as humans are expressed genetically as phenotypic expressions of genes, such as physical characteristics. But race as a phenotypic expression does not exist. Race only exists as a social construct. All humans are 99.5% similar in their DNA. All humans are the color brown, just with different shades of melanin. All humans can interbreed. Look long enough and you will find a member of any “race” that looks just like someone from any other “race”. Our only differences as humans are differences in gene allele frequencies. Children don’t even know what racism is until they are taught it.

So what differences can we identify that may constitute race? Like the Emperor who realized he was without clothing, we know that all humans are the same biologically and genetically. Yet we persist in recognizing this thing called race, much as the emperor knowingly proceeded with the procession in stark nakedness.

When people say race, they are unknowingly referring to culture, and culture can be assimilated or rejected by any person for any reason. Humans that self-identify as blacks will call another such person a “sell-out” or an “UncleTom” if that person doesn’t accept the music, language and affiliations that has been accepted as representing “genuine blackness”. But if that person hits the necessary qualifiers to be considered “of the black race” (the person is descended from African slaves), why isn’t that person accepted as being black?

In the same vein, the concept of “that one cool white person” makes no sense if we are not referring to culture, but if in fact we are referring to race. What makes a “white person” cooler than other “white people”? Their “race” hasn’t changed; they are still “racially white”. It is when the person is perceived to have assimilated a cool culture (more than likely referring to “black culture”) that suddenly they are called, “that one cool white person”. There is no race. There is only culture and how people self-identify in groups…in tribes.

What then is racism?

True racism is the persistent, passed-down, perpetuation of hypocrisy; a gross short-circuiting of Maslow’s hierarchy. Like the Emperor and his townsfolk, we gravitate towards the idea of race because it is a quick fix towards fulfilling the needs to feel safe, belong and feel good about ourselves. The concept of racism is a psychological narcotic that inebriates the social conscious of its users, ever increasing its user’s dependency and absolute lust for it. It is a virus that spreads via the open sores of ignorance, seeping down deep into generation after generation.

Racism: Not in the DNA

It “feels good” for some people to put down other people, based on the failure to meet certain group and tribal norms and expectations. It feeds that insatiable hunger of the Maslow level 4 Esteem. This dynamic even exists among members of the same group, as when “light skinned” black people are compared to “dark skinned” black people.

But racism is built upon a fictitious idea, and a bad premise.

Racism is an imaginary term used to disguise the very real concept of classism, which is economic and capitalistic, not biological and social. It is Economic Classism that is our enemy. It is corrupt power, and the prejudice and bigotry that corrupt power creates, that we must resist and fight against. Instead of finding our sense of safety, love and belonging in our membership in a particular “race”, we ought to find it in our incredible similarities as humans and use those similarities as a framework to create economic empowerment and equality.

It is the unequal distribution of power, among all people, that creates disadvantages. The victims of this unequal distribution of power, suffer because they lack power. Power is economic. When all people have equal access to the economic power they need, the idea of “racism” will be a socially moot point. Then it will be called “Jordanism” and “Oprahism”. They are both considered racially black, but at the economic level they operate at, they are not affected by the racism we hear decried on Twitter and at rallies.

That..is an entirely new set of problems.