After I posted a copy of my initial blog on Facebook, I had a thought provoking discussion with one of my friends Brian W. (if you read this, thank you, my brother!)
For those who missed it, the content of my previous blog was racism and its relation to fears. The Universe sometimes acts in mysterious ways, and while I am attempting to recover it, the blog text from my original efforts is gone from there now. I thought it was a decent first effort, but time will tell if it ever reappears into my existence.
At any rate, this conversation entailed discussion about a study of infants which found they were drawn to those with similar physical traits, even over the (good or bad) behaviors of the other infants. They described the phenomenon as “in-group bias.” I thought it was quite an interesting study. The article was titled “Babies Show Racial Bias” by the Telegraph.
As I lay in deep thought this morning, I was considering both the study’s conclusion (and my friend’s post) of an apparently internal draw to unite (like tribes, which in turn separates) and how that conclusion compared to the point in my blog — which was inferring that racial divide is another social separation which serves no need to exist.
What we forget is that we already belong to a group larger than ourselves, especially larger than just the color of our skin, or even where we were born, and that group is the Human Race. Some believe that even that distinction or label as humans creates an unnecessary separation from the Universe. I think that when we can admit that our belonging to the group of humans is enough, the world will become a much better place.
When we can finally accept that racism and separatism are all simply creations of mankind, then we can start to ask, “Why? Why do we have so much division among us?” or “Who is creating it?”
To answer why, let’s look at where we learn it. The divisions are in the news all the time, it seems.
On the news we are seeing fearful stories about humans from the Middle East, humans from Russia, humans from North Korea, etc., all of whom are endangering humans in the USA. Then we have humans from Washington DC, threatening to wipe millions of humans off of the earth because of button envy from a bully man-child. The news has even more fearful stories about how the black humans and the white humans can’t get along, and some of the black ones have even insulted a flag! There are news stories about how the brown humans are coming across some imaginary line in the ground with the primary purpose of spreading crime, and even worse than crime….poverty! The only way the humans from the north side of the imaginary planetary-line can now survive is to pay to have a wall built! It’s not just in the news, but it’s in the television shows and the movies too.
Probably the most visible, yet least questioned separations are in the quality of life between those with wealth and those without. Does a poor man really have a different difficulty if he is black or white? Does the color of the man’s skin change how much food he needs or how much comfort he deserves? I think not.
As you can see, if you really stop and think about it, every one of these separations is created by us. (I have theories as to how that is being helped, but that’s not the focus of this forum.) I have thought about this myself. I urge you to do the same.
None of us are all that different. Folks in North Korea, folks in the Middle East, just like the folks in the U.S., are NOT the everyone as depicted on the news. Most of the humans from all those other places (as well as ours) have mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters. Most of them, just like us, are just trying to find a way to survive on this place and to have a little fun once in a while as we take care of those we love. They are also, just like us, trying to stand up for the truths that they believe. Some of them are, or probably know someone, who serves in their version of the military for whatever reason, just as many of us have served ourselves, or know people who did. They are trying to make right from the wrongs that they have seen.
Once we can recognize that all of these separations are all unnecessarily created by ourselves, then maybe we can start to ask the more important questions: Why are they there? What can we do about it?
As to the why, let me go back to the original blog post, and Lyndon B. Johnson’s (reported) quote again, “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”
Again, as with any of my writing, if there is something in my words that strikes a thought in your head, please do us all a favor, and pause to see where that thought goes. I write to provoke your own thoughts, and while those can be fleeting, my words will wait. Hopefully, it’ll be there waiting for you when you return! (unless I have more lessons to learn). But, please, take a moment to think of who said that quote above and what it means. Look it up, if you’d like. I had to as well.
The important part here is, “What can we do about it?”
The answer is simple, yet understanding that it is simple is difficult for some people, but that’s why I’m trying to do what I am doing. We need to learn to live without fear!
Racism is just yet another mask of fear. Fear of being different, fear of not knowing, fear of not understanding. All fears are memory based.
Maybe someone with a cloud of racism is dealing with unresolved experiences from their past. Maybe someone of a different color hurt them or threatened them, or someone they loved. Maybe one of their parents had been hurt or threatened by someone of a different color, and so in turn they were also raised with that fear.
I will admit that especially in my youth, even I was ignorant. Growing up in pretty rural areas kept me from much diversification. I don’t remember a lot of prejudice in my home growing up (there was in the areas where we lived but I don’t remember much in the home), but I distinctly remember my step-father questioning why I was listening to “nigger music” in his house one time. Then in high school, I only remember one black kid, and my most vivid memory of him, is him hitting me in the face. So yes, I left home with some pre-conditioning of my beliefs.
It wasn’t until basic training when I finally got to meet some folks from around the world. Some pretty amazing young men were in there with me! My first battle-buddy (bunk mate) was a short black dude from Indiana, if I remember right. I remember him fondly, but it was Basic, so it’s not like there was a ton of social time.
After basic was AIT (Advanced Individual Training, I believe). There, my roommate was a great guy from Chicago named Charles Spencer, Jr. He was one of the first black men that I really got a chance to get to know, and let me tell you, I remember him as a hell of a guy! (As a side-note, I’ve been trying to get a hold of the brother, so Charles, if you read this, give me a call.)
Even after meeting some fine young men who showed to me that color didn’t define character, I’ll admit that I still carried some of my own fears for quite a while. I think I hid them well, but it was only over time that my fears went away, and my moral character strengthened.
I bring up my mistakes, because I realize that by posting my thoughts in public, I am also subjecting myself to others’ opinions. Recognizing that risk, I feel better addressing my own mistakes rather than cause someone to feel the need to say, “But, Jack, remember when you….?”
I have made my fair share of mistakes in my life, just as I assume you probably have, too. We are all the same in our own unique ways. Unfortunately, dealing with other humans when it comes to race is no exception for me, and I made mistakes there as well. I hope I have made right to any people that I might have harmed, but those are mistakes that I do not ever intend to make again. I have hopefully learned all my lessons there.
But, my experience is what brings me back to the point of this article.
When we actually stop to really consider what racism is, and we take the feelings and memories out of the discussion, we can start to see it for what it is. Racism is a huge friggen waste of time! Don’t we all have more important things in our lives to focus our energy on, besides anger and fear?
When we search for the truth, we learn. When we learn, we understand. When we understand, we are less afraid. When we are less afraid, we can let more love come through. When all that happens, my friends, life becomes a beautiful journey!
Live without fear! Search for the truth! Living Positive Now!! ~ The secrets to a happy life!!
God bless ~ Jack Talcott