A friend of mine, a conservative, wrote a very thoughtful piece on racism a couple weeks ago. He has been the single look at it. I think what he has written is extremely well thought out. He begins with the question whether racism will ever die. I applaud his effort.

Racism, sexism, fat-ism and short-ism are simply variations of that old cheer “We’re Number One.” It is not simply a problem in the United States but I believe it is part of the human condition, we like to separate into clans or groups. Whether it is Republicans versus Democrats or the Longhorns versus the Sooners, we all like to be part of a group. Teenagers instinctively gravitate to those who accept them. This is exactly why gangs are popular among teenagers. It Is a feeling of acceptance and it is us versus them. It is from within these clans that our ancestors learned to hunt and fish and, most importantly, to survive. Being able to recognize those that mean us harm from those who are part of us was an essential trait for hundreds of thousands of years. We’re not in a fix that evolutionary trait in 50 years or even 100 years.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that racism is a good thing. Instead, I’m saying that racism is a part of us. Curiosity and altruism are also a part of us. This is what gives the human condition so many interesting facets. We can reach out and embrace those that are different from us. This is also essential in our evolution. If we only stayed with our clan, we would’ve become too inbred and died off. Instead, we had to have a balance. Caution and curiosity have to be balanced in such a way that we don’t naïvely walk into strange situations which may result in our death and, on the other hand, we have to have enough curiosity in order to mingle with those who are different than we are in order to learn new techniques of hunting, fishing, preserving food and the like.

So, I don’t think I will be able to twitch my nose and have racism go away. Instead, we have to understand that we need to force ourselves to accept those who are different than we are. We need to suppress our instinct to chastise, to belittle and discriminate against those who are not like us. We are never going to get it perfectly right. In my book, this is okay. In my book if we are all aware of it and we all try to embrace our fellow man, we are on the path to enlightenment. That’s all we can ever hope for.

0 Responses

  1. I've often said that evolution is an inherently racist philosophy for that very reason.

    If racism is an evolved trait, then there is absolutely nothing that can be done about it. You cant change your genetic makeup.

  2. Errington,

    I fondly call myself a non-white pet name that hardly anybody knows. And I like it. I have been made to feel ashamed about what I want out of our society. I am a jazz singer (perhaps my way of relating and breaking out?), and a teacher, and believe it or not, I have been asked, if I am a “good Christian woman.” As if I would sing the blues and go back home to Satan. I point out, at that point, how inappropriate Jesus would think we really were in his name! Frank Sinatra, (as “lookist” as he was), talked a LOT about tolerance. That is what religion should be, that's only one of the words we don't hear enough of. TOLERANCE

    I have also been through the grinder with a teenage girl, with the (as he correctly calls it) “fat-ism.” I call it “look-ism,” and it starts with any comment from the adults from “do I look fat?' to, “Oh, God, look at J-Lo, she's gained weight.” But then, we have this money machine. It tells us to borrow from whom we should be wary of. It tells us to follow, not to lead. But then slaps our hand when we aren't “leaders.”

    There is a group that meets in Asheville sometimes I forget their name, they are posted on AskAsheville

  3. I'm not sure that's true. Yes, it is a trait but with knowledge we can combat those tendencies. If someone grows up in a diverse environment that person will have a better understanding of blacks, whites, etc. If you grow up in a house where women are treated equal then it is strange to you if you see women treated otherwise.

    Thanks for your comments.

  4. Liberals like to have it both ways.

    But the fact is that either we can control our thoughts, attitudes and actions — or we can't.

    If we can control them, then the argument for racism being an evolved trait is garbage.

    If behavior is genetically determined then man has no free will to control his actions or thoughts.

    Liberals tend to want to believe that behavior is genetic. They try to find genetic causes for all sorts of things — violence, homosexuality, alcoholism, racism, etc

    Conservatives understand that each man is responsible for choosing his behavior.

  5. An interesting view from Christopher Grey, on the recent charges that 'tea partiers are racists' :

    “So why do liberals constantly accuse the tea party, as a group, of being racist? The primary reason is that liberals believe government, and plenty of it, is the only way racial minorities can survive in America. They think that without special help from the government, minorities would be unable to get jobs, have health care, feed their kids, go to school, or do much of anything.

    The implication of this liberal view of the world is that racial minorities are unable to take care of themselves at all. That's why government has to take care of them. That's why smaller government, as advocated by the tea party, is racist. It's because smaller government, according to liberals, means minorities will suffer. Obviously, this liberal view is extremely racist as well as not accurate on many levels…….The most racist thing about this liberal view that minorities need big government to survive is that it assumes they are helpless. It assumes they can't succeed on their own. This is the worst kind of racism. These liberal media elites and politicians should be ashamed of themselves for thinking this way, but instead they project their racist attitudes onto the tea party. “

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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