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Sunday, September 30, 2007

The absurdity of racism

People are people, where ever you go. The one common thing about people is that EVERYONE is afraid of what they do not know.

I can understand when one race of people met another many centuries ago that, superficially, looked different from one another, they feared what they did not know, and that fear manifested itself as racism.

But why does racism still exist today?

We KNOW that physiologically, every human being on the planet is the same. If that were not true, there could be no breeding between the peoples. There isn't even any different colours! It is the same protein that gives anyone their skin colour, and some peoples just have more of that protein than others. It's an adaptation to climate, which is why people with light pigment tan when exposed to too much sunlight. We are all shades of the same colour.

So that eliminates fear, and the unknown. Whats left?

I think the reason is peoples tendancies towards cognative dissonance. What is cognative dissonance? It's one of Dilbert creators Scott Adams favorite subjects on his blogs ( As i'm an avid reader of his blogs, it got me thinking.

Cognative dissonance is defined by wikie in the following:

Cognitive dissonance is a psychological term describing the uncomfortable tension that may result from having two conflicting thoughts at the same time, or from engaging in behavior that conflicts with one's beliefs, or from experiencing apparently conflicting phenomena.

In simple terms, it can be the filtering of information that conflicts with what you already believe, in an effort to ignore that information and reinforce your beliefs

It's very simple. As children, you pick up your beliefs and ideals from your parents. Children are very maleable and tend to pick up their parents beliefs, whether they try to enforce them or not. It could be something as direct as religious indoctrination, or something as innocous as bad racial slurs when you've had a beer too many.

If you fundamentally believe that somebody is a lessor person because of the colour of their skin, no rational or logical explanation will convince you otherwise, because of cognative dissonance. If you believe that black people are more likely to steal and an independant consulting firm does a comprehensive study proving that is not the case, you'll still check for your wallet around black people.

If you believe all jewish people are tightwads and the guy that lends you money or feeds you when you're hungry is jewish, you'll still make stupid tightwad jewish jokes. It's congnative dissonance.

So then, racism is the problem of a mindset passed down from generation to generation. Little kids and babies don't care about the colour of their friends. They may be curious, but there is no hatred and stereotyping until they are older and their parents words sink in.

And let's make one thing perfectly clear for those who may be forming an opinion. EVERYBODY is and or can be a perpritrator of racism. Any one ethnic population that starts forming clubs of exclusivity in the guise of protecting themselves from racism are as guilty as any other, and almost always become or already are racist to the perpetrators of racism, real or imagined.

Drop the shit. Stop looking at a person for the colour of his skin, his beliefs, or his nationality. PEOPLE are PEOPLE no matter what, and it's time we ALL started treating people as human beings.

Everybody savvy?

0 keen observations: