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I am a Racist – Live with it!

By Nader Galil

“My name is Nader and I am a racist*!” (think alcoholics anonymous)!

I am also a cheat, a liar, I’m selfish and I’m a hypocrite. These are essentially ordinary human traits that lay within us all to varying degrees. Although we’re inaccurately taught to see these as defining personality characteristics, it is important to recognise these as behavioural “states” that reveal themselves depending on an individual’s personal and/or social circumstances. We are quick to generalise and label when in reality it is often an individual’s own subjective view of an encounter or exchange with another.

“Until a problem is recognised and defined it cannot be corrected to bring about (positive) change”

Behavioural psychology acknowledges that a child will form over 80% of their worldview by the age of 8, and that this worldview directly corresponds to the same neurological pathways in adult decision making. For example, selfishness (or self-righteousness) in adults is related to a child’s sense of entitlement, and lying (generally) can be related to our survival instinct – to create a positive outcome like avoiding a fight, getting out of trouble or gaining some sort of advantage. These behaviours become part of our “default” attitudes as they are automatic responses from the subconscious mind.

From a behavioural perspective, racism works exactly the same way; the difference is that it enters the subconscious chronologically at a later stage (as does sexism, homophobism and other learnt behaviours). The attitude is a direct a result of environment, and is reinforced covertly through social conditioning, education, media, etc. It resides with the subconscious and is triggered by external circumstances that an individual is confronted with.

So, what is racism and why is it so obvious to some and not so to others?

The word “Racism” is a highly subjective term that can be easier understood when its mechanism is broken down into two general behavioural forms – Explicit and Implicit.

Explicit racism is the devil you know. It refers to the fringe of society who are proud of their disposition and openly express their superiority over other races, creeds and cultures. Their psychology and worldview is obvious and thankfully only make up the fringe of society. These proud racists are generally contained and don’t pose a massive threat to the balance of social tolerance.

Implicit racism is the devil we don’t know and fundamentally affects society at large. On the surface, it seems less sinister but is actually far more dangerous as it is deeply rooted in the subconscious and is generally unrecognisable. Its true danger lies in the way that it is quickly and easily radicalised into its explicit form and provides a clear path for figures like Donald Trump and Pauline Hanson who use their xenophobic rhetoric to penetrate the mainstream. If anything positive can be taken from the US election result, it is the realisation that racism is at least tolerated en masse by half of the greatest power in the world. Paradoxically, most Trump supporters would not identify themselves as racists and would be outraged at the accusation of being called such.

As with so many social ills, we are intent on addressing racism at its “effect” stage without even considering why it actually exists in the first place. We often hear that “Education is the key,” and although there is merit in the statement, its application is fatally flawed as it is the type and timing of the education that is symptomatic of the problem. Movements like ‘Black Lives Matter’ and FIFA’s “RESPECT” campaign can bring the issue front of mind (the conscious), but racism is embedded at the back (the subconscious) so we are effectively ‘shooting at the wrong target’! In the end, they prove futile as they do not address these deeply harboured values and beliefs at the core level.

Racism can be more accurately defined as an “Unconscious Bias” as Euro-centrism is anchored in our subconscious…

Society is taught that it is exclusively Europeans that have contributed anything significant to the world; that all the technologies, freedoms and comforts that we enjoy today are a result of European initiatives and ingenuity. This attitude is the breeding ground for this implicit, subconscial form of racism which leads to the misconception that the European mind is superior to any other race.

When we add the lack of Indigenous appreciation and education in European settled lands, our self-righteous attitude becomes that of: “This is our God given right to the land – the natives weren’t doing anything before we arrived – We developed and civilised this country and put it on the map! It is us who made this country great!”

A great example of our Euro-centric education is when we refer to a time from the 6th until the 14th centuries as the “Dark and Middle Ages” – where apparently, nothing happened in the world! When Europe was stagnated, uncivilised and barbaric, very few know that this was actually a “Golden Age” for both the Islamic and Chinese worlds. The modern world as we know it was born in this time. The Islamic world is directly credited for bringing about ‘The Renaissance’ and hauling Europe out of its Medieval quagmire.

This was a time when the Islamic and Arab world established highly advanced and intellectual societies; where European scholars and academics flocked to places like Baghdad and Córdoba to learn medicine, the sciences, philosophy and every other discipline taught at universities today. We enjoy turning on our computers because of a Persian mathematician named Al-Khwārizmī’s discovery of the algorithm! The Chinese also made many advances in farming, nautical equipment, warfare, the printing press, paper currency and precise time keepers.

Euro-centrism extends it hand to religion as well. How else can we believe that the man, born of the Arab Semitic tribe in Bethlehem, has white skin, straight blonde hair and blue eyes?

Question: Would racism even be possible in Christian lands if Jesus was portrayed as a Semitic man (i.e. Dark skin, dark curly hair and dark eyes)?

Euro-centrism teaches an overwhelming importance on Europe and distorts historical facts to suit European ideals. This supports the belief that European lives are valued over all others and is desensitised en masse to atrocities inflicted upon non-Europeans. This was clearly demonstrated in November 2015, when millions of Facebookers were empathetically mobilised to place the Tricolore filter over their profiles in solidarity with France while remaining complicit in their silence when atrocities were inflicted upon the innocent of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. We love to buy into Euro-centrism and to accept these initiatives in the pretext of human compassion which only serves to reinforce its supremacy through actions like this.

Are we actually interested in ridding the world of racism?

The unfortunate answer is an overwhelming “NO!” We enter the same cycle of creating new initiatives that have never effectively provided real solutions – and we do this expecting different (positive) results. Unless Euro-centrism is not corrected in our history books and media, and replaced with truth and historical facts, it is actually unreasonable to expect attitudes to change!

Euro-centrism breeds racism wherever it exists, so one must conclude that if we are not mature enough as a society to address racism at its core then we must be accepting to the fact that…

“We are all racist, and we need to live with it!”

*Racism exists the world over and it is not exclusive to Europeans or to those of European heritage. This article is directed towards Europe and European settled countries.

Nader Galil is a business/life coach whose passion lies in helping people with personal issues by unblocking pathways to bring about positive change. With a corporate background and experience both here and in Europe, he has been able to gain a deep understanding of different cultures and anthropology. His interest in understanding human behaviour has led him to studying Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) and is currently studying his Bachelors Degree in Psychology. Nader’s other articles include “What is Love? (Love and its Evolution)”, “The First Generation Aussie Social Dilemma” and “Being a Better You” just to name a few.

 

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20 comments

  1. Anthony Element

    Interesting article, but I for one disagree with the proposition for two reasons.
    First, it’s based on an overemphasis on behavioral psychology, and quotes that discipline in rather an absolute fashion.
    Evolutionary psychology takes quite a different view, and the right answer is, I suspect, a bit of both.
    Second, in the final analysis, we are what we do.
    It’s certainly true to say that much of our belief system is founded in genes, (our grandparents did it to us), childhood experience, (our parents did it to us) or adult experience, (our boss is doing it to us).
    But if we can learn to interrogate ourselves, (a dash of Socratian introspection), we can overcome all of these influences and make ethical choices about our actions.
    Thus we are what we do.

  2. helvityni

    I am a Racist – Live with it!

    No Nader, you live according to YOUR beliefs and cop the consequences…

    I’m not a Racist, that’s for me to live with. Right now I have to cope with our very racist Government.

    The title of your article put me off from any further reading…

  3. bobrafto

    hel

    judging the story by the title?

  4. Michael Taylor

    helvityni, it’s not what it seems. 🙂

  5. helvityni

    OK guys, I expected the response I got, but I just watched the news about those brave demonstrators knowing very well they’ll not get anywhere, not achieve anything…so the last thing I needed for someone here to say: I’m a Racist…

    I promise to read the article and might even respond.. 🙂

  6. auntyuta

    As well as being a racist “I am also a cheat, a liar, I’m selfish and I’m a hypocrite.”

    I admit that in special circumstances all of us might be in danger of falling into this kind of behaviour.
    I do not claim do be a saint. But I would say in a civilized society we do try to overcome the above nastiness as far as possible; it may not always be easy, but we sure ought to try to be ‘good’ in a moral kind of way. A lot of our politicians often do not show great initiative in demonstrating what I would call ‘moral’ behaviour. Which is a pity, for our elected parliamentarians should possibly have higher moral standards than the average citizen and be great examples to us.

    Anthony Element says in his comment that we can “make ethical choices about our actions.
    Thus we are what we do.” – I very much agree with that.

    So, “Racism exists the world over and it is not exclusive to Europeans or to those of European heritage. This article is directed towards Europe and European settled countries.”

    My question now is: Why does racism exist the world over?
    In this article it is said that there was a time when “the Islamic and Arab world established highly advanced and intellectual societies.” Does racism perhaps not exist as much in highly advanced and intellectual societies?

  7. johnlward010

    One race , the human Race?

  8. John Brame

    Good article, thanks Nadar.

  9. wam

    racism is a belief in superiority that is taught through stereotyping. Once learnt it is continually reinforced by the media, by peers by teachers, politicians and casual observation.
    Your “We are all racist, and we need to live with it!” is the starting point even if ‘prejudice’ is a more acceptable word from whence to launch into the future of unlearn racism.
    For me the worst 4 letter word in the dictionary is THEY.
    Whenever I hear ‘they’ beginning a sentence a racist remark is likely to follow.
    I am educated enough to know that in addition to the 3 Bs(blood, bone and a brain) the bell curve applies to all. Sadly the last 4 governments see a skewed curve for Aboriginal Australians

  10. OrchidJar

    ”helvityni has been a regular commenter here for quite a while. Her opinions are respected and she is highly regarded”.
    Michael

    I don’t know about you Michael but I’d respect her opinion more if she had read the piece.
    Call me crazy.
    🙂

  11. Sir ScotchMistery

    Each day I get several AIMN articles and some tickle a nerve and some don’t. The truth is I simply don’t have time to read them all and then go into commentary mode to respond.

    I recently asked a question in a Facebook group which needed an answer based on geographical knowledge, and received several replies from someone who didn’t know the area i was discussing, asking me to be more specific, though anyone who knew the area I was talking about could have answered the question in a heartbeat.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that there are those who need to make a comment so people don’t foolishly think they have missed a thread.

    Is completely okay to not read an article on here. I have gone through the EULA in detail and there is absolutely nothing saying “if you don’t read a thread you will be summarily dismissed”.

    I don’t agree with all that I read here. I am not specifically attracted to every thread (based for example on its title). That doesn’t make me a bad person, it merely means in n my case that I am time poor and information rich, nor do I comment even on some of the things I do agree with.

    I believe all of life is suffering. Let’s call it for something to identify it “the first tenet”. Many disagree with me. That’s their right.

    At times I exhibit exactly the thought process discussed in the article. I feel the onset of an overt sense of superiority. I recognise my racist. And put it back in the box where it lives for me.

    I don’t believe I have ever tried to kill it.

  12. Michael Taylor

    Each day I get several AIMN articles and some tickle a nerve and some don’t. The truth is I simply don’t have time to read them all …

    Scotchy, that’s appalling. Reading ALL the articles should be your top priority of the day. 😎

  13. helvityni

    Sir Scotch & Michael,

    I tend to stay away from the older articles where there’s a chance of a mini war breaking out…

    At times, I also feel a bit sad when I see someone’s perfectly good article sitting there all day, yet no responses.

    auntyuta, nice to see you here.

  14. townsvilleblog

    I am a realist and recognize that everyone has these traits to some extent, I remain a pacifist and was raised to not judge people by anything else except their individual personality.

  15. Keitha Granville

    thanks townsvilleblog, my thoughts exactly. The more one tries to engage those who are spouting racist and hateful remarks, the less one actually achieves. There are some whose views are so deepluy entrenched they will never be persuaded by rational argument. I am sure that the members of the KKK could never be shown that those citizens of a different colour to them are actually identical to them underneath.
    Living simply as a peacemaker, always speaking peacefully. It worked for Gandhi, where is another of his ilk these days.

  16. Sir ScotchMistery

    I’m off to get coffee to digest Michael’s instruction.

    Then, in celebration of being able to walk again, I’m going to write something about civil liberties, and why their loss (or perhaps not knowing he owned them), caused a 13 year old to kill himself.

    Then I need to ask someone to name the bullies.

  17. king1394

    I think we need to recognise our individual fear of difference. This is often called racism, but sometimes appears in other guises such as a fear of groups of young people on trains. I grew up in a very white / Anglo area and even the Greek and Italian migrants who arrived in the late 50s were treated with a dash of fear and suspicion – they smelled strange, wore different clothing (particularly the old ladies in black), they didn’t speak English, they behaved differently in church…
    I know I am still racist in that I immediately recognise a person’s racial difference such as slanting eyes, and I need to fight what seems to be an instinctive fear of physical difference, which I know is irrational.
    I loved living in multicultural Australia where difference was celebrated and I can’t believe that we have essentially gone back to the bad old days of the 50s. I think it is not a co-incidence that a lot of the strongest fear of racial difference emanates from country areas which are still isolated from diversity compared to the cities.

  18. Sir ScotchMistery

    King I hear you on that one.

    Diversity, change, agility, disruption, all anathema to the wider unthinking body politic, but all those words are used by our rulers, daily.

    Sad.

  19. philgorman2014

    We are all racists, or should that be differentists?

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