Racism is a Learned Concept
Life has changed dramatically since the days of my childhood back in the 1960s when 99% of the people in my life were Western European Caucasians who spoke English, although possibly with a bit of some European accent.
With the evolution of the world’s societies and major events such as the return of Hong Kong to China, the face of our society has dramatically changed. Along with the influx of Oriental Asians, we have also experienced a major influx of people from South Asia including large masses of people from India and Viet Nam to mention a couple.
As a person who grew up in a predominantly “White” society, it was a bit unnerving to see my hometown take on a very unfamiliar face. In fact, it became very scary although for no apparent reason. Sometimes change is a scary thing!
The change was so rapid that there was no opportunity to make an easy adjustment. It used to be that everyone looked the same but now, it is not uncommon for a “white” person to be in the minority in any situation where many people are gathered.
I recognized the fear I felt brought on by the change of demographics. I am sure that many of my fellow “Canadians” felt the same way.
Fortunately, we tend to be a pretty accepting group of people! We embrace change, albeit reluctantly. It actually became an amazing adventure watching the attributes of many cultures proliferate our local landscape. New stores, restaurants and churches appeared everywhere while many languages filled our ears.
Being a real people person I found a great deal of excitement and enjoyment in chatting with our new friends. It was great to learn about many of the countries and their peoples around the world, all without even leaving home!
Now that we are over twenty years into the process of reinventing our society, it is exciting to see how many of the cultures are intermarrying creating a much more inclusive brand of people.
Watching kids living their lives and experiencing the similarities and differences in the lives of their schoolmates, one of the most obvious occurrences is seen everywhere—
So what does this tell us?
Back in the day, over the history of the world, so much of the violence that man has perpetrated on other men has been based and justified on the belief that only their particular species of humanity was acceptable. Others needed to be feared and destroyed!
We have seen so many, many events in our histories empowered by the fear of accepting and rejoicing in the differences between people and societies. Even in today’s world, we are still experiencing the lack of acceptance of others who “are different” in some way.
And yet —
Inclusion is all around us!
So how do we bring racism to a complete and total conclusion? Can we remove words like “racism” and “prejudice” from our dictionaries?
The first and biggest step that will begin this one factor—
Racism is a learned habit!
We learned to be afraid of other “different” people from the society we grew up in. We learned that some people were “bad” just because they looked different or believed different ideologies.
We “knew” people were different because we saw the authorities who managed our societies perpetuate racist beliefs, we watched prejudice as a basis for television programs, we watched ‘war” movies annihilate people because they were “bad guys”.
The sad thing is that this problem is still raging in our society today. Most of the major films released for our “enjoyment” base their stories on “good guy-bad guy” and the fear of others in order to earn multi-millions of dollars and to shape the mindset of society.
Our governments pass legislation that promotes racism in the guise of creating equality! Laws are being regularly passed and enforced that give one sect of society special privileges supposedly in order to make life “more equitable”.
The truth is that every time one sect of society is given “a special position” in society, it also manifests as a prejudice against everyone who does not benefit.
Here’s a novel thought! How about if we pass and enforce laws that make all people equal! How about if we give everyone special privileges!
If we truly want to end racism, it is up to each of us as individuals to recognize our own racist actions and reframe them to be inclusive. It is also up to each of us to tell the governments and other social influencers such as movie makers, game creators, etc to promote inclusion not fear.
It requires recognizing that every one of us, no matter who we are, has learned to be racist in some way by recognizing and promoting differences!
It does not matter what race we were born into, or what church we do or do not attend, or what our sexual preferences are, we have beliefs that promote separation and therefore racism.
Every time, we demand recognition and special favours that are based on our “special” differences, we promote racism.
If every individual could just recognize that their demands for recognition of being different are based on a personal fear, rather than love, we could truly begin to heal as individuals and as a society.
The second step is to teach our children to be inclusive of themselves and any others. This step requires consciously teaching children to love themselves as they are and to enjoy and embrace the people they encounter in their lives as loving individuals without emphasizing any differences.
Kids are fortunate in their ability to see other individuals clearly as the individuals they are without seeing the differences. We need to encourage this ability so it stays with them for a lifetime.
Children who do not see differences cannot be prejudiced or racist if they don’t know the concept to start with!
It is up to each of us as individuals to come to terms with our own fears, especially the fears that express as separation and racism and reframe them so the fear loses its power as it evolves into the universally powerful energy of love.
When we choose to live our lives based in love and inclusion, our children will as well.
Racism can be allowed to die a natural death as the energy of the thoughts change from separation to inclusion.
It is up to every one of us no matter what our “difference” is to recognize and choose to embrace inclusion.
Are you willing?