On Teaching Racism

November 19, 2014

I was struck by this post on Facebook. It suggests that racism means hatred and that not teaching hatred will cure racism. While Dennis Leary's short analysis is sweet and I believe that he is being sincere, he is very misguided in his belief that racism is taught. Racism, in fact, is NOT taught. It is something we live inside of. It should be taught -- but for what it is, not for what it isn't.

Racism is a system of supremacy of one group of people over another and affects the behavior of the two groups. It pits one group against the other through the use of bigotry and stereotyping. Understand that racism is a social, economic and institutional construct, in much the same way that the other USA (union of south Africa) was. Nothing has changed there either, it just turned blind. America took the lesson and the same thing happened here in the early seventies through now, as a way to continue the system of racism without actually admitting its existence. 

 

I've faced it. Whites are on the top, all over the world. Everyone can agree on that. We can debate whether this is because they are the more superior "race" or not, however, the fact is that in order to sustain the system where whites are on top, non-whites must be on the bottom. Hey, I didn't make it up. That's just the way it is. You may not like it and there are many who will vehemently deny it, but it is true, it is real and as long as racism exists, non-white people all over the world will remain in the state we are in.

 

Now, bigotry, on the other hand, IS taught, and bigotry is what white and black people are being faced with within this racist system. Bigotry is one of the tools used to divide human beings based on some inane belief that: (1) one group of people are superior than another (2) that one group is inherently lazy (3) You fill in the blanks. There are too many for me to list.

 

Hate is also taught. People need to understand that racism DOES NOT MEAN HATE. You can believe that non-white people are getting a raw deal and still benefit from the system that gives them the raw deal.

 

It is interesting that Dennis Leary implicitly makes light of the system of racism by calling it simply hate. This is what contributes to racism's pervasiveness. Fact is, neither he nor his child will ever be stung by it. Unlike Dennis' son, who will grow up knowing that this is the best country in the world, who will take for granted all of the benefits that this nation offers him, the mother of a 2 year old black child will have to explain the harsh realities of the same system and teach him how to navigate through the degradation, dehumanization and victimization he will absolutely face.   She will have to teach her son Racism in order for him to survive.

 

Teach your children about the real racism, not the one that is being handed to you.

 

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