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Rising Above Racism Is Imperative for Human Societies


Rising Above Racism Is Imperative for Human Societies

Sonali Kolhatkar

The virulently racist lawmaker Steve King, R-Iowa, is at it again, stoking the flames of white supremacy with his controversial tweet, “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies,” implying that white babies will restore American civilization.


Most human beings are unconscious. Racism manifests itself in people who are unconscious. Once a person "wakes up" (to who they truly are, their essential identity) their racism evaporates, becomes meaningless. There's no way to "reason" our way out of racism. Most people don't even know they're racist. They're unconscious. Fortunately, we are in a time when more and more people are becoming conscious. We are in the midst of the next evolutionary leap, the leap beyond duality.


There is a tension between secular Western liberal democracies and both tribalism and religious values. In many places in the world the resulting divisions are fairly obvious.


If only I could share your optimism...


Good article.

Ms. Kolhatkar only mentioned it in the last paragraph, but I would like to see more discussion regarding what seems to be an increasing degree of stark differences in opinion between US urban spaces, suburban spaces and rural spaces regarding:

  1. Racial and cultural diversity

  2. The need for social institutions that provide for the sharing of wealth

  3. And the need for collective measures to protect the earths environment.

Urban and inner-suburban people generally support all these three things, outer suburban and rural USAns to a very large degree, reject them. Why? Is this pattern of ideological differences seen in other countries? It seems to be true in Canada (southern Ontario anyway) but that isn't surprising considering the cultural similarities.

From my perspective as civil engineer it always seemed that the physical infrastructure explains these differences to a considerable degree. The urban environment by necessity contains far more shared public spaces - sidewalks, plazas and parks, public market spaces and public transportation - so the concept of sharing gets embedded in people's behavior and assumptions about the world. In suburban and rural areas there is a perception that they rely on no public shared resources - they work in their atomized self-interest with other individuals working in their self-interest - and everyone looks and talks the same so they come to associate this racial and cultural uniformity with these rugged-individualistic values. Of course, this is mostly a wrong perception - rural residents get a larger share of public infrastructure resources and expenditure - miles of rural road maintenance and rural electric distribution per resident which they pay no extra taxes or rates for than city dwellers. Distant big-box corporations have replaced the locally owned shops and farm supply stores.

But it definitely is not true in Latin America, where most leftist movements arise in the countryside - which, then again, isn't surprising considering the poverty of rural Latin America and the fact that the rural poor are almost all tenants on a rich person's land. I suspect Russia is similar where the rural poor long for the Soviet days. This is compared to the general prosperity of rural USAns or Canadians where the farmers and residents own their land. What about Europe? And what about the rural US south - which was and is racially diverse and most poor farmers didn't own the land - but racism was cleverly used to divide people of the same class interests.

There is lots of stuff here worthy of discussion...


Yes, very good points indeed. A lot of stuff to discuss here but if they can't find a way to put the blame on Trump, then you're going to get few contributing to a discussion here.


It is hard to tease racism from class-ism in some instances. Proximity also breeds contempt, so the meme that "something becomes personal" will dilute the distance haters will place between themselves and their intended target becomes reformed beyond a threshold. The selfish grab and run gene has some part to play in distinguishing and self determination.

Yesterday I ate dinner at a small Mediterranean restaurant outside University of Oregon. Two social work majors were mired in their discussion next to me. One was Indian who was describing the focus of her study, a caste system so complex and but farcical my eavesdropping could not keep up.

When man has nothing to do, he will create the differences that make him feel better.


An interesting examination of the problem of isolationism and racism. But this statement really aggravates me:
"(Matriarchal societies have always been the exception rather than the rule.)"

Always? Don't you mean, in the history that (patriarchal) societies have recorded, and in the scraps of prehistory they have unearthed, it appears that matriarchal societies were the exception?

History is written by the victors and they love to emphasize how violent humans are by nature. Except, we aren't. We are cooperative by nature. Our view of ourselves and what's possible has been deeply corrupted by mass media messaging -- including history books -- that encourage us to "other" groups and perceive them as threatening.


Rising above racism is imperative if there are going to continue to be human societies, For a long time .i have feared that things will end with a free-for-all shoot-'em-up, an action movie climax that soreads across the globe with everyone trying to kill their fears with weapons fire.

Unless the person, the great charismatic figure I have been hoping for all these days and ever more desperately as events unravel, The Green Jesus who can help everyone to see the light at the end of the tunnel, know that nothing is any one group's fault, that we must forgive the earth for our traspasses against it, learn that making it whole would make it and us holy, and show us that the Hunan race must race away from the harm we have caused and do things anew or die off trying



You may not be able to blame Trump on it, but Trump embraces the things I wrote like no other past president - he is even trying to do away with automobile CAFE standards (the ones proposed by the Obama EPA and DOT as a minimum) and force California to remove their tougher standards. No other president - even GW Bush, has attempted that. And as an extension of what I wrote, the positive correlation between adherence to extremist right-wing views and gasoline usage is very strong - with some obvious casual explanations for it.


I have never seen this "proximity breeds contempt" anywhere in the US I have ever been - quite the opposite. The most extreme racism I seen in mt region is in the pure white, mostly protestant German-ancestry counties to my north (and the Potomac highlands/eastern WV panhandle region to my southeast (home of the late Joe Badgent), while in the city where whites and blacks bump into each other on the sidewalk, there is much less racism.

And I really only mentioned classism tangentially in the last paragraph regarding the rural south - my main point is that in the US outside of the southeast, racism is associated with broader conservative views rejecting the concept of "society", and those views are associated with poeple outside of urban areas.

Caste systems are an entirely different phenomenon.


Cannot disagree with your facts about the manner of racism.
My point was to how human beings tend to differentiate for their benefit, and the obvious visual difference is just the start of this phenomenon. It is likely that racism itself dissolves due to the exposure and closeness of a racially varied diaspora, but we will find another way to get at each other. History shows this as well.