Is racism an ugly fact of life or is it a symptom of a much larger problem? I suspect it is mostly the latter in which case it is a serious problem with lots of potential for inflicting injustice on people who really do not deserve it.
A discussion of racism should start with some basic principles.
* We do not have to like everyone and it is okay to disagree with others. We do not have to associate with people we dislike.
* Some people enjoy hurting others. If you want to really hurt another person say something negative about them that is true.
* Physical violence is wrong.
* Verbal and psychological violence is wrong. It is disgusting and immoral but it should not be considered criminal because it involves values, morals and some very fine lines. It may be that a part of growing up is to learn how to cope with negatives and some people may have to do more learning than others.
* Some members of minority groups are obnoxious and we do not have to like or associate with them.
* We sometimes fear the unknown and strangers.
* Minority groups can be racist against majority groups
There is some anecdotal evidence that racism and negativity based on being a part of a group is increasing. The question is whether or not this is itself a problem. This writer thinks it is mostly a symptom of a deeper and larger problem of a shortage of energy and mineral resources. There are lots of these resources left on the surface of our planet but we have “cherry picked” the most easily accessible and those that are left require a lot of time and energy to extract. The result is that our economy has started into a serious decline. Lots of people sense that the decline is happening but do not have a clue as to why.
This is where racism comes in. When things go poorly, we need scapegoats so that we do not have to ourselves take responsibility – in this case for using up the resource base. Actually we have a double scapegoat scenario developing. Some people are blaming foreigners for our problems while others are blaming these evil racists among us for the problems. This writer blames everyone.
Whoever is to blame, we are facing a very difficult situation around the world. Normal people are aware of this – Brexit, Trump, the Italians – even if people do not understand the negative forces at work. Some people have a propensity to hate but to treat the rest as criminal is itself an injustice.
The native Peoples in our part of the world have and Indian prayer – that they not criticize another person until they have walked a mile in that persons moccasins. Most of the people who are considered racist deserve the benefit of that prayer and the rest of us have a need for some clear understanding without which the problem will not be solved and we will all experience a lot of suffering.
My ebook Funny Money: Adapting to a Down Economy discusses this problem and outlines some policies which might ease the suffering. You can get a free copy from the link at the top of this weblog.