Thursday, July 17, 2014


That post I made the other day about the millenials inspired me to make some good comments down on the discussion thread.  This is the second time I'm pulling from there to post on Real Art.  Anyway, here's the prompt, from one of my facebook friends:

Honest question, related to discussion further up: does someone have to be aware of their racism to be racist? Would it not be racist to support institutional racism, even if you didn't consider it that?
And here's my response:
We live within a cultural context, an environment of ideas and attitudes. We are ALL subject to prevailing ideas, which means that anybody can have thoughts or possess conceptualizations which could be shown to be racist in character because racism continues to be a factor in the overall cultural environment. So the biggest bleeding heart whites, as well as the most Afro-centric Black Radicals, can all buy into certain negative stereotypes of African-Americans, and not even realize that's what they're doing.

So everybody's potentially participating, probably participating, in some kinds of thoughts and behaviors that we might describe as racist. But what makes a person, rather than thoughts, words, or behaviors, racist? That's harder to say, especially because all decent people these days do not want to think of themselves as being racist, and generally try, in their own fashion, to not be racist.

How do my racist but well-intentioned thoughts differ from the racist's actually racist thoughts, even while this racist sees him or herself as not being racist? I mean, I KNOW I'm okay because I'm me, and I know my beliefs and intentions, even though I may inadvertently fall into some white supremacist thinking from time to time, but what about other people? Who's genuinely a racist, and who is just very poorly informed?

All this is no doubt why conservatives get so sensitive when liberals call them racist. It might also be why liberals are into calling conservatives racist. I mean, okay, I'm making a sort of psychological subconscious assertion, here, because I feel VERY justified in calling out right-wing racist tendencies in my blogging. I'm just acknowledging that there might be an emotional factor working on me that isn't entirely legitimate.