Yes, racism is institutionalized, but it turns out it’s institutionalized on both sides of the fence.
It started with trying to understand the smoking ban, and other human rights abuses in my country. This led into a rabbit hole of understanding the ANC and their history, as well as what they’re saying at the moment.
As we speak, I am deep down a rabbit hole of understanding where racial segregation stems from. The answers are pretty surprising actually.
Over the past few weeks, as I’ve been watching everything playing out, I’ve taken a much keener interest in politics.
During this time, I’ve also been reaching out to a number of black people I know, hoping to have the conversation about race with them. Lower socio-economic classes, and people that have a more recent experience of me, they’re open to the conversation. Middle and upper class educated blacks - not so much.
However, based on the conversations I have had, I’ve noticed a few similarities, regardless of whether they’re willing to discuss the issue or not.
People have political leanings, but lack knowledge
First, people don’t know much, or even anything about politics.
I have to admit that I fell into this camp too, and this is the first time I’ve really looked into the history of the country I live in, and it’s current politics. Like most people, I am happy to stay busy in my own little world, and have as little to do with the government and identity politics as possible. I fit clearly into the silent majority.
Second people don’t have the stamina to stay in the conversation.
Like many on the right, I made a journey from left to right a few years ago. I used to live in a world where the idea of anyone like Trump being president was unthinkable. Republican was a dirty word.
An interesting thing happens when you make this transition though - you are forced to research and learn how to debate. So not only do you solve the first issue, of lack of knowledge, but you increase your stamina to absorb points made in the conversation.
Additionally, because you’ve taken the step of expanding your mind beyond a previous worldview, you start developing habits of being more open-minded. It’s also information hunger… as you answer questions you’ve held for years, and you gain relief from that understanding, your hunger for further relief from understanding grows.
So you dig for more knowledge, which opens your mind more, which spurs your information hunger… lather, rinse, repeat.
Accordingly, as with any serious pursuit that gets you to study out of personal curiosity, you develop some skills over time: like the ability to hold lots of facts, remembering your facts, staying calm(er) in debates, not taking stuff so personally, not being determined to be right, and being open to having your mind changed (expanded more) through the addition of new information.
Go and watch a person who does a “Why I left the Democrats” style video, and you’ll notice a few things:
1. The speaker usually has very clear reasons and examples to call on.
2. They all have a similar story; usually along the lines of I went to go see what was happening there and I felt at home. And it’s so nice to talk to people who want to talk. It’s so nice to have rational debates instead of outrage-fueled screaming matches, filled with finger pointing.
I’ve noticed this myself: with conservatives, I am considered beforehand; I do my research, I jam-pack the content with information, building a thread. When I was on the left, posts and pieces were about expressing my emotions or outrage. Now I take people down my rabbit hole of discovery, and consider ideas like I don’t know what’s going on, or that other people might need the information I’ve found as well.
It’s really all come together for me in reaching out to black people I’ve historically known as friends, to have this conversation about racism.
To start with, I can immediately see that people don’t know what’s going on right now, and where this has all stemmed from. I’ve been testing this by asking questions like “do you agree with the ANC policies or it’s socialist/communist direction?”. I’ve also been speaking about incidents that were in media and people don’t know they’ve occurred. This applies to both blacks and whites, the lack of knowledge.
But the one where I really saw how institutionalized the racism is on the black side, was the response to a request to have this conversation, which was “I have no interest in talking about how white people are superior.” Since this isn’t my angle, I’m cool with that. But everything I said afterwards was met with the same response: “I already told you that I’m not interested in discussing white superiority.”
Despite the fact that I’ve asked the question, “wow do white people really do that?”, the only answer I’m getting is that it’s me trying to enforce white superiority.
For me personally, this was baffling. Baffling because, in 1993, a year before the elections, I voluntary chose to share a two-bed-room with her in boarding school. In fact, I invited her to share with me if I recall correctly. I didn’t realize until recently what a big deal that must have been for people, because I didn’t care. She was my friend and I loved her. It never even occurred to me that is was a weird thing to do, and I thought it had happened before. I realize now it probably hadn’t.
So here I have someone who has personal history with me that clearly shows that I never cared about her race, telling me that the only reason I’m turning to her to discuss racism is because I want to enforce white supremacy.
To say I’m blown away is an understatement. To say I can’t understand the mental process would be a lie.
In fact, I’m so sure of people’s preprogrammed responses, that when my clients get to the stage of exploring conspiracy theories and alt media, I actively caution them against speaking out to anyone, at all. Even their spouses.
The conspiracy avenue is an important one on the spiritual journey, most notably because it blows your mind wide open with ideas you’d never considered before. As we’d mentioned previously, blowing the mind open is an important part of growth; stretching it new directions.
In addition, knowing you can’t talk to others about it, gives you some serious self control. You have to learn to hold your tongue. The lack of external validation also serves to make you more reliant on yourself, forming your own opinions without the input of others. This adds to your ability to expand, because you break the habits of limiting your thinking based on what those around you might think of those opinions. So it chips away at the boundaries that societal structures impose on you.
To say that I don’t understand that I will be discriminated against for something I believe, and something I am, is entirely wrong. In fact, I’m so certain of it, that I advise clients to not share that part of their lives until we’ve really prepared them for it.
So when I see this pattern of a predetermined idea in others, I can really relate. And I can identify it.
And I walked into a conversation wanting to gather information and ask questions - and walked into a brick wall of this presupposed idea.
I tried asking, but I don’t think it made any impression. Also people get really confused about genuine questions like “okay why did you respond like that? What’s behind the response?” Yeah, I’ve put my foot in my mouth a few times in my life. Excuse me while I get comfy and change feet LOL ;)
However, to be fair, my habits have developed around asking hard questions; getting people to look at patterns like that in themselves. I ask these kinds of questions of myself all the time.
For me, when I watched protestors kneeling to black folk this weekend, the first part of me responded: “no way, I only kneel to God”. And then my rebel brain kicked in and I said - “why not? It’s such a small gesture”. And then my healing brain went, “because it’s a reversal of the inferiority and superiority of ego and we’re never going to create equality by subjugating one group on favour of another. And the more I learn about racism as I research it, the more I realise how it always leads to a feeling of racial superiority in one group; usually the subjugated one.”
And as I looked at this habit, I started pondering the habit that led my friend to respond to my queries with an accusation of supremacy… and I realised it’s exactly that; a habit.
Or to put it into modern parlance: it’s institutionalized.
Racism is institutionalized
It’s institutionalized because that hatred has been passed down from generation to generation, and from mind to mind in our modern social media landscape, and we’ve forgotten why this all happened in the first place. Where it all started.
This was a question I’m fairly certain I’ve answered now… for the earliest settlers, on all continents, the Dutch East India Company and colonisation/slavery are to blame.
In particular, the Dutch East India Company had a Christian policy of racial supremacy, based on a theory of two lines of Eve. As a result of this philosophy, they instituted rules in their colonies that forbade white settlers from trading with local natives. Forbade them under pain of death.
Basically, the Dutch East India Company had a rule that said if you do business with black people, you will get the death penalty. How do you explain that to a five-year-old? Well you don’t. You just tell your kids not to interact with the locals.
Likewise the black locals who were being rejected had no idea what was going on. They just saw white people hating on them and returned the sentiment. Then the British come along and grab land, force indentured servitude, and implement laws like pass laws, based on practices of their slave-ridden past. Also they segregate whites and blacks into different geographic areas.
Incrementally, hatred intensifies on both sides. In time, with generations, you forget the reason WHY you stay separated, but the habit of telling your kids not to engage with other races remains.
This habit, instilled generationally, and from so early on, also makes you curious… and so you start looking at people of other races, and wondering why they are different, drawing parallels to things you already understand, so that you can understand this element you’ve been told to stay away from all your life.
Over time, the reason why we tell our children these things gets completely lost, and these habits become a normal way of life.
So Jan van Riebeeck lands in South Africa, along with the Dutch East India Company, in 1652. By the time the Great Trek starts in 1836, you’ve had 184 years of this principle being drilled into people’s lives, families, habits, patterns and ways of being.
When the settlers formed Transvaal and the Orange Free State, they started their countries based on the principles learned from their great-great grandparents. They were indoctrinated. Institutionalized. Institutionalized to fear death if they had anything to do with black people in fact.
Skip forward another 112 years, giving us a total of 296 years of institutionalized racism, and is it any wonder that the National Party stepped it up a gear, and called it apartheid? It was the only answer they knew.
In fact, it makes me wonder about the amazing ability of South African whites to change, that 340 years of institutionalized racism could be overturned in one referendum in 1992. It really makes me wonder about FW De Klerk, and what it must have taken for him to stand up and make the apartheid changeover possible.
But what makes the institutionalized racism shown by my friend any different to the institutionalized racism that was programmed into the whites?
As an information hungry person who deeply needs to understand everything, I have read a lot in my life, and among my sojourns I have read Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler. Everyone should read this book. Put aside your prejudices, open your mind and read the book. As a Christian, you should also Rea the Satanic bible. No text contains more info on how to resist the devil himself. Once you know what the devil wants, you won’t do it by accident anymore.
I’ll admit the second part of Main Kampf, speaking about the shape and structure of state, is pretty boring. But part one, where Hitler speaks about what he has observed, and what led him to pursue politics, is fascinating. And the nutshell statement of his observations is that “you cannot blame individuals for being what they are, when they are merely products of the system they grew up in”. I agree wholeheartedly with this.
If you want to improve people’s lives, he goes on to say, you have to improve the system in which they are raised.
I disagree with him on this part; it’s not the only way. People can have individual breakthroughs of understanding that can override years of indoctrination, in one fell swoop. The thing is, they have to want to change. And then they have to want to live with the consequences of what that change means.
Indoctrination is a scary thing. For example, I watched a series of police interviews with two young children that had been involved in Satanic Ritual Abuse their entire lives. These children spoke about murdering babies and eating flesh, as if it was the most normal thing in the world; which it was for them.
Western women can’t fathom multiple wives, but sister wives and Arabic women think of it as normal. In South Africa, Christmas is a summer event, while those in the States think of it as being winter.
Whatever you grow up with is normal to you
For years I was indoctrinated to believe that, as a white person, I was automatically the bad guy, and that was just my lot in life. Until I did some research and discovered that there was much more to these layers than what first meets the eye.
Yes we have a problem with institutionalized racism, but it’s institutionalized on both sides. And the institutionalized nature is kept firmly in place on the left, by an unwillingness to gather knowledge, look for answers, or hear anything other than the cries in their echo chamber.
So how do we change this? Honestly, I still don’t know.
There is no way to force anyone down a path they don’t want to go down. And often, when people do it for bad reasons, like saving a relationship, their curiosity isn’t genuine. People have to genuinely want knowledge for themselves in order to make it stick.
LOL, we could try retro-phrenology… if phrenology is the art of reading the personality based on the bumps on the skull, then retro-phrenology is adding bumps to create certain personality characteristics. Clearly I’m joking… but it serves to illustrate the hopelessness of thinking of solutions to challenges like this.
There is no way to force people to change; particularly people who are driven by emotion, and not focused on reason and understanding.
Strong emotion needs to be tempered with reason. Think about it like this… when you’re super angry or super sad, you often can’t express it you’re so overwhelmed with emotion. But when you have a breakthrough thought or aha moment, the entire feeling inside you changes based on that single thought.
This is the process of consciousness, and in a nutshell you can sum it up this way: an unexpressed thought manifests as a feeling. Or feelings are just unexpressed (unverbalized) thoughts.
The fact that you’ve wandered down the rabbit hole this far, and are still reading, probably means that you have been down a few rabbit holes already, so you know how they wind and turn. And how they change your views along the way.
You also know then, how hard-earned those first few lessons were. How much work and time was required to get one lesson at a time back then. How invested you were in holding onto your beliefs.
We’re trying to use reason in dealing with people who can’t be reasoned with, and it feels like we’re all screaming into the empty void. And the agendas, ideologies and habits are so entrenched that there is no place left for reason in their minds.
And yes we can always hope that they have individual moments of realisation, but it’s a long shot.
So we’ll just have to rely on the shock and awe they feel as the world comes crashing down around their ears. Because nothing brings a problem home like making it personally relevant.
Read more about the author at Am I a crazy white supremacist? (TL;DR: No): https://lifecoachestoolbox.com/index.php/am-i-a-crazy-white-supremacist-tldr-no