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Race and the Individual

This week brings news of another tragic shooting, and the calls of hypocrisy from some corners of the political spectrum regarding the treatment of the incident in the news. They may be right as there can be little doubt that the media has shown tremendous bias in recent years in terms of how it reports interracial violence. I believe that with the advancement of the Internet as a news source, people are starting to take notice; but I want to focus on something that is not only under-reported in the news, it’s totally absent.

During the George Zimmerman murder trial, we were treated to the spectacle of Rachel Jeantel contending on national TV that Trayvon Martin’s use of the obvious racial slur “creepy ass cracka,” was not meant in a racially derogatory way. Defenders of Martin tied themselves in knots claiming that there is a difference between the word “cracka,” and “cracker,” or that Trayvon was using the term to describe Zimmerman as a possible homosexual rapist. Truth really is stranger than fiction; you can’t make this stuff up. I cannot recall a more blatant and public case of Doublethink in recent history.

The reason Martin’s cadre in the media was forced into such a ludicrous position is because many of them believe that black people simply can’t be racist no matter what they do because they don’t possess enough institutional power to implement racist laws. Having to deal with obvious racial comments from African-Americans puts them in an uncomfortable position because it uncovers what they have been trying to obscure for decades: racism as an individual issue. That Martin’s defenders tend to be liberal compounds the problem because modern liberals hate to consider the individual at all. Any talk of individual rights or beliefs is branded as…you guessed it: racist.

The assertion that ideas or deeds only have meaning if they are backed up by institutional power is Groupthink. It is also a logical fallacy. Racism is not wrong because you can make racist laws. Racism is always wrong because it homogenizes the individual, which is an attempt to reduce their humanity. That’s what led to slavery. The fact that slavery was codified into law was merely a symptom of the racist belief that Africans were inferior or “less human,” than Europeans. Those who institutionalized and defended slavery were guilty of violating individual rights. They homogenized Africans into a group and made irrational assertions based on false criteria, then exploited people for their labor. I believe that on some level, they knew this was wrong because mankind has a conscience which informs on such things. In other words, the proponents of slavery were themselves guilty of Doublethink and Groupthink. Is it really a solution to racism to use their methods today?

If individuals exhibit racist actions or deeds, they are probably racist. It doesn’t matter if they are a member of a persecuted group because groups obviously don’t act or have a will. Racism is also something which you harbor in your heart and may not even exhibit itself in your will, at least not in a way that can be noticed by outsiders. The idea that groups have a will which is carried out through the political process is a mystical belief. It’s a superstition. A prerequisite for producing action based on will is singleness of mind. When I tell my fingers to fly across the keyboard to type this post, I don’t have a hundred million different voices in my head with a hundred million different individual opinions based on a hundred million unique worldviews and motivations. If I did, my will would be stymied, not actualized. What happens in the political process is that you elect someone who does their own will, because that is the only thing they are capable of doing. We are not the Borg.

What I’m saying here is that ideas have consequences. All actually existent, non-mystical and rational power resides in the individual to make dozens or hundreds of choices per day. Choice is multiplied across billions of people and there you have the world we live in. If you want to help racism, you need to first of all not be racist yourself. Then, you need to fight racism on an individual level with the people you know and inform them of the ideas of freedom and individual rights. Once you have these ideas in place, institutional power will shift because people will get into government who believe in freedom and individual rights. There is no shortcut and pretending that certain groups can never be racist does not help matters.

I was informed this week that I don’t have standing to comment on the plight of women or minorities because I am a white male. If you disagree with my views, you may be using this same excuse to negate my arguments in your own mind without rational consideration. The sad fact (for you) is that I do have standing to comment because I am a sovereign individual who is capable of rational thought, which is the sole criterion for debate. Attempting to deny my views based on the color of my skin or gender alone is collectivism. It is also an attempt to reduce my humanity. You may lack the cognitive ability to process competing views because you are the product of public education which has not taught you how to think, but only what to think. Don’t kid yourself that you are able to contribute to society in a positive way while participating in the same collectivist mindset that is continuing to perpetuate racism on all sides. Physician, heal thyself. The solution is found within.

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