16 January 2015

The definition of racism: Robert Wei

. @WeiDeLi14. #racism. #Ukraine. #Nazis. #Zionism.

Recently my wife was asking me questions about what is "racism" and "ethnic awareness." Then memory of lectures long past came to me. My anthropology instructor years ago described "racism" by its original, scientific meaning rather than the widely used socially-inferred definition which is commonly bandied about. However, my own conception of "racism" is related to the idea of a clinging to identification with the material self that does not abide; hence with these competing definitions and connotations in mind I hope that you dear reader can better comprehend the range of my thought.

First let us return to a logical understanding of the phenomena. Racism is inherent in all human beings. It is a complex of traits and preferences that are encoded by an individual in one's formative years, and contributes to an overall sense of identity. (This definition is essentially the same in essence to so-called "ethnic awareness." I'll come back to this.) It also assists in socialisation with a peer group in un-reconstructed societies where most if not all members are biologically related to a much closer degree than someone from a distant community. This element of identity can like all factors of human experience have negative and positive consequences. The modern concept of "racism" in popular usage has honed in on only the negative consequences: discrimination against other individuals based on race, intolerance of racial / cultural differences, and so on. My own concept of "racism" goes further in that I believe BOTH positive (which include personal love of kin and kind, willingness to sacrifice for that in-group and empathy and so on) AND negative aspects of identification with a specific race are ultimately constraining. It interferes with broad compassion with all other living beings and limits individual growth and understanding. In my opinion, eventually any being out grows the needs for identification based upon a material-oriented identity. I believe with absolute certainty that I am what I've done, do, and learned in my life. (Of course there are elements of my experience that remain having impressed themselves upon my being because of the company I kept or was made to keep, etc.) I hope that everyone may well come to appreciate such sensibilities one day. I see ‘race’ as a transitory and ultimately “artificial” construct.

A good example of this is that we can find always a few individuals (or even entire sectors of a society) who for one reason or another have acquired traits that are not based on their biological affinities nor even their original social unit. Specifically I knew a fellow at university. He was an ethnic Chinese whose grandfather was from Macau. That family had immigrated within the Portuguese Empire settling in Mozambique. Later in response to the civil war there they fled first to Oporto and then to "L.A." (Los Angeles). When I met him I naturally related to him as if he is "Chinese" but his expressions and emotional range were Latin in character and his physical habits, African. I have often observed Africans when in conversation they put their hand on their stomach, under their shirts if wearing one, rubbing idly in the way some white guys will play with their beard when in thought. To what race does this "Chinese" belong? So, to me, a sense of race is illusion or at least a lack of varied experience living in diverse societies.

Even an "ethnic awareness" which to my mind is simply an Americanism, or a phenomenon within a highly heterogeneous society -- perhaps Brazil might have a similar phenomenon -- is only a "flavour" of life, it is exceedingly fleeting. That is not to say that there does not exist a deep instinctive leaning toward and understanding of someone of close biological lineage. However to me that is a deeper phenomenon than the popularized version and that is what may have given rise to so-call “ethnic awareness.” Let’s not argue over semantics however. Of course any term can be whatever you as an individual use it as a symbol of. This is a fact of linguistic usage.

The core of my original thought is that a racist is simply someone at a lower level of spiritual development -- who has gotten past individual selfishness and bias, and then expanded his/her circle of "self" to those he associates with himself "genetically" and the traits he worships / admires. Of course, in time that is revealed as illusion. Racism is an unsustainable state of being and an illogical line of thought. It is sterile and though it may offer some pleasure or comfort, it hampers the full extension of one's personal identity.

This can be proven by seeing the attacks of racists on others that are in fact "higher" in racial authenticity vis-à-vis the race they claim to idealise. When this occurs it is rather ironic and certainly educational.  I have found that those who are most racist are maladjusted individuals who have deep issues regarding their self-identity. There is a war inside their head until they chose to embrace a certain idealised identity. (That could be said of other forms of extremism as well.) Those who are actually fully aware of that identity do not feel so compelled to act so extremely. Hence "Racism" in the modern context often is a social disease that results from a deep crisis in identity. Of course there are other kinds of racism that develop as well.

As an example I offer the Ukrainian Fascists. How can they utilise the symbolism of former German Nazism? They are Slavs. By definition (of Nazis) they are "sub-humans." How then can they espouse racially oriented "Nazi" views? {Of course there is a long history lesson to review here too -- but I leave that for another time.} There are no people more similar to them than Russians be it genetically, linguistically or culturally. This means that either they reject their genetic relationship to Slavs or re-orient/redefine it as if they are the "real Slavs" and that Russians are hybridised bastards; laughable logic in either case. I believe that this small segment of that society hate their similarity to other Slavs or at least to Russians, for a complex of reasons that I've discussed elsewhere or will discuss in future, and espouse a Nazi German-oriented identity. Real Nazis would throw them in the ovens with the rest!

Zionism is another case in point. Zionist Jews hatred of, and genocidal attitudes / actions towards Arabs in particular, is it part of their own extreme hatred of part of their own self-suppressed identity? Do they blame such similarities in their own character for their own suffering from discrimination and hatred and violence? Again there are no people more alike to them than Arabs. Fellow Semites, closely related languages -- even a layman can see similarities between "Shalom aleihin" vs. "Salaam aleikum," a long shared cultural and historical heritage that in my view ought to be a bridge of understanding rather than a point of contention.

I believe that if one scratches the surface of any racist and you will find he or she is working hard to maintain a lie within himself, denying some part of his own self in preference for an idealised identity designed to boost abysmal lack of self-esteem. So pathetic, if they were not such a danger to others, even in small numbers, we could easily pity them. "Perish away, O Druj!""

"Perish away to the regions of the north, never more to give unto death the living world of Righteousness!" -- Avesta (translated)

By Robert Wei - More articles by Robert Wei

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