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Wed Mar 24, 2021, 11:53 AM

Prejudice is at the root of so much injustice, but the deepest "sin" is indifference towards it

Prejudice seems to be a natural default setting for many if not most humans, probably flowing from the fear of strangers and anyone not belonging to ones own trusted clan. People who manifest in some way differently than those one is accustomed to being around can be seen as "unpredictable" in a way that "familiarity" can begin to dissipate, and a lot of people instinctively revert to feeling guarded when things are unpredictable.

Prejudice can, to some extent, be rationalized as an instinctive first reaction when confronted by something (or someone) new and different. I can almost understand it as a manifestation of reflexive caution during early encounters, but that's as far as I can take it. I grew up in the 50's and 60's in a homogeneous white suburb. The only diversity I was ever faced with in my home town on Long Island was that some kids were Jewish rather than Christian. I honestly can't remember when I first realized that homosexuality even existed, but I'm pretty sure that is wasn't while I was in grade school. There was only one Black kid that I was aware of in my high school class, but I never got to know him. TV was almost exclusively white back then, except for Amos and Andy. It was a century after the Civil war began, and I grew up in a Northern State, but the world I perceived was straight and white and almost exclusively middle class. It was a false perception that I ultimately realized I was morally obligated to see past and I have since, too frequently not diligently enough, attempted to do so.

A lot of people still, to some extent, inherit initial prejudices "honestly", by natural osmosis of a sort seeping in from their daily sheltered lives. I honestly believe that Americans, as a whole, are less instinctively prejudiced today than when I was a kid. But the extent of the prejudice that still exists is absolutely HORRIFIC because there is no, zero, zilch justification for any of it to continue as it does. The America we live in today is long past first encounters with diversity, or second encounters, or third encounters, or fourth... We live in a fully diverse nation and we have been a diverse nation for many generations. There are no "strangers" in our midst, just a wide variety of "neighbors."

Most Americans (straight whites in particular) have remained willfully prejudiced for generations because we are too fucking indifferent to the often lethal consequences of our ingrained and unchallenged prejudices. It's not that we are completely unaware of the price others pay for "being different", though we do tend to underplay it. There is always ample evidence around us of suffering that prejudice causes, even if we personally only see a tenth of it Frankly, when it comes down to it, we don't give a damn. We refuse to be bothered understanding how the world looks through the eyes of others because that isn't "our" own reality, nor does it impact on our reality unless "riots" and the like break out. If the game is rigged in our favor is it really worth all the trouble of overturning the game board? We didn't rig the game, it isn't "our fault."

True White Supremacists at least are honest about it. They approve of unwritten racist rules and want them strengthened and made explicit. Many white Americans refuse to give it a thought. Most of the rest of us are content, when it comes down to it, with occasional expressions of "disapproval" while we go on with our daily lives. In the face of something so abhorrent that qualifies as complicity.

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Reply Prejudice is at the root of so much injustice, but the deepest "sin" is indifference towards it (Original post)
Tom Rinaldo Mar 24 OP
Tom Rinaldo Mar 25 #1
Hortensis Mar 25 #2
Tom Rinaldo Mar 25 #3
Hortensis Mar 25 #4
Tom Rinaldo Mar 25 #5

Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Thu Mar 25, 2021, 08:30 AM

1. There has never been sustained wide spread white anger over institutional racism in America

That is the painful bottom line reality. There has always been some, but never anywhere near enough, which is why it continues to exist today in such a virulent form 150 years after the end of slavery in America. I want to say that it is unacceptable except that, collectively, somehow we have tacitly accepted the continuation of racism into the current day.

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Thu Mar 25, 2021, 10:10 AM

2. No, the biggest sins are the bigoted behaviors themselves.

Stop trying to spread their evils to everyone. We're still the nation who elected Obama twice, our first female president almost once, now Harris and many others of various races and ethnicities. OVER 3/4 of Americans approved of the #BLM marches in over 700 cities. And that number includes many among the 80 million too shockingly indifferent to vote last November.

Genuine indifference to wrongdoing will always be with us -- just look at those 80 million. It's a serious problem, but it's not all about race, it's in them, and above all these are not the people actively perpetuating racism.

Racism is actively perpetuated and the worst of its wrongdoings done by those with passionate resentments, angers and hates related to race and racism. The worst of course by those for racism. We all know them all too well. They're overwhelmingly concentrated on the right.

We should instead take a look at the culpability of racism-perpetuators whose unbalanced passions take the form of being against racism. Because they concentrate on the left.

They also fan race-based angers and divisions because they also need racism to feed on. They also can't let it go because to be anti-racism is their great cause, their identity. Their warped notions cause them to blame white racism (ONLY white racism) as both the root and proximate cause of every bad behavior, every problem and every crime, ignoring all other motivations, and denying the very honesty and decency of many tens of millions that constantly contradicts their toxic racism-pushing beliefs.

They ignore the very existence of people of all races who're decent and accepting toward each other because they're blind to them.

America's majority of decent people also don't feed the agendas of others: Malignant operatives don't just include divisive partisan groups, but also the biggest troublemakers, the GOP and Russia. They all weaponize and augment racism perpetuators to increase racist divisions and, especially dangerously, to subvert belief in not just our goodness but our very ability to ever be good.

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Response to Hortensis (Reply #2)

Thu Mar 25, 2021, 10:26 AM

3. Hard core racists embrace active evil

And of course they are the core of the problem, but they do not have the numbers needed to impose their toxicity on our nation as a whole were it not for the what I am calling widespread indifference above. How long did it take the U.S. to elect a Black President? Did you concur with Chief Justice Roberts that the fact that Americans elected Obama was evidence that major provisions of the Voting Rights Act were no longer needed? I will never forget reading of a rural white woman who assured a Democratic canvasser in 2008 "Don't worry, I'm voting for the Nigger."

Being willing to answer a yes or no poll question in the affirmative about "supporting" Black Lives Matter is not a compelling case against general indifference. I am not arguing that a majority of white Americans are overtly racist, I don't believe that is true. Some are, and they are directly responsible for much suffering. But complicity is seldom direct action, more often it is inaction.

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Reply #3)

Thu Mar 25, 2021, 10:46 AM

4. The everyone's goodness is empty because it's not full argument.

You might ask yourself, with America's biggest site for Democrats and others on the left constantly flooded with all possible variations on these messages, does it really need more?

Goodness knows the racists in our own RW and demoralizing cyber enemies like Russia have an unending supply of it -- and unending suppliers. So if you decided to combat racist divisions and growing racist violence with some balancing truths that reminded people to stand tall and strong against racism, that they are multitudes!, what that replaced wouldn't be missed at all.

I know neither Russia nor Cornyn fear me, and I guess I get no points from you, but I consider it at least a good deed. And the tsunami of demoralizing and racism-empowering messages continues unabated, so no damage done to that cause.

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Response to Hortensis (Reply #4)

Thu Mar 25, 2021, 11:16 AM

5. I know where I am posting, and I don't take for granted how devoted DU members are to justice

This is a great community of activists that I'm proud to be a part of. OK, I'll make it personal. I've actively worked against racism. Sporadically. I've been a constant ally to minorities in America, more often than not passively. I find some fault in myself. Have I spoken out as forcefully as I should as often as I should, to people who I know causally, who exhibit some insensitivity when social norms dictate silence? I think not. I'll leave it as that.

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