The Players in the Racism Game

To better understand the problem of racism, we need to understand the groups involved in the struggle and what motivates or triggers them. Some of these groups are intentionally causing problems, while others have good intentions but actually are contributing to the perpetuation of the problem.

You will take some heat for being a true non-racist, even from within your own community.  But if we don’t stand up and work to end racism, no one will.

It should be noted that in some cases, it is possible to be part of more than one group (e.g. be an economic racist and one who believes in stereotypes). Even though many of the groups are similar, I purposely subdivided them up so people would not feel lumped into a group they do not belong.

Be warned: This article talks about some uncomfortable topics, and discusses some things we normally don’t want to discuss, and don’t want to see about ourselves.  But sometimes we need to have a good hard look in the mirror and see what we don’t want to see about ourselves and society in general.

Supremacist / Malicious Racist Majority

The most dangerous type of racist is the one who is willing to take lives and ruin people’s lives because they have the wrong color skin. These people actually think that their race is superior to other races, and that they, as the majority, have a right to have power and will often do anything in their power to ensure that the power remains with them.

Some will actually murder people of other races, but most will use other means, such as discrimination and unfair application of rules and regulations to achieve their aims.  They will even sometimes target people of the majority race who support equal rights for minorities.

Majority Stereotyping the Minorities

A much more common type of racist is the ignorant one, who has little experience with other races, and assumes all people of that race are the same because of what they hear in the media, or what they encountered in the ghetto once.

These are the people who assume the worst about someone based on the color of their skin, and act with fear or contempt around people of other colors, but then comment how their “black insurance agent is so wonderful and not like other blacks.”

These are often good people who are misinformed, and some exposure to other cultures and the fact that not all minorities are like their stereotype often makes a difference.  Although you do have the stubborn ones as well.

Economic Racists

You also have people who are racist for economic reasons. They don’t necessarily think they are better than the other race (although they might), but they don’t like the other races stealing their jobs or getting government assistance.

For example, the majority race often gets upset at the immigration of other races into their country.  You also see minorities fighting with each other over jobs.  It can rear its ugly head in the hiring process when someone hires only races he approves of, and denies applications of other races.  It also can rear its head in laws and regulations designed to give one race an advantage over others, often without explicitly saying so.

Racial Buddy System

This is when someone gives someone of the same race or culture a benefit that others do not get, simply because they are the same race. It’s basically giving preferential treatment based on skin color.

You will also see this in the hiring process as discrimination, although it is motivated by helping out a fellow of the same race instead of hatred or economic reasons.  It even includes the small stuff, like people tipping more or less based on the race of the server or pizza delivery driver.

This is something that all races do, including minorities.

Ever notice that in many smaller companies, the race of the employees is often the same races as the hiring managers? One restaurant has mostly black employees, while the one next to it has mostly white employees, and the next one down is mostly hispanic, and the one in Chinatown is mostly asian.

A hispanic pizza driver delivers to a fellow hispanic, and they get a bigger tip than usual.  A white guy shows up, and he gets stiffed or a lower tip.

While this seems innocent, it is actually a major part of the problem, because it reveals the toxic thinking that one group should be treated differently than others based on the color of their skin.

The Complacent Majority

Then you have the people who do their best to be “non-racist” in their daily lives, but then stand by and do nothing (or almost nothing) when racism occurs.  They often think they are not part of the problem because they are not racist in their personal lives, but the fact that they do not assert their clout and influence in society to fix the issue where it occurs actually perpetuates racism in society.

Minorities who Stereotype the Majority

Just like the majority who stereotypes minorities, the same applies in reverse. It’s basically ignorance of the other races.

The majority is often labelled as racist, even if that is not true of most people in the majority.  They make assumptions about what people in the majority may think and do based on the actions of some jerk who did something malicious or hurtful. They hold everyone in the majority race accountable for something that a smaller percentage of people actually did or do or for something that their parents or forefathers did.

Similar to the majority stereotyping the minority, the cure is educating people and exposing them to good people of the majority, so they realize that not everyone in the majority is the stereotype they hold.

Supremacist / Malicious Racist Minorities

No one likes talking about this, or even acknowledge people like this exist, but they are real and they are part of the problem too.  They think that their minority group is superior to the majority and/or that the majority is inferior to their race.

While they may not have the same power and influence as the majority to impose their thinking and will upon others, their thinking is still toxic and in localities, companies and situations where they do become the majority, you see them doing the same things the malicious majority does.

Instead of justifying their hatred by claiming they are superior like some in the majority often do, they often justify their hatred based on offenses committed by the majority. Regardless, it is still hate, and hate is not going to solve the problem of racism.  Hate breeds more hate.

Minorities Who Dehumanize the Majority

These people believe that the members of the majority race are somehow different than people of other colors, based on the color of their skin.  Similar to the supremacist racist, except their focus is more on how members of the majority race are not the same as them (with the unstated implication that the majority race is inferior).

They will often claim that all members of the majority are racist, that the majority cannot be victims, and claim that the majority will never understand struggle because of the color of their skin.  They basically dehumanize the majority, denying that they are a diverse set of people with struggles, feelings and pain like all human beings.

Their behavior is often perceived as disrespectful, and yet they demand to be respected.  They don’t realize that you have to give respect, to receive it, and that you don’t have to agree with someone to respect someone’s basic human dignity.

By dehumanizing the majority, they alienate potential allies, and behave in the same manner as those who they detest, which are the members of the majority who dehumanize minorities.  By doing so, they unintentionally perpetuate racism.

Minorities Wanting Role Reversal

There are those who detest the majority enough that they intend on stripping the majority of power and imposing their will and world view over the majority. Since they do not have the same tools and power as the majority, they often do this by way of trying to shift the conversation about race in such a way that it dehumanizes the majority, paints the majority as a villain, and tries to make it socially unacceptable for the majority to speak about race.  Some will even resort to violence to achieve this aim if given the chance.

They often advocate punishing the children for the sins of their fathers, although they will phrase it a different way to sound more socially acceptable.

They say they want equality, but what they really want is power for themselves and their race.

Pity Party

With this group, they are caught up in feeling sorry for themselves and blaming others (sometimes rightfully so) for their pain.  They continually highlight their own struggles as being the worst, but then discount any other individual’s or group’s struggles, even if studies show the struggles and the psychological effects on other groups and/or situations were similar.

They usually only read up on their own history, and fail to read up on African American History, Native American History, the Indian Caste system, the Jewish Holocaust, Irish discrimination by the British and Americans, Apartheid in South Africa, Italian-American discrimination, Chinese-American discrimination, slavery of white Europeans at the hands of the Arab, Barbary and Ottoman slave trade, genocide in various countries including Cambodia, Rwanda, and others, the KKK terrorizing Prussians/Germans, etc., etc., etc.

If they do read about history, they typically stick with books that support their viewpoint that they suffered the most, and that demonizes whatever group is to blame.

They also discount other struggles and abuse people go through that sometimes have similar psychological effects, like rape, bullying, being a social outcast, verbal and physical abuse, etc.  They insist that no matter what an individual has gone through, they cannot possibly understand the pain they have.

They risk alienating potential allies because they emphasize their own struggles and pain, while ignoring and dismissing another human’s struggles and pain. This act is in itself very dehumanizing and can be considered offensive.

What is interesting about this group, is that everybody can have a pity party, including the majority.

The reality is that there is enough pain and struggle and injustice to go around and is present in every race, class and culture.  We don’t need to make this into a competition on who has it worst.

Pro-Minority and Anti-Majority

There are many well-meaning groups out their trying to end racism with good intentions, which is to right many of the wrongs that the majority has committed.

The problem is that some of them are succumbing to the same dehumanizing and toxic thinking process they detest about the majority.

If it is pointed out that their actions are counterproductive or you disagree with their thought process in any way, you are told you are siding with the majority race and betraying the minority race, or if you are the majority race, you are called a racist or told you can’t see past your privilege.

They are the first to call someone a bigot, but fail to realize how bigoted their own actions and thoughts are.

Instead of unifying people in the fight for equal rights, they further divide people by being pro-minority and anti-majority.  Well-meaning or not, their actions are counterproductive, at best, and damaging at worst, but they cannot see it.

Truly Non Racists (of all colors)

Lastly you have the true non-racists, who truly want a world where race is not something we think about.  They believe that racism is a social construct that is not real and not useful, and the whole thinking process around it needs to be eliminated.

They understand the difference between culture and color/race.  They do their best to treat others based on their character, creed and culture, and not based on the color of their skin.  And they do their best to spread love to all people, and detest hate from anyone, regardless of the color of their skin.

The biggest challenge of being a true non-racist is that everyone else listed above is against you or misunderstands you.  The fact that you want equality, and demand people treat each other with respect, love and fairness is interpreted as you siding with the enemy.

Nobody likes being called a racist. Nobody likes to think of themselves as a racist. But if race drives your decisions, assumptions and actions, then you are, at best, mildly racist.  (Or racialist if you are one of those who think minorities cannot be racist because they are the minority.)

And our society is filled with racist policies, procedures, thinking and customs that the majority often takes for granted and often benefits from, but are wrong none-the-less.

But like any problem, we have to first admit we have a problem to make things better.

If you truly want to be a non-racist:

  • Treat people of other races and social groups the same way you treat those of your own race or social group.
  • Eliminate racial thinking from your head, and treat each person as an individual, and give them and their culture the respect and love they deserve, even if they are different from you and disagree with what you do or think.
  • Understand the difference between color, culture and creed, and understand that race, as a concept, has been scientifically proven as false and not real.
  • Do your best to help people of all colors elevate themselves economically and spiritually, not based on the color of their skins, but based on the fact that they are human, and they have needs and wants like all humans.
  • Assume the best about people rather than the worst, and adjust your actions with an individual according to real evidence based on an individual’s actions.
  • Take steps to make sure that laws, policies, procedures are fair to everyone, regardless of race.  Get involved, and make sure that policy-makers know that discrimination is not okay, overtly or covertly.
  • Speak up if you see injustice.  Sitting silently by and not saying or doing anything about an injustice is condoning it.
  • Educate yourself on other cultures, and expose yourself to ideas that are contrary to your own.  Reading and learning are not enough.  You have to read and learn things that contain different viewpoints.  Not doing so gives you tunnel vision where you cannot fully understand what is going on.  You don’t have to agree with an opposing viewpoint, but at least get educated about it enough to understand why they are saying what they are saying and why you agree or disagree.
  • And most of all, love, forgive and work to heal.  Too many people are tearing us apart, intentionally and unintentionally.  Don’t be part of that.  Be part of the solution.

You will take some heat for being a true non-racist, even from within your own community.  But if we don’t stand up and work to end racism, no one will.

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Scott M. Stolz

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2 Responses

  1. I revised the second half of the article considerably. I realized that I was lumping different groups together. I added the “Pity Party” group and divided up some of the other groups. I didn’t want anyone to feel unfairly lumped into a group they do not belong in.

  2. A couple more tweaks to the article this morning. I wanted to make sure that it said what I really wanted it to say, and to explain why certain stances are counterproductive. I also added more examples of racism and discrimination in the “Pity Party” section to give a wider view of the problem, that it is not just a problem with one race, but rather a human problem that crosses racial boundaries. It made the article a bit longer, but I thought it was important to add a couple things to it, since it talks about a very important subject.

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