The need to see oneself as superior stems from mental illness based in low self-esteem and self-doubt.
Racism is something I simply cannot understand. That is because I have a healthy sense of self and a respect and love for others.
I can conceive of how someone might think their culture is better than another. Culture is a set of behaviors and beliefs. We tend to love our shared culture, the food, the celebrations, the music, and because this like and dislike is a matter of taste and aesthetic I can understand how one might think their culture is “better”. I certainly like my culture better than that of the !Kung or San bushmen and I think that’s okay. That doesn’t mean I think the people are less than I, nor even that their culture is not worthy of understanding.
What I cannot understand is how someone can think one race is better than another. Using the example of the bushmen above, just because I don’t care much for their culture (though it is fascinating) doesn’t mean I consider them to be lesser human beings to be looked down upon.
However, I do understand how such a belief leads to violence. First off, I have no hesitation in saying this person is insane. I don’t mean the kind of insane that means he didn’t know what he was doing. Clearly he did. I use the term broadly here. We tend to use “mental illness” for a lot, “mental disorder” sometimes, but “insane” has become reserved only for a legal term designed to get someone off for a crime or get them committed to an asylum. However, it is defined as, “…a state of mind that prevents normal perception, behavior, or social interaction; seriously mentally ill.” In this regard I consider all racists to be insane.
The man in this story is responsible for his actions as it demonstrated clear planning. However, only someone who is insane, crazy, out of their mind, does what he did for the reasons he did. Because racists are crazy, and not just stupid or ignorant, they are dangerous to any society that is of mixed race. If the !Kung bushmen think their race is superior it doesn’t really matter much. No one of any other race lives among them and they do not have the ability to impose such a belief on others. As an aside, they aren’t racist, the !Kung, they welcome whites into their village and treat them with great hospitality.
Failure to see other people as equals is what leads to violence and oppression.
That is a simple truth we should all understand. If I see you as an equal, perhaps even literally as a brother or sister, then I am going to treat you well. That’s not a new idea of course. It’s the Golden Rule. It’s “Do unto others as you would have them to unto you”. It is what our Founding Fathers meant when they said that “All men are created equal.” You and I, and the Bushman, are equal in terms of the rights we have been endowed with by our Creator.
Slavery, throughout history, has been the result of this. We tend to think of modern slavery, which is white colonialists taking African slaves. But slavery is much older than that and the vast majority of people enslaved throughout history have not been black. What they have in common though is that those who took them as slaves saw them as lesser than themselves. People are not and cannot be property.
Hitler killed the Jews, Gypsies, and homosexuals because they were not of the “Master Race”. He used the supposed superiority of one race to subjugate other people who did not fit the mold of that race or who might, as he saw it, taint the bloodline. So here racism was used not only against other races, but against religions and sexual orientation, but it was racism, nonetheless, that caused Hitler to kill homosexuals. Not the inferiority of their race but the superiority of the “Master Race”.
Marx, Lenin, Stalin, and others, have used, not racism, but inequality, as their tool to oppress as well. Though it’s not based on race it is of the same family of thought. One class of person is superior to another and can therefore oppress the other class. While Communism appears to turn this upside down, it doesn’t. The idea is the same.
“The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his ‘natural superiors,’ and has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, callous ‘cash payment.’ It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervor, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom—Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.
The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honored and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage laborers.
The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has reduced the family relation to a mere money relation.” (Karl Marx,
See how he paints the bourgeoisie as being less than the worker by virtue of their belonging to a certain class? That’s the same thinking as the racists.
“Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Workingmen of all countries unite!” ― Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto
The working man, the proletarians, are not equal so they can rise up and oppress the oppressor! That is nothing but a justification for tyranny and is no more righteous than any other form of slavery or oppression.
Equality of Rights is the Road to Peaceful Coexistence and can only be had when you accept that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. That means looking at the so-called savage and holding him as equal and looking at the so-called rich, elite, educated, and famous, and admitting they too are your equal. You stand as a single entity in and of yourself fully encapsulating all the rights that all other men all over the world possess. No one gives them to you and you give them to no one.
No man is greater or lesser than you.
Below is the story that inspired this train of thought.
‘Every other commercial has an interracial couple in it’: White supremacist who stabbed 66-year-old black man to death with a sword in New York reveals he was on a ‘practice run’ to fight against ‘black guys leading good white women astray’
White racist James Harris Jackson, 28, accused of fatally stabbing Timothy Caughman, 66, says he killed the black man as part of a ‘practice run’ to deter white women from interracial relationships