And Then There Were None
Is Systemic Racism a Thing?
The short answer is yes, but before you either agree or disagree with that, read on. Extremists on the Right and the Left will be upset with my conclusions.
Human life has been beset with competition unto death for many thousands of years. The predatory characteristics of humans are obvious and easily documented. When the prophet Isaiah said that no one is good, he was not exaggerating. Our high opinions of ourselves fly in the face of this universal truth.
Until they are enticed, cajoled or threatened into outrageous behavior, most people will insist that they would never do heinous things to other humans, but when push comes to shove, most of them will. God has known this about us since the beginning of history.
When enough people get together to assert that humans would naturally be good but for those who are preventing that goodness from emerging, watch out. That always signals an epidemic of bloodletting where the “good” people kill the “bad” people so that they can build their just society.
Why do these attempts to create a utopia always fail? Because they deny the universal truth that no one is good. Not me. Not you. Every form of bigotry the world over stands upon a false sense of goodness like a sandcastle on the beach at low tide.
The “good” people, when confronted with their inevitable failure to bring about their just society, instead of admitting the flaws in their plans and in their characters, will blame their failure on those who dared to criticize them. They will not tolerate dissenting views because their pride will insist that they are right, no matter the facts.
All forms of oppression emerge from the universality of our false sense of self-worth. Anything that elevates your opinion of yourself at someone else’s expense is fair game. It may be your race or your religion or membership in a country club. But it’s not simply because you’re a racist or a cultist or an elitist, It’s because you are a self-aggrandizing, narcissistic human. Your circumstances may determine to whom you think you are superior, but you will always find someone you can compare yourself to favorably to boost your fragile self-esteem.
If I fully express my false sense of goodness, I can become the hero who will win the day, or if not win it, raise havoc and ruin the day for my opponents. Unlike Don Quixote, I won’t stop at tilting my lance at windmills but will attack those I deem inferior and therefore undeserving of remaining onstage. The yahoos in white sheets hate people of color. They want to exterminate or subjugate anyone who is not European. The “woke” thugs on the Left don’t have such small-minded aspirations. They want to eliminate anyone who disagrees with them, no matter their race or color. In their grand utopian future there will be degrees of “wokeness.” If a person is not “woke” enough, they will be confined to the “dustbin of history.”
Many luminaries have taken on the task of saving the planet. How heroic! Grandiose narcissists could have no higher aspiration than that. The biodegradable halos they have placed on their heads give them the status of secular saints. How can you argue with a savior of the planet? These crusaders for Gaia cannot be wrong so don’t dare suggest they may be in error. All who disagree must be deplorable and delusional.
The elitist zealots don’t feel superior to others because of race, creed or color. They feel superior to everyone, including each other. They “don’t like anybody very much,” to quote a line from the folksong sung by the Kingston Trio in the nineteen-sixties.
Systemic racism is a subset of the universal delusion that we are basically good but for the people who provoke us into doing bad things. And what does God call all this? Pride. It is our original sin and it will plague us until Jesus comes again.