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How to Keep Racism Alive Forever

If you ever study human psychology, one of the most fundamental concepts you’ll learn is the the idea of group psychology. There’s a basic human tendency to identify with groups of common characteristics – your country, race, gender, religion, favored political party, sports team, employer, family, whether you believe pineapple belongs on pizza–the list is endless. Naturally, we tend to favor the groups to which we belong and more often look negatively to outsiders of the group. For example, you’re more likely to believe a negative story about a politician from the other party while doubting it if it’s about someone in your own party. If you witness a marital dispute, you’re more likely to take the side of your own gender, regardless of the circumstances. If someone spills beer on you at a football game, you’re more likely to overlook it if it’s a fellow fan wearing the same jersey. In prison and in gangs, membership inevitably falls along racial lines. The examples go on and on. This group psychology has an evolutionary component, as many of our ancestors survived by banding in clans, treating outsiders as the threat they often were.

So, when it comes to racism, you’re fighting against fundamental human group psychology, but only for one reason–the media, politicians, and race baiters like Joy Reid and Al Sharpton continue to emphasize race in EVERYTHING. Think about it–why don’t we separate people by eye color–the Blues, the Browns, etc.? Eye color is a physical characteristic just like skin color. Why is one treated as insignificant while the other is singled out for group membership in virtually every part of education, mainstream media, entertainment, and corporate politics? Two areas where racism is almost nonexistent is within military units and sports teams. Why? Because, race is simply not discussed. The group psychology shifts to your unit and your teammates. If you want racism to disappear at a society level, stop talking about it! Shift the group focus to “fellow Americans,” or even better, “fellow human beings.” If you want to keep racism alive forever, keep emphasizing it in everything we do, such as the NFL’s ridiculously divisive new practice of playing a “black national anthem” before the Star Spangled Banner. I’m willing to bet 99 percent of Americans never even knew such a song existed before a new way to divide us was invented.

I remember a controversial South Park episode that mocked racism as well as debates over flags. It was face-palmingly crude, of course, but it emphasized a good point. In the episode, the town of South Park erupted in debate on changing their flag, which depicted a bunch of white stick figures standing around a black stick figure hanging from a noose. Half the town of course wanted to change it because of the racist depiction while the other half wanted to stick to tradition. For school, the boys had to argue alternate sides of the debate. The boys who argued for changing the flag discussed how violence is wrong but didn’t mention anything about race. Chef, the black school cook, was angry that the boys didn’t talk about the racism in the flag. It wasn’t until later that he figured out the boys just saw a bunch of people standing around a noose. They simply didn’t notice the colors. It wasn’t until the adults pointed out to them that, it’s racism because those are white people and that’s a black man, that they saw the difference. The town later compromised and made all the stick figures multi-colored.

The crude, but fair, point made is, if you want to keep racism alive forever, keep pointing it out. Keep emphasizing it. Keep dividing us by identifiable groups, where basic human psychology will push us to see “our side” and “their side.” If you want to make it go away, treat race as nothing more than a physical characteristic like hair or eye color.

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