Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Racism and Misogyny

(Primal, CAI 2011)
I think that there is a primal fear at the heart of racism and misogyny. The fear is that they, themselves, will be treated in the way that female-bodied and darker-hued people are treated.

They realize, somewhere in themselves, that their own sense of dignity, ego, id, self, the "god in a body" that they are, would not tolerate such treatment. They feel in their guts that, if they were treated that way, they would retaliate, they would become violent, they would look for any opportunity to undermine and damage the oppressors. They would be hatefully angry.

They know that they would not be stoic and okay with it. That's why they demand subservience, domination, control. They can't believe that female-bodied and darker-hued people are actually better people than them. Stronger. More dignified. More resilient. More capable of standing up in the face of intolerable behaviour and NOT striking back, not getting violent, not damaging, but instead, seeking peace. If they were us, they would be angry, so if we are not angry we must be sub-human, and if we are angry, we are dangerous.

They are afraid because they know they couldn't handle for a minute what we handle every single minute. They believe that, if they stop controlling us through fear and power, we could turn it on them, because that is what they would do. So instead, they assume that our general attitude of getting on with life despite oppression means that our feelings are less acute, that we simply don't feel dignity and pride the way they do. They assume that because we are accustomed to humiliation, shaming, degrading, overpowering, demeaning treatment, we must be lesser than them to tolerate it.

That's why even a glimpse of our anger feels so threatening despite their enormous power. It belies their assumption that we are less, and hints at the fact that we are, in fact, more. They are terrified of their own weakness in the face of our actual strength, which we have learned, through oppression, to cultivate with control they never had to practice. They have never learned how. That's why they can't muster a response that doesn't shoot spittle out their outraged mouths.

They are weaklings. They can't handle even 1/100th of what they dish out, and they don't understand how to respect us when we do handle it, when we handle it well, when we handle it with grace and dignity, and even manage to give them respect in the absence of reciprocation. They couldn't do it, so we mustn't be doing it, we must simply be less, feel less, have lesser consciousness, have lesser humanity. It's easy to believe that. Because if we were fully human, like them, we would rise up and kill them, the way they know in their hearts they would do if anyone treated them the way they treat us. I'd like to believe we wouldn't. I think we're stronger than that.

I think most of us actually want to help them learn to live in peace with us, rather than pitting our power against their weapons. We don't want to hurt them, we want them to stop hurting us. We want them to acknowledge that our humanity is at least equal to theirs. We want them to know that we do feel, acutely, just as consciously as them. That our gods in our bodies are not lesser than theirs. Bodies are bodies, whether they come female-gendered or male, whether they come in peach or beige or any hue at all. We are all humans, all equally entitled to the abundance of the planet, and we want them to stop acting like that's not true, and expecting us all to play along or they will control, harm, and even kill us. We want them to acknowledge that we are all human beings of equal worth. That's not unreasonable. But they can't handle even entertaining this line of thinking, because the implications are too enormous to their fragile egos and straw-man power structures.

What happens next?