Racism ... Just Get Over It?
Date: Tuesday, August 06 @ 20:16:42 UTC
By Onika Henry
August 06, 2013
Racism is oppressive, dehumanising and has been systematically put in place to keep people from achievement and advancement, based on a belief of superiority over another or "more worthy than" the other. I do not recall a time when certain groups of people EVER had the power to enforce racism. To suggest certain people practise racism and "reverse racism" when they discriminate against others, is in my opinion, an indication of ignorance of what racism really is and how it operates. To me it suggests a denial of truth and/or an inability to see and feel from another's perspective.
Those who have never lived the life as a member of an oppressed group, or who have not inherited the sometimes intangible but real effects of hundreds of years of slavery and dehumanisation (which continues in more subtle and disguised forms today) may find it difficult to understand how the weight of racism can crush the spirit. While for some, living the life of a civil and human rights fighter or activist on a daily basis is a fine and comfortable choice, for others, the "fight" takes on the persona of a moral commitment to live life holistically and to promote well-being of self, family, friends and colleagues, which in and of itself is another way of dealing with oppression.
Quite frankly, I'd prefer not to incite anything that escalates in the shedding of blood or the taking of lives, but it seems to be a path the human race often ends up pursuing in these fights for justice and equal rights and respect. I look forward to the day when we have evolved beyond that. There must be another "container" or "space" or "ritual" for the processing and neutralising of the toxic ... isn't there?
For outsiders to prescribe a solution to the oppressed or to judge the oppressed's reaction and responses as "inadequate" or "wrong," without acknowledging that healing needs to take place in a "safe space" which in most cases does not exist on a daily for the oppressed, is to invalidate the experience of said oppressed and to me, seems like a gross underestimation and gross miscalculation of the depth of damage caused by centuries of trauma (both recognised and unrecognised); centuries of replayed and relived trauma that has NEVER been as systematically treated as it has been systematically imposed or meted out.
Those who have studied the social sciences and psychology know the complexity and success rates of long term treatment that is required for clients who have been subjected to abuse whether it was short term or long term and whether said abuse started in childhood, adolescence or adulthood. Apply this knowledge to HUNDREDS of years of hellish physical, emotional, mental, sexual and verbal abuse and oppression, without therapy or treatment, coupled with society's expectation of performance and society's continuing forms of racism and oppression. And then consider the basic human will and need to survive and to have Maslow's hierarchy fulfilled. Those groups which have had hundreds of years of freedom to practice and learn self-love, self-respect, and respect and love for others beside self, and the freedom to do so in a 'safe space' on their own self-imposed or socially agreed terms, seem to forget, or do not recognise that this privilege has yet to be created for others to engage in their own healing and self development. If you can consider all of that and still think some people should just "get over it;" that they should just "keep fighting," (as if fighting is a simple, attractive and viable option for the majority), then my view of you and many specimens of the human race has once again been confirmed.
And yet still I rise.