I have no black friends. I have no gipsy friends. I have no muslim friends. I also have no jewish friends.
I think us the white caucasians are the best. I mean, we must be. I know that we founded and led the world’s civilisation. I see us everywhere I look. All my friends are white. All my heroes are white. I am joking.
It is no surprise that I have no black friends, the odds are low. But it is a surprise I have no muslim friends or no gipsy friends. I know or have known some people in each category, but I have no such friends.
Therefore, what happens is that when I meet a random white caucasian person I feel safe and confident in my social perceptions and output. I know what to do, I know what to say. I am instantly likeable if I want to, and I know it. I have hundreds of hours of feedback imprinted in my cortex that guide me on how to behave, what to say, where to look, how to posture.
But what happens when I meet a random black person? I don’t know exactly what to say or what to do. It’s not that I want anything or do anything “openly” racist, it is the simple fact that I do unconscious segregation, the fact that I see the human in front of me as first black and then human which is the problem. But I know it and I am aware of it. How many are? I don’t blame myself, it is natural to behave like this, to experience certain moods or sentiments based on experience or lack of experience.
I know very little about actual real black people. There are almost none around. I have no experience with them, therefore I experience interaction with a black person as novelty, and by default I will get into fight or flight, or into higher default suspicion and so on and so forth.
But what about when I do have experience? I have plenty of experience with gipsy people. I still have no gipsy friends. When I meet a random gipsy person, with all due white guilt, I will be more alert than any other time. Why? Because, for my entire childhood gipsy kids stole my sandwiches, my clothing, bullied me and had the frustrating support of various gipsy adults, sometimes even their own parents.
Of course, I know this is wrong. But, between my childhood and this age I have today, I have had no other experience, except reading on them and their culture, being nice to them as a neighbor, doing my best to censor my various learned racism towards them and so on. But none of this is visceral, lived experience. Therefore I will clutch my pocket if some gipsy person is next to me on a crowded sidewalk, because I did have the lived experience of seeing little gipsy kids stealing from defenseless women’s bags while being guarded by gipsy adults. It sucks. This has been my experience, a random set of events,
and I do not want to generalize or claim that I know anything about the life of a gipsy person or the troubles that they have to go through because of being born in the wrong ethnic group for the past hundreds of years of endured persecution that they experienced in my country.
If I meet a random brown person, I assume he or she is a muslim. I will try inadvertently to find their gaze because I expect the unexpected by default. No muslim ever did me any harm. But I don’t know any. Yet I feel like I do because they’re everywhere in the worst of ways. Which is what journalism understands by diversity: showcase the worst!
But what I know by looking at myself is that the lack of diversity in my life made me an unwilling, guilt ridden, somewhat woke, but still:
natural born white supremacist.
I am writing this article for those who think racism is exclusively about the black people of the U.S. and that racism equals segregation and that they’re not racist because they have not hanged any black folk. You are doing it wrong.
LACK OF DIVERSITY CREATES INSTINCTIVE DISCRIMINATION. DISCRIMINATION CREATES SUBCONSCIOUS SEGREGATION.
I segregate without my slightest desire to do so. My natural instinct of forming groups of “my own” and groups of “others” will drive certain behaviors. These behaviors will in turn act as delimiters between me and people I don’t recognize as past experience or past experience of positive feedback. From these simple impulses, with all my outward rhetoric about universal acceptance, intellectual attempts at higher tolerance and deep core beliefs in humanity above all else, I will still see the others as attribute X (black, jew, muslim, gipsy, indian you name it) before seeing them as fellow humans.
By default I employ no such mechanisms on white caucasians, even if I don’t understand a word they’re saying, or don’t know anything about their country or culture, even if they are aggressive towards me, even if I am aggressive towards them. Just the looks, and I employ a whole different and wildly more permissive set of behaviors, on the spot without any conscious acknowledgement.
I’ve seen this by conscious retrospective introspection. How many people do this patiently? I think not too many. The result? You see it all around.
The solution? Diversity. DiVersity. DivERsity.
Which is hard. People congregate based on their identity. They are taught so as children and it is also easier. These groups should be encouraged to be more open by the large and dominant group of white caucasians being far more welcoming. Which fails to happen. How then do we make an open society other than by putting diversity into law?
It is not right to impose quotas, but it is the correct thing to do. Diversity into law makes up for millenia of failed interaction between humans, failed mixing of ideas, cultures and worldviews, based on skin color, ethnic group and, as far as diversity is concerned, sex, sexuality or religion.
Looking forward for the end of Trump’s failed presidency which will allow humanity to get back on track, your natural born white supremacist is working hard to cut the red tape mistakenly placed between him and other human beings of the world by ancient algorithms forming my social connectome.