This blog post started as a “simple” response to someone on Facebook who appears to have racist motivations for her posts, but I decided to imagine for a moment that she isn’t really an intentional racist. Partly, I did this because I’ve now—twice!—read Our Political Nature: The Evolutionary Origins of What Divides Us, and I realize we don’t always know why we do what we do.
I thought about how I would explain things to her if she’s really just lacking knowledge, as opposed to actually deliberately embracing the racism that has been quite literally ingrained in all of us even before birth. In short, validating instinct, instead of intelligence.
And, so, it turned into a blog post, as opposed to a Facebook comment.
Disclaimer: I’m white. And though I’m a Jew, I’ve only been singled out to be punished for that sin a few times (that I know of) in my life. I was once sucker-punched on the street because—as my friend, Ron Little, discovered after chasing down the person who did it—I was a “dirty Jew.” There have been a few other incidents, but they pale (pun intended) in comparison to what my darker-skinned friends deal with on a daily basis. They pale enormously compared to what my black clients deal with minute-by-minute in modern ‘Murca. Almost all of the time, I can pass well enough to benefit from white privilege, without even trying.
But back to my point.