Your racism has nothing to do with me, so I shall not burden myself with your madness.
I’ve experienced a number of racial incidents over the years. I was never one to just quietly accept racist or verbal abuse. When it happened I would respond in what I thought was an appropriate fashion.
Either just calling them on their nonsense in a very light hearted way, for example: “You really don’t seem very happy. What’s really going on with you love?” and then watching them bristle and bluster and offer a few more expletives.
Or, when it felt appropriate, for example if my children were with me, then I would call the police and demand that they take action. Racial abuse is a crime after all. But my calling the police wasn’t really about the racist person in that instance. My focus was simply to teach my children that they didn’t have to put up with abuse in any form. Certainly not abuse based on the colour of their skin.
It’s not my job to carry your hatred.
Once I understood that a racist person’s response or attack had absolutely nothing to with me, I no longer needed to carry their hatred, or language, as something that reflected negatively on me. I understood that the person was simply indoctrinated. They were not in their right mind. They were completely lost in their conditioning and programming.
I saw that their distorted thinking has absolutely nothing to do with who I am. Nothing at all. Carrying the burden of someone else’s distorted thinking is not for me to do.
It has to be said that being actively on a spiritual path supported me to free myself from burdensome thinking and beliefs. It allowed me to see acts of racism and acknowledge or challenge them when needed, but not carry the burden as my own.
Now of course individual racism is not as impacting as systemic racism, but the same principle still applies. Laws that are based on racist beliefs need to be challenged. Employers who discriminate based on racial bias need to be held responsible for their actions. Those who use religious texts to justify their hatred need to be called out on their nonsense, and held accountable.
Racism isn’t sane, balanced or worthy.
And yet what that systemic racism implies about me, still has nothing to do with me. The racist system’s premise is not balanced, sane, or worthy of me to absorb into my psyche. Therefore, why would I carry that distortion as my burden? That would be madness and I no longer choose to participate in madness.
I don’t dismiss the impact of racist beliefs on people, communities, or countries. The impact is real. It has to be challenged, and challenged in logical and sane ways. But you are more effective at challenging these sad misperceptions when you realise that other people’s racism has nothing to do with what’s true.
Then you can take action from a place of non-reactivity. You can respond, you don’t always have to react. Reactivity has its place however, it’s definitely a step up from passivity. When it’s combined with strategic action, you will definitely get the racist’s systems attention.
You can use the laws at your disposal to insist upon change. If there are no laws, then you fight strategically and align with others who have sane responses, to create new laws. Is it easy? No. Is it necessary? Yes.
If I were to believe that it was simply a racist policeman to blame for gunning down someone based only on that person’s race, then I would feel disempowered. Whereas, if I were to challenge those who hired this man as someone fit to uphold the law, I would then be working with something that I could change. Both the racist policeman and the systemic flaws need to be addressed in tandem.
All ‘isms’ are based on insane thinking.
Yet neither the individual racism, nor the systemic racism, has anything to do with me. Racial bias, prejudice and any other race-based ‘isms’ are not based on facts or sane thinking. They are distortions of the mind. They are about fear of otherness plain and simple.
And the most bizarre thing about fear of otherness is that it reflects the fearful mind and that mind’s inability to embrace change, accept paradox and hold itself accountable for its actions and beliefs. That for sure, is not for me to carry around as my burden. So I choose not to.
This article was previously published at the Good Men Project and is reprinted here with their permission.
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