As the overt racism and sexism of ages past has wound down to a trickle of what it once was (in part because it is basically illegal in many contexts, but probably in larger part simply beacuse people born into the world more recently simply grew up in a world without that and so live accordingly), I see more and more how the real fight now is to eradicate the "subtle" racism, the racism and sexism that is within everyone (well, at least in white males), that whispers into your ear bad things. And yet, there's something that doesn't quite sit right about that with me. Something about it feels off. And thinking about it, it hit me what that is.
It is self-flaggelation that one is supposedly required to do, to continually have an internal dialogue of berating oneself as a racist and sexist for daring to think thoughts that aren't 100% approved by an appropriate authority (such as official radical feminists or what have you). It is the vileness with oneself you are supposed to feel if, say, when a man looks at a woman, he even for the briefest of moments, thinks about how attractive he is and how he'd like to copulate with her, even if he really had no intention of doing so and says nothing about it. It is the vileness with oneself you are supposed to feel if you see someone of a race other than yourself (assuming your own race is white) and don't feel as comfortable as you'd feel with someone who was of your own race or even just the race of those you spend a lot of time with. And I think that, ultimately, that is bullshit. What is that? That is the Thought Police. That is not really about progressivism or equality. It is not sexist to have hormone appropriate thoughts. It is not racist to have experience-appropriate feelings of comfort with the familiar and discomfort with the unfamiliar. That is human and that is entirely unavoidable. And moreover, it is not what defines us. Actions are what define us. Not thoughts. It reminds me of religious people who literally self-flagellated for each impure thought. It is just sick. The brain isn't a machine. People aren't machines. Expecting that or assigning a negative label to that - sexism - racism - is just bullshit used to keep people down and to make the labeler feel superior.
Actions count. Thoughts don't. Sorry, they just don't. On a certain level, we all recognize this - free nations recognize this in their laws, where every criminal law requires actual action to be guilty. We rightly (generally) recognize that those regimes that make ideas or just thoughts alone illegal (by banning them or censoring them) to be morally bankrupt and evil.
Sure, it is good to be aware of what it means to be human - that we are more comfortable with the familiar, which means we will feel more comfortable in a room of people who look like our family because that is who we grew up with and spent time with. That is something that if you are aware of it, you can take steps to mitigate where it would be inappropriate to let that give too much influence to what should be, say, a business decision. But one can't vilify it - it is nothing more than a small part of the same line of thinking that makes people enjoy the company of lifelong friends much more than strangers, because they are familiar and comfortable.
Thinking about copulation with a random stranger based on his or her looks, that is also perfectly natural - and again, just part of the fun of life - so long as you don't act on it inappropriately or, when interacting with that person, forget that they are a person. But then that's something that most people have no trouble with at all.
For those that are trying to bring us to some sort of utopia where such thoughts never happen, and thereby define as bad a world where such thoughts are common, I personally think that such thinking is deranged and disconnected from reality. People will never do that. And they shouldn't have to. So long as people in their actions deal fairly with one another and don't take inappropriate actions with one another, that is all the utopia you could ever need or want.
Any regime that would not stop at punishing you for bad actions but would also seek to make you feel bad and even punish yourself for your very thoughts is an oppressive and evil regime and so people who would advocate it I would see as potential oppressors and evil people. I think this is something many religions try to do to people (such as the bullshit notion that by thinking about sex you are committing adultery).
Truly, what people need to do is just try not to be assholes to each other, and don't worry about what someone else is "really" thinking. It's really none of your business, so long as by their actions they treat you fairly.
4 years ago