Racist, Feminist, Earth-ist; Why I identify As All Three
It is way past time that we all admit we are racist. It is, of course, a loaded word. But here is what it loads up for me, upon years of reflection: I believe we are not only biologically wired to unconsciously avoid the unfamiliar, I think we are even more-so socialized to do so.
Does this mean we should accept “racism” as natural? Absolutely not. We have seen the death and destruction that Other-ism smashes about with its clumsy, monolithic, mental bricks. We are raised, all people, to unconsciously absorb, (and often consciously too,) the false narratives that most of our difficulties can be blamed upon the Other. In the Trump era, this means people feel a sense of relief to blame Mexicans, Muslims, “inner cities”, progressives, women, and so many more. Get rid of those Others and we’re great again, right?
We should, instead, assume the best people that we can be are cooperative, fair and equal. This is an attainable goal. We cannot move forward with the denial of scapegoating. Much like the chronic alcoholic with a bottle of pure and white, vodka hidden in the toilet tank, we must first admit damage is being done by our bad habits. Damage is done by our bad habits. Let’s not lie to ourselves any more about it.
Recently, research of Cheddar Man, in Somerset, UK, revealed a man who lived in the UK as recently as 10,000 years ago. The remains indicate by his DNA, that Cheddar Man (Yes, I know the name sounds like some racist, orange nationalist) was a brown skinned individual.
Now for the feminist part. Many people are intimidated by the label feminist. One of them happens to be our President Trump, who intrinsically understands that he needs the basest of his base, to find some Otherism blaming in those crazy, radical men hating “feminists.” He completely ignores such facts as President Obama (and his entire family) is feminist. He ignores that Nobel prize winners — not just Malala Yousafzai — but every modern, recognized peace prize winner, is a feminist. The nation is far more eager to blame Putin for losses of 2016, or even blame Hillary Clinton, before they are eager to recognize that racism, sexism, and piles of fascist fundamentals also played a part. Everything from gerrymandering, to money in politics played its role in the new normal — also known as the Trumpocalypse, to many of us. The idea of a white, male leader has its origins in rigid roles assigned and too easily accepted by we the sheeple.
Only when we admit the F word is not a dirty word, but a necessary one, can we move forward to seize a future which even the POTUS so craftily disparages, saying: “I’m for women. I’m for men. I’m for everyone.” This deftly ignores the fact that feminism is also for equality, while at the same time putting the Nobel Peace prize winners in their place as if they do not think “I’m for everyone,” is a nice sentiment.
Then, there are people like the dreamers. Trump has also deftly deflected racist rhetoric against dreamers by noting that “Americans” too, have an American dream. This distracts everyone from the real goal, protecting liberty, equality and justice for all, a goal we by which we are all obligated to live our lives. This word play is infuriating to those hard-working Americans who have worked for justice and a shared American dream for most of their lives. It is as if those who work hardest for protection of justice and equality must be unpatriotic because they object to flaws in the soothing, smooth dream of American greatness. People who serve, whether in the intelligence community or for improved community intelligence are necessarily flies in the ointment of the great, American jam. We need a flavorful, and beautiful jam to really honor the diverse melting pot that is the very foundation for all of America’s greatness. As in all nature, diversity is strength.
Science is what leads me to the last “Earth-ist” claim. I am an unabashed Earth-ist. What does that mean? Our addictions to technology and fossil fuels lead too many of us to disconnect to nature. Rigid hierarchical claims of ‘some being better than others’, leads to wholesale destruction of our supportive biosphere for the short-term goals of profits. Why, not, say our fellow Earth-ists, reclaim our belonging to biology? Why not admit our connections and belonging to our Mother Earth herself? Why not recognize, as Darwin does, that cooperation, not just competition, allows life to flourish?
In order to protect and defend those hurt by social injustice, to find common appreciation and social order, why not choose the strength and resilience demonstrated by the power of gravity pulling the sun up over the horizon and giving all of us, just one more chance?
The protection of clean air, water, food and soil, was not always a bi-partisan issue. It is a survival issue. It celebrates the American dream by pointing out that our values are for protecting and defending one another, not divisively blaming one another.
In regards to racism, there truly is just one human race, and the things we do to one another are deplorable in that context. This is why I cannot deny racism, but I can explore its origins and its narrow, very narrow, definition of race. We all lived in Africa for extremely lengthy epochs before we all migrated to fill up the world just a mere 50–60,000 years ago. Our race is very young, yet somehow, we likely extinguished all the other homo species.
It does not do any good to try to pretend we are a Post racist species, but it must do some good to recognize that not only are we all family, we are all Earthlings. We need to start seeing ourselves at such, and quit digging ourselves into traps, and devouring the very lives we are given. Homo sapiens lived with this planet for 200,000 years before quite recently, dividing up into tribes so exclusive that they eliminated all the other homo species, among them Homo Erectus, Neanderthal, Floresciensis, Habilis and Heidelbergensis. Although we do not have the full files to support racism had anything much to do with all of these extinctions, there is no reasons not to take an informed and educated guess based on how very many other species we have extinguished, just since the last one hundred years.
This then, is the true task of Ecopsychology, to spread the wonderful news of our belonging. We can enlarge the circle of creation, even if it means listening to the fears of racist, sexists and every other argument against progress. Science, knowledge, and above all natural laws should be embraced and utilized to demonstrate that a less racist, sexist, and unjust world can be the greater world we all are obligated to create.