When You Cannot See Why ‘AllLivesMatter’ is Racist

Why are people racist? Why do we hold these warped beliefs of bigotry so close to heart? Why is it that folks can say ‘I’m not a racist’ and follow that up with ‘but….’ and have their pants not explode from the lie? The emotional aspect of racism and the hate aside, the science of racism and bigotry is deep rooted in a person’s psyche.

If All Lives Matter then protect the ones being wiped out

If All Lives Matter then protect the ones being wiped out

Human cognition requires that we create categories and labels. It is nice and very cumbaya to say, ‘I don’t label anything because I see everyone as unique and individual.’ The reality is that if you really did that then you would be crushed with the amount of information that you would take in at any given point in time. Labeling and categorizing is a way of keeping the brain tidy- you go here and he goes there. Where this can be damaging and mean is when we also stereotype people and believe that.

For example, the labeling will see a male, probably young adult and black. The stereotype sees a thug who wants to rape you and steal your purse. The labeling sees a male, adult with a tattoo. The stereotype sees a thug who wants to rape you and steal your purse. If every 18 year old black man is a potential rapist and thief, you would have completely discounted Neil Degrasse Tyson when he was on a train to go meet up with Carl Sagan.

If I were to tell you that most serial rapists and killers are actually white men, would you create a stereotype that all white men are serial killers and rapists? By the way, most serial killers and rapists are white men. Also, the majority of deaths by terrorism on US soil have been committed by white men and yet we have all brown men who are possibly Middle Eastern and maybe even Muslim or even women with head coverings stereotyped as terrorists.

Why don’t we fear white men? Why are all white men not randomly selected by the TSA for a more thorough search? Why don’t we have raving lunatics screaming on the radio about this white or that white guy? Why don’t we have Halloween masks of arbitrary white guy as something to fear?

Racists see what everyone sees but only registers in their brain the information that confirms their prejudice. They will disregard the profile of a serial killer and rapist and focus on that case in Arkansas where a woman was raped by a black man. This is called belief perseverance- we will hold our beliefs so tightly despite evidence to the contrary. Thus they can say things like, ‘I’m not a racist but those blacks …’ and follow it up with ‘I’m just telling you the truth.’ That is the truth according to the filters and stereotypes that you have created in your mind.

The reality is that the majority enforces the stereotypes. Whites are the majority and the minorities will constantly get the shaft and the blame because it is easier to pick on the smaller groups than to look at their own behavior. Trump can pick on Mexicans and hide behind ‘I love all Hispanics’. Hasselback can say ‘Why isn’t #BlackLivesMatters considered a hate group’ and still embrace a black guest (to prove she is not a racist). That’s why your Facebook ‘friend’ can post ‘#AllLivesMatter’ and speak of inclusion while condemning racism. They are oblivious that the stereotypes are engrained in them so deeply that to let them go would be to admit that they are racist. They believe that #AllLivesMatter is inclusive while in reality it is a blatant ignorance to the fact that Blacks are killed by police on the order of 1 in 60,000 as opposed to whites who are killed on the order of 1 in 200,000. #BlackLivesMatter is a call to remember that they matter, too! If you don’t see that then please reread this post until something shakes loose.

4 comments

  • I was raised with a lot of the stereotypes you mentioned here. I often have knee-jerk reactions when driving through a city alone at night – but eventually I realized it wasn’t just black teens that made me nervous – it was any young male who walked with a certain kind of swagger that put me on edge. White kids make me more nervous because they walk around with that sense of entitlement like they can get away with anything. Yep, I lock my doors.

    You can still have those knee-jerk reactions because they’re conditioned behavior, but the important thing is to stop and think for a second to remind yourself that you’re not that ignorant any more.

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