I just got 200 comments and counting on my local atheist group when I posted this:
"On a matter of self reflection as a group I would like to discuss the idea of us calling anyone inferior or superior based on religion, race, gender, sexual orientation - as there all share the same medal of racism.
I realise that XXX may see this as the promotion of political correctness. I don't support political correctness as a means to an end. I do support freedom of speech. And I like the idea that we are free here to discuss opening about our attitudes.
What concerns me is that in the atheist community (on the many forums and you tubes that I've seen) I have observed what looked to me like, arrogance, prejudice, superiority and dismissive attitudes.
I realise that we all have our own nature - but I do support the idea that we can all try to act on science and reason - and not perpetrate racism or other harmful attitudes based on false beliefs about superiority. And think it important that we become more self aware of these issues and come up with effective methods that deal with it.
Preferably compassionate - based on the principles of Naturalism, rather than regressive aggression against it."
Is this a very contentious issue?
the thing is Erin - you can't now say that all men with dark skin are violent - you may wish to avoid them yourself, for fear of your personal safety - but there are white, yellow, pink, brown, light brown skinned people who are just as violent - and there are majority of us who are not outrageously violent in this manner.
The stereotype of "black violent man" is very pervasive--it's present in society and it's actually the exact caricature that a woman who killed her child and hid the body in a river used to try to blame someone else for it. There's an entire book of poetry written by someone, thinking from the point of view from that fictional man.
Erin, it sounds like you are xenophobic. Scared of other cultures and groups. Everyone is prejudiced--realizing why and making intelligent choices rather than allowing base fears to control you is what rational thought is about. I've been warned, a million times over, that men will rape and kill me, etc--and there's plenty of evidence to back me up on this. But do I consider all men rapists? no! do I consider all men as possible murderers? No! That'd be downright crazy. I instead take guys on an individual basis--unless I'm given a reason for fear or worry, I'm usually better friends with guys than I am with ladies my age(mostly due to similar interests/hobbies).
Being angry at the group of men who seriously mauled your friend--that is understandable. Blaming every person with brown skin is not--It's no better than the people who claim we're just like the atheist serial killers that are in jail--and thus we deserve to be put in jail, too.
I also understand being traumatized by seeing your friend in such shape, and knowing that people are willing to do such horrible things to other humans--it's not something that goes away so easily, especially if you remember it every time you see that friend. But it's all too easy to create a "big bad" in your mind--a caricature of the real thing that's easy to tack all your hatred and problems onto--and that's the same thing I've seen over and over again. Oversimplification of the issue--trauma, mental health, issues in society--these things aren't simple, they have layers and history and a vast amount of effort is required to wade through any of them--I'm not an expert.
But I daresay you don't think that -every- brown person is the same as those people. At least, I hope not.
Alice--you're right, violence exists in all colors. Trying to pin it on one skin tone results in the ever-popular "big black guy" character that you see in police sketches, wanted photos, etc--black people aren't more likely to be violent or commit crimes than whites are, they just tend to not have the money for excellent defense attorneys.
I am not xeniphobic in the least, but something I heard once was. "How many Black (Not Brown) gangs are there? And how many people do they kill each year?" So what if they are from the projects and poor families. Pick your damn self up and make something of yourself. I also grew up in the projects, and now I own my own home, a nice car, and I didn't have to sell drugs or hurt people to get any of it.
Erin - have a read about 'white privileged' - then have a read about 'the causal web' here: http://naturalism.org/
Then tell me how you got where you are, and why they are still where they are.
Alice--you're right, violence exists in all colors. Trying to pin it on one skin tone results in the ever-popular.
Sometimes it is possible that people who have been wronged by the society for long and are still underpriviledged, may be more violent than needed because of past history. Thu-is then becomes a social issue and need not be taken as apersonal one. While we sympathise with the white people who become targets of violence, I feel that there si a dormant superority complex even amon the whites that makes them look down on others. It is hidden and so is not apparent and therefore it is difficult to prove also. This hiddden racism makes people un-necessarily agressive too. This happens less with people who are exposet to international atmosphere and more with people with less or no international exposure. Such a kind of racism will invite physical or verbal violence. We can not say that we here are free from such a superiority complex.
I don't believe that white people are superior to for instance black people, however I do believe that certain cultures are superior to others, but I don't see why we should color code these cultures.
In the Netherlands for instance I believe that the inferior culture is that of fundamentalist (!!!) Islam, which is quite often practiced by recent white converts. The moderate Islam of most Turkish or Moroccan people is not something that I'm bothered about in the least, live and let live.
It is stupid to include or exclude people based upon their color of skin, it becomes even more ridiculous in an international environment as you said.
Any supiorioty, if it exists, is truely a personal attribute. Any idea of racial superioty is baseless. Also, being suprior and feeling superioe are two different things. If a person has supirior virtues, they show themselves without his making a show and he automatically gets respect. However, a person who, in reality does not posses the virtues of supioriority, displays an ego and invites trouble for himself and others.
Agreed, superiority is about what you do not about what you are. Anybody that bases their superiority not on how they treat other people but on their race or sex is simply an idiot.
I'm happy that I'm getting the feedback that is reinforcing my thoughts - I would also be happy to get feedback that didn't, so as to learn something - but it's reassuring to think that I've been on the right track - or same track as other thinkers.
Madhukar - excellent points.
You have been dishing out so many good discussions one after the other that I have started getting an infiriority complex!