I would hope not, but, sadly, I am. I feel anxiety when a black man looks at me. I have twinges of the feeling that Asians do not have standard human emotions. All of the various ways a human can see the person who is clearly different are in me.
“But, I have black friends, people I like very much….” I do, actually. Well, one.
Racism is not hatred of an ethnic group, or individuals. It is not even mild distaste. Racism is the belief that people who look different are fundamentally different. This can take two forms: the “subhuman” and the “supernatural”. Rebecca Watson gives a great rundown of the latter, ” ‘black people are magic…’ “. Both have the virtue of excusing one from facing reality; “black people (brown people, yellow people, red people) are not REALLY like me”. Racism is learned behavior from being embedded in a racist culture. It permeates the world we live in. I have little expectation of changing this part of myself completely. At most I hope to develop a few overrides that will help me not put my foot in my mouth too often.
For all the differences between human cultures, the constants of human nature are ubiquitous. We all want to be in charge of our own lives. We all want to do the things that interest us. We all want to feel like a part of our society (you “lone wolves” are no exception). We all want the future to be good. We all want to be treated fairly. We all feel pride, shame, serenity, anxiety, certainty, and confusion. We all want our children to do well for themselves. We all want to take pride in our work. We all have frustrations with taxes. We all find our approaching death disquieting.
We are not to blame for the circumstances of our birth, but, if we want a just and prosperous civilization, we need to recognize the truth and change our culture.