Are you a racist?
I’d like to think I’m not, but truth is — it’s a constant challenge for me to not be one.
See, I was born this way.
It has nothing to do with my family. It has nothing to do with the fact that I’m from both a religious and ethnic minority in my home country. And it has nothing to do with the fact that I’d often get into fights when I was a kid.
In fact, like me — you were probably born a racist too.
Are Babies Racist?
Researchers at the university of Washington have suggested that babies show a racial bias when choosing playmates. The experiment went this way:
First, researchers allowed a group of white babies to watch, while two white adults gave toys to two other white adults. One of the adults was fair when dividing the toys (i.e. he divided the limited number of toys equally). The other was purposely unfair.
Later, they allowed the babies to choose between the two adults. Guess who got more votes?
Right, 70 per cent of the time, the babies preferred to play with the fair adult.
But that was boring. So, the researchers decided to throw in some racial politics.
This time, they allowed a group of white babies to watch, as toys were again given out by two adults. This time, one of the recipients was white, and one was Asian. One of the adults was fair when dividing toys.
The other one was purposely unfair, with a racial bias. He let half the babies see him giving more toys to the Asian. Then he let the other half see him give more toys to the white person.
When the babies had to choose between the two adults to play with, guess what happened?
Right, our lovable babies preferred the unfair adult (those who had seen him give more toys to the white person). And you thought babies were innocent…
As Time magazine puts it:
The implication: unfairness is bad, unless someone from your clan is getting the extra goodies.
Racism, the Survival Strategy
Now, you may be thinking right now: “But that’s just natural, everyone has a tendency to prefer people of their own kind.”
Most people readily agree that having prejudice towards other races is immoral. But what about having a special preference for one’s own kind? Is that really so bad?
Sorry to burst your bubble, but that’s racist too.
Perhaps 15,000 years ago, when mankind was a tribal bunch of hunter-gatherers — racism was not only useful, but necessary. You depended heavily on your own tribe for food, water, and most importantly — for protection, when the friendly tribe down the river attacked you.
In our modern society, is it necessary anymore?
Surely, racism has passed its time.
Unity Without Racism
We’ve all heard Aesop’s fable about how a single stick can easily be broken, but a bunch of sticks tied together can’t. It tells us that when people unite, they are stronger.
Which is true. We’re all social creatures who depend on each other.
Unity is amazing — but it doesn’t need to be based on the outdated concept of skin color.
Today, we should instead unite for noble causes. And worthy ideas. Things that will help humanity – instead of divide it.
The deeper I look through the Internet (and all the racial comments people make on Facebook), the more I realize that racists are just afraid. Afraid of being alone. Afraid of having their rights taken away. And afraid that other races are trying to screw them over.
I know, because I feel the same fear too.
Times have changed, wouldn’t you agree?
Being Human is Being Above Nature
But as natural as those feelings are, we need to fight them. Just like how civilized humans know how to deal with their anger, instead of killing people. Or how civilized men know how to channel their lust, instead of raping people. Those feelings are natural too, but our humanity helps us deal with them.
It’s natural to be racist. But to be human — we must strive to be more than that.
Because too many conflicts have been fought and too much blood has been spilled. Too many hearts have been broken. And too many beautiful relationships have been destroyed, some even before they began.
Racism can’t exist if all of us make an effort to actively fight it. To go out of our way to understand people of other colors. And win them over with kindness.
So, I’m asking you today. Could you do that?
If I can, I’m sure you can too.
After all, I was born a racist. But I’m not gonna die one.