a mystical möbius — curating facts, ideas, text, and media to create a contemplative space.
Déjà vu all over again
We’ve talked about it here on the blog previously; e.g., a rather potent quote by Anaïs Nin that leverages Jungian wisdom. She said: “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are [my emphasis].” This doesn’t end with subjective personal sense perceptions; but also influences our rational perceptions of others and our discernment on claims of what is rational and what is fact.
Factors like confirmation bias and negative partisanship (e.g., “…as we are.”) function as filters in how we decide regarding claims on fact. As all facts are interpreted, we need some shared understanding on how we know stuff in any given discourse. These two videos provide some crucial background:
Our filters influence how we interpret difficult issues humans face as individuals and as communities. Those aspects of ourselves that we can’t abide (like being “a racist” even in an internalized Systemic Racism sense) are rejected and repressed into an unconscious shadow.
Last week we began looking at how this works in relationship to the reality of systemic racism and anti-racism. This week let’s peek at the intersection of some effects of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and anti-racism in our Social Dilemma times. In as much as everyone growing up in America has internalized Systemic Racism [iSR], in that sense everyone is racist. This is a baseline systems reading of the situation:
When I was a kid in the Midwest sixty years ago, White supremacist ideology [Wsi] was willful and unapologetically right out in the open. It reflected the legacy of systemic racism—e.g., Wsi and its artifacts both historical and extant.
With President Lyndon Johnson’s signature, the 1964 Civil Rights Act decreed that Wsi, and the inequality that flowed from it, were over—well, according to the brand new law, anyway. New laws rarely change unapologetic minds, let alone hearts. Many people were only able to begin having a proper disdain for racism by denying that part of themselves and repressing it into their unconscious mind.
So, the Wsi that was unapologetically expressed one day was illegal the next; and yet there was no truth and reconciliation process, or, sadly, any healing process of any kind. People were basically told, “OK, we’re all color blind now, it’s the law, so act like it.” Political correctness became an intimidating thing.
In practical terms for most people, whatever unreconciled dimensions of one’s own relationship (both conscious and unconscious) with racism that remained (remember, just previously, racism was OK fine, out in the open) was repressed, shoved down so one would not somehow expose oneself to the cruel consequences of shame and shunning.
People didn’t talk about race, far too risky.
“If no one talks about it, then it doesn’t exist.” —James Baldwin
‘Color blind!’ ‘Act like it!’ And, now, one form of “cancel culture” is political correctness on steroids.
This is how so many people (and their offspring) became “fragile” on the race issue (that is, they shoved their own willful racism and/or unaddressed iSR into their ‘shadow’).
Even if we willfully ignore information about appropriately addressing our iSR, we overtly (unconsciously, too) deny “racism” is any part of us. However, there’s a naturally spontaneous mechanism that exposes our unconscious condition. We tend to find an irresistible (e.g., we “trigger”) way to project our unwanted parts of ourselves.
In general terms, in our Social Dilemma times many have found a place to unload the racism they’ve internalized, denied, and repressed to shadow.
Generally what happens is a celebrity—probably as a result of unaddressed iSR of their own—will say something very vague that still seems problematic to some. Then, of course, based on little more than a gray screen of a social media post, a virtual mob attacks the celebrity as a “racist!” Probably a “KKK-racist” for effect. By projecting my unaddressed and unconscious iSR onto the poor fool who let their unaddressed iSR be exposed, I am able to present a face that says: I AM NOT A RACIST!
A recent example is the story of Daniel Elder. After a particularly difficult night in his Nashville community (Courthouse set on fire) he posted to Instagram:
Granted, not smart. However, given that Elder posted it, he activated the projection mechanism in many people.
*The Left* mobbed Elder by projecting their iSR shadows onto him.
*The Right* projected their iSR onto Elder protestors [e.g., “woke anti-racism” is racist, claims *theRight*].
Both sides projected their confirmation bias and negative partisanship.
How do I know? [I’ll have space to unpack that next week.]
Our unaddressed internalized Systemic Racism creates problems for us in various ways personally and as communities.
Next week: post-truth and epistemology (how we know stuff). Come see.
[this post approx. 825 words (3 min. read)]
I never know what I’ve said until I hear the response. What did you hear?