Racism is Like a “Where’s Waldo” Picture
Sure there’s racism in the picture, but this picture is really about “ideologyism”. Read what I mean in this week’s edition of “Isn’t That Ironic?”.
There's Waldo - in case you didn't already know.
Last week’s blog post ruffled some feathers and resulted in some comments. I love your comments. Please let me know what you think. There comments inspired me to try again to explain last week’s post.
Have you ever seen a “Where’s Waldo” picture? They’re pure genius—amazingly simple yet amazingly complicated. Life’s like that.
The picture might be a beach scene. In one corner of the picture, an ordinary happy family is coming onto the beach with all their picnic and beach paraphernalia for a great day at the ocean. In another corner, a bunch of guys have pulled out musical instruments and are having a jam session. In the center are six young men hovering and fawning over a beautiful young woman in a bikini. The lifeguard sits atop his tall stand with a buff body and a perfect tan. Out in the ocean, a great white shark chases a terrified swimmer. Closer to shore, a wave has just swept away a young girl’s bikini top and she huddles in the water with her arms wrapped around her chest as a dog picks up her top and carries it down the beach. In another corner, four guys with empty beer cans strewn around them are having a drunken brawl.
The picture presents a momentary glimpse of humanity in all its joy, anger, despair, peace, fear, and angst. Everywhere you look you see something different. Life’s like that. We see what we choose to look at. Whatever we want to see is always there.
There is a simple spiritual principle behind this. What you focus your mind on grows. But what has that got to do with racism?
Of course black lives matter. But so do white lives and brown lives and yellow lives and green lives. Life matters. And so other things. It’s not anti-black to say that white lives matter. Yet it is. It depends on your perspective. It depends on what part of the picture you choose to look at. If you look for racism you’ll find it. Why not look for the happy family at the beach? They’re in the picture too. The bigger problem today is that too many people look at the picture and only see the drunken brawl, no matter where they look. They see racism under every rock, behind every bush, in every statement, action, institution, thought, and historical character. Let’s keep some perspective. Life’s a big picture—all of it is important.
Black Lives Matter has good intentions. But good intentions are not enough. We must also employ methods that actually achieve the outcomes we desire. And we will never eliminate racism by focusing on racism. That’s the irony. You have to transcend racism.
We humans are triune creatures: spirit, mind, body. As long as we focus on the body and the mind, we will always feel separate. Our bodies are all different. Our minds are all different. It is at the level of spirit that we are all the same—that we are all one.
In the past two weeks, we have seen all manner of good-intentioned words and actions be condemned as racist. The BLM-branded chocolate ice cream. The newspaper editor who ran the headline, “Buildings Matter Too”. Both were well-intentioned. Both have valid perspectives. The abuse heaped on these two (and these are only two of many examples) comes from exactly the same intolerance as racism. It comes from an attitude of pride and arrogance that your perspective, your opinion, your sensibility, your ideology is the only one that should be heard. Any other perspective, opinion, sensibility, or ideology is racist, or misogynist, (or put in whatever insulting slur you want) and should be censored. And the person who uttered it should be censored.
This is antithetical to a free and open society. This is modern barbarism. And that was my point last week. Maybe I was too obtuse. Maybe I still am. The essence of racism or any other nasty “ism” is not that it’s unkind, but that it restricts your freedom in some way. Racism against black people might appear as not hiring someone because their skin is black. Or not allowing them into your school, or place of business, etc. You are denied the freedoms of other people because of your skin color. That’s an example of racism.
Yes, that's me dressed up as "Waldo", a quarter-century ago. I no longer have any idea who the other guy is.
I don’t live in the United States so I’m not qualified to comment on how extensive racism is there. I’m convinced it continues to be a problem, yet a smaller problem all the time so let’s not lose that perspective.
But what’s rampant in Western society today is not racism, but “ideologyism”. Nobody gets fired because of their skin color. But every day someone else is publicly pilloried or pushed out of their job or career not because they are racist, but because they offended someone’s ideology! They did it to Don Cherry a few months ago. They tried to do it Rex Murphy this week. Fortunately, he had the intestinal fortitude to brush it off. He wrote a great comeback in his June 16 column in the National Post. I recommend it.
The “modern barbarians” as I called them last week are those good-intentioned but ill-informed people who think they can improve our society by removing every idea and every person that stands in the way of them imposing their ideologically-inspired ideas on the rest of us. This is tyranny. This is the Inquisition all over again—not theological orthodoxy this time but ideological orthodoxy. This is destroying Western society. Racism? Of course it’s with us because it’s within each one of us. It is a ubiquitous human failing. But compared to our rampant ideologyism, it doesn’t even rate as a problem.
That’s why I said the problem isn’t racism and the response we’ve seen is mostly not about racism. It’s about ideology. The rebels who have taken over downtown Seattle (Antifa, mostly, from what I can tell) don’t care about racism. That’s not their core issue. They’ve just hopped on the “racism train” to move their own agenda farther down the track. That’s what many of these organizations are doing—capitalizing on a perceived crisis to further their own agendas. That was my point last week. Things are not what they seem. It’s ironic.
The spiritual message here, in addition to what I’ve said above, is that you cannot fight human failings. It’s a spiritual truth that what we fight against, grows stronger. Energy flows to where our attention flows. You cannot end violence with more violence. You cannot destroy an intolerant attitude (toward skin color) with another intolerant attitude (firing people because you disagree with them). This is exactly why revolutions produce regimes worse than the ones they depose. Back in the hippy days, we used to say that fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.
If you want to end racism, you must transcend racism—you must look beyond it. If you want to end violence by the police, you must end violence toward the police and toward each other. Even fools know that getting rid of the police will not get rid of violence. In CHAS, Antifa civilians patrol the streets with AR-15s. And they don’t have the training that police officers do. I hope no one crosses them—someone is likely to get shot by a trigger-happy, ideology-infused nutcase.
Back to the spirit. The only problems you can solve are the problems within you. I cannot solve “Racism in America”. Neither can you. You can, however, do your part in bringing peace and love to the world around you. Look beyond whatever intolerance you have within you, transcend it by seeing in each person, not their skin, not their body, not their mind, but that piece of God within them that is also within you—the Divine Soul we share.
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