No matter where you look, so long as you’re not sheltered from it, you’ll see evidence of people behaving from divided states of being, and thinking through divisive languages. They usually seek to separate themselves by denouncing others for all sorts of reasons; wrong politics, wrong joke, not as enlightened as they are, racist, going against the conventional wisdom or acceptable social standards, etc.
With divisive belief systems, it’s easy to fall into that tribal “us and them” framework of interpretation. In fact, in many cases, it can be considered a requirement to join the group.
Perhaps it’s just what I’ve been seeing, but this seems so much more prevalent today than it’s ever been in my life that I’m concerned it’s reaching some kind of danger point. And what gets me the most about it is not necessarily the behaviour itself — it’s the philosophical implications of it. Those are the things that remain silently active within people and rarely acknowledged.
For example, if you denounce someone you disagree with as misled or maliciously wrong for evil intentions, you might rightfully decide not to take any lectures from that person. But if you publicly insult this person and push them aside, refusing to engage under the rationale of not giving a platform to problematic voices, or even going so far as to call for censorship or violence against this person, you are going some ways to create a permanent divide there.
Let’s say you’re dealing with an all-out, self-proclaimed racist. It doesn’t matter if they are sincere but just misled, or a consciously indoctrinated mouthpiece for some neo-nazi ideology — they are racist and that’s all there is to it.
Many people’s reaction would be instant scorn against this person, and to let them know they’re not accepted into whatever group may be dominating there. And with the “punch a nazi” meme being quite prevalent in many subcultures, it wouldn’t be a surprise if some violence was committed against this person for their racist views.
But what’s going on beneath the behaviour and the actions of all people involved here is much more pressing to me. I’ve met many racist people and many anti-racist; a fair share of the amount of divided and divisive people I’ve met in total.
The anti-racists seem to be in a kind of short-sighted denial, and the racists seem to get this idea that the behaviour of the anti-racists proves them right. It’s clear that the…