Rudy Giuliani’s most recent bonehead statement, “Truth isn’t truth”, was quickly covered up his subsequent explanation that he was talking about he said/she said situations. The record of comments by those in the present administration, however, make it clear that, for them, everything is he said/she said, and therefore, in the Trump world, there really is no such thing as truth. Like Humpty Dumpty, these folks can make words mean whatever they choose them to mean.
There is, however, a deeper bit of insight here. We often put labels on things to cover up a deeper meaning or a deeper problem. One of those terms is racism. When you think about the idea of racism, it is ridiculous on its face. Who in his or her rational mind would make any decision about the value of a person based solely on the color of that person’s skin? I get very tan in the summer. Will anyone in his or her right mind hold me inferior until my tan fades? Color is, well, skin deep. Using it as a measure of a person’s quality is as ridiculous as judging people by the color of their eyes or the length of their fingers or the size of their feet.
But if it’s not that, what is racism? Why would a large part of our population delimit or disqualify another part of the population based solely on skin color? I suggest that it rests on something someone taught me a long time ago. There are, my teacher said, two ways to increase your perception of your own self-worth. The first is to actually do things of merit. The second is to disparage others so as to put yourself higher.
A comedian who is a recovering alcoholic once told the following story. He was taken to the hospital in constraints because of his drinking. He was on a gurney and had straps on his arms and his legs. While he was in the hospital, the staff brought in a second person, also in the throes of alcoholism, also in restraints. This second person, however, had five straps, the fifth being around his neck. The comedian said he looked at this second persona and yelled, “Loser! You have a neck restraint, and I can move my neck anywhere I want. I have options!”
I think that’s pretty much it. We do this a fair amount. We put people down for some meaningless reason only so we can give ourselves a façade of higher quality. The other is inferior because of height or weight or perceived beauty or nature of dress or place of residence or level of education.
Or color of skin. Or religious beliefs. Or political persuasion. Nonsense, all of it, but widely practiced because it is so much easier to degrade others than to improve oneself. Racism isn’t racism. It is just another aspect of the evils of mindless self-interest. what a world it would be if we could get rid of that little human flaw.