Story • Daniele Watts
SUPERIORITY • INFERIORITY
Daniele Watts' thoughts on Roseanne Barr's tweets and ABC's reaction are worthy of re-sharing here. Daniele gets to something deeper, both personal and systematic, that is true to xenophobia in all of its permutations.
I've been allowing a sort of "if you can't beat em, join em" sense of humor in regards to the racism I've experienced recently....because it is clear to me now that anyone who has to think of themselves as superior to another human is suffering from their own feelings of inferiority. I say this because I have thought of myself as superior to many people in my life, and it has almost always been an unconscious defense mechanism against my deeply buried feelings of inferiority. I know this now.... but at the time that those feelings of superiority consumed me, I was simply doing my best to survive in a chaotic and frightening world with the tools that I had. Adopting a feeling of being superior, or comparing myself to others in terms of better or worse, was a tool that worked for a while. When I read this article about the recent Roseanne Barr situation: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/29/opinion/roseanne-canceled-abc-racist-tweets.html, I felt sad, and at the same time, I can understand #RoxaneGay's revealing assessment that has left "black people" the target of recent racist incidents. But more than that, I felt called to express my #empathy-- meaning my ability to understand and feel compassion for-- #RoseanneBarr, and the state of being that she represents.
It is my prayer that Americans can find both metaphorical "space" in our hearts, and actual compassion for our profoundly racist society, and the ways that we are all "racist" based on our participation. It helps me to embrace the idea that everyone in America is "racist" -- simply because, as Americans, we live in a society that asks people to identify "race" on our birth certificates, and most citizens have participated in numerous civic, and educational structures that require racial identification, or checking a box, on a form, for ethnicity. We, as Americans, are living in a society that indoctrinates us through a variety of methods to identify human beings based on race, or what I define as "racism." If we can grasp that we are all equal in that regard-- that WE HAVE ALL PARTICIPATED IN RACISM-- then perhaps that essence of #equality can ease the road to a more #kind, #loving, and #joyous society. With Love and Humor, #daniElephant