The inculcation of America’s self-righteous

Another curiosity: we all want to grow in our abilities, knowledge, understanding of the world, and yet we don’t seem to want to grow emotionally. In fact, we hold on to some of our ideas as though god or some higher power had planted them in our mind; and to change our mind on them would defeat our whole world. Yet, if you did your own archeological dig in your belief system, you might be somewhat dismayed at what you’d find. Those set-in-stone beliefs that drive your world have in fact been planted by people and other influences that have little to no actual credibility.

Perhaps you were raised in a family where it was okay to put down people of other races. It was common at the dinner table to use racial slurs, to talk down about or to people who were not the same color as you, perpetuating stereotypes either blatantly or in micro-aggressive ways. You laughed with your family about all the over-sensitive people who were upset about using tribal names for sports teams, about wanting to get rid of Li’l Black Sambos and Aunt Jemima and black-face without ever having actually researched these white cultural slurs or talking to someone who’s not white about it. Uncle Andrew with his 10th grade education said Black Lives Matters was ridiculous, so it must be true.

You did not believe that Black people were stopped in their cars and killed for something a white dude would never even get stopped for, let alone killed for. Why? Because you were afraid of Black people. They weren’t you. They weren’t like you and your family. If your Dad or Mom told you something was wrong with all Black people and if the police stopped them on the street then they had very good reason for it. And even if they were stopped for little cause, all the other things they had done in their lives that you imagined had happened, they deserve to get hassled, beat up, killed. If Black women and babies are dying at rates higher than all others, then they must be doing bad things, not the medical providers who treat them differently, fail to listen to their distress, in fact, don’t treat them humanely. It’s murder by any other name.

Or perhaps you were told that everyone who didn’t practice religion in the way that you do will all be dead one morning and only the believers left. Or that anyone who doesn’t look exactly like you, practice marriage like you, have babies like you is headed to hell. You are self-righteous in your belief system, following a “book” of faith that was written by a man, a human, decades or hundreds or thousands of years ago, with his own biases and beliefs that a man living in the year 300 AD might have. Wanting so badly to find the easy path to truth without the hassle of doing the work on figuring it out. Like the religious version of a TV dinner. Take it out of the freezer, heat it up and there you have it, all nicely divided up for you to in little foil sections, the apple dessert never touching the fried chicken.

So to sum up, you believe that everyone who does not have your skin color, your religion, your hetero-sexuality, your neighborhood, your music choice, your cis-gender, your marriage beliefs, your FILL-IN-THE-BLANK should just disappear, is not worth helping, listening to. And in fact, should be harmed, raped, sent away, shot, humiliated and destroyed. And then you go to church on Sunday.

I have seen recently some people break away from belief systems built on little more than dark fairy tales told to them by adults. They are “coming out” on Twitter and YouTube, talking on news programs, writing memoires. They speak of their inculcation, the clannishness of their isolated world, the intractability of the belief system built on “us good” and “others bad.” While it might be described as childish, it is too harmful, murderous in fact, to be relegated to just an immature way of thinking. Whether white supremacy, religious zealotry from any part of the globe, tribalism, colonialism or genocide, it is all based on emotional and mental immaturity and instability, power over others as the ultimate goal, and a human, cultural and social sickness that seems to be more contagious than COVID.

Often it is the inculcated, who, for whatever reason, begin to question the authority of their mindset — whether placed there by religion, politics, social structures or inherited family ignorance — can lead the rest out of their prison of belief. A prison that is self-imposed, from which little else can be seen or understood that is outside the walls. A prison that people embrace because they want a structured “truth” so badly that they believe anything just to say they are a BELIEVER. No, a TRUE BELIEVER. That makes them important, special, better than others, bigger than others, able to judge but not be judged.

While the task is hard, those who were the inculcated who are now reformed, must also be strong voices in turning around the racism that is eating up our nation, with people of color being breakfast, lunch, dinner and a late night snack, being wounded, murdered, unacknowledged, watched, feared, questioned, stopped and frisked, denied, and fucking worn out.

If there is a god, it long ago walked away from the damn mess we have made in treating our fellow human beings as part of a world that we should have been building together. Sometimes I believe that two-year-olds should run everything, without prejudice, without the need for religious mandates; only with their willingness to sit on the other side of the teeter-totter, share their juice box, laugh as they jump together in mud puddles. Free of the inculcation that will later define their world by poisoned “adults” who have the emotional intelligence of a jelly bean and feel oh so good when their kid says their first racial slur or shoots their first gun at age four, a pink gun for girls of course, or order women around like their father, even smacking them like their father.

Where did you get you belief system? Ponder that shit for awhile.

From Lady Proverbs, somewhere on the Oregon Coast.

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