Racism: A Safety Valve Against Hating Your Parents

[Written around 2004.]

From the perspective of the family system, the greatest crime for a child is to feel and express his legitimate hatred for his parents. He can feel all the love he wants, but when he flips the coin he is in big trouble. The punishment is rejection by the family, even ejection from it, and no child can face that. It would kill him. This forces him to put his anger somewhere else – somewhere safer.

Perhaps he can bury his anger entirely and become numb. Parents love numb children, labeling them shy or quiet or reserved – or even retarded. All too often parents get help from the psychiatric community and put children on medications to make them that way.

Perhaps he can channel his anger into an addiction. Parents like this one too, as long as its destructiveness doesn’t spill onto them.

And perhaps, if his family is primitive – as the cruelest and most neglectful invariably are – then he can rage at an easy and acceptable target: other races. This is made even easier when other races – be they white, black, or other – truly do have overt problems, prejudices, limitations, and mental illnesses sewn into their fabrics and cultures.

Of course, he has a palette of other prejudices beyond racism to choose from, each with its own advantage. Sexism is convenient for expressing hatred of the parent of the opposite sex – and solidarity with the parent of one’s own. Homophobia is always safe for those insecure with their sexual orientation, and is likely to please parents of both sexes. Patriotism is popular in today’s world, especially for those who have never traveled past their own backyards. And with religious fundamentalism at least God – i.e. the most immature, fearsome, or idealized parts of your parents – is always on your side, and your enemies can rot in hell.

But those who believe their enemies will rot in hell don’t realize the following: 1) There is no heaven or hell after life, and, 2) If you don’t resolve your childhood traumas through grieving and healing then you’re already in hell, and are destined to remain there for all of living eternity.

True connection with yourself involves the content of your character. The color of your skin doesn’t matter.

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