Anyisms and Anyists
It’s a shame we have to have this holiday.
No fault of Dr. King’s, of course. All he said was, “Negroes are people, too.”
The shame comes from him having to do it, and that it was such a big deal in the United States. Despite the sayings of Jesus. Despite the Declaration of Independence. What part of “All men are created equal” don’t you understand?
You can say that even Thomas Jefferson, the guy who wrote the words, didn’t really understand it, and do you know what? You’re right.
“All men are created equal” was, and still is, one of the most radical, unpopular concepts ever uttered.
If you look at history, you’ll see that man has a real problem with “_________ are people, too.” History says “All men are created equal” is not a self-evident truth, but rather the opposite.
America is hardly alone in its shame. Pick a country, any country, and I’ll show you the same. Some less bad, some more bad, all still bad.
Why is that?
I suggest to you that man finds his “self-evident truth” to be “We’re better than . . .” and that the less reason to hold such a belief, the more firmly it is held, if only from fear that it really isn’t so.
Look upon it that way, and racism or sexism or whateverism are not separate diseases but just different symptoms of a more general malady: Anyism.
I’m Better Because . . .
Anyism is not just saying, “I am better than.” Anyism is saying, “I am better than” without reason to be. If you have to do something to be better than others, that’s not anyism.
If all you have to do to be better than others is just having been born whatever it is you are, that’s an anyism.
If Michael Jordan said, “I am a better basketball player than Ed Stroligo,” that is not an anyist statement. That, my friend, is a self-evident truth. 🙂
If Michael Jordan said, “I am a better basketball player than anybody else,” that is an anyist statement, but probably more egotist than racist.
However, if some elderly, grossly overweight fellow told me, “I have to be a better basketball player than you because I’m black,” that is racist.
The key to anyism is inherent superiority, not superiority at the moment. To say that blacks dominate basketball in-and-of-itself is not a racist statement. It’s just an observation of the current truth.
However, a century ago, most Americans would have said that the Irish made the best fighters/boxers, and it was true back then. Who would say that today?
Sports is a long-trodden path for the relatively disadvantaged to move up in life, the sole lottery ticket for many. Of course, “relatively disadvantaged” means one thing for baseball or basketball, quite another for golf or tennis. But for most mass sports, show me “dominance” by an ethnic group, and I’ll show you a relatively disadvantaged ethnic group. When they stop being disadvantaged, so does the dominance.
However, we must distinguish between racism and stupidity. One could think what’s true now will be true forever, and just be historically and sociologically challenged. The real racist statements will say or imply, “Blacks are better at sports, etc. and that’s all they’re good for (unlike my kind).” All anyist statements boil down to the speaker saying, “I’m better than . . . .”
Less Sinister, More Banal
Insecure egotism is thus one source of anyism. The other is less evil, but just as bad.
There’s a great thing about Anyisms. Once you adopt one, then you can stop thinking. It’s a mental shortcircuit. You’ve put an entire group into a mental cubbyhole, and now you don’t have to hurt your head actually judging individual members of that group.
The politically correct have shortcircuits, too. I’ve tossed in a couple in this piece just to amuse myself with the self-righteous who’ll write me about it. 🙂
This constant search for mental shortcuts has probably done more damage to mankind than the more virulent “I am better thans,” if for no other reason than it springs the lunatic Anyists loose.
If you look at historical massacres, you’ll rarely find the whole population with murderous intent towards the victims. You will find a sea of dislike, though. The loons either do the deed with the acquiscence of the majority, or the loons stir up into that sea of dislike into a frenzy. That doesn’t work too well or at all if the general population thinks, “________ are people, too.”
The Internet, A New Beginning, Or Just New Isms?
It’s pretty hard to figure out whom or (occasionally if you’re not too swift) even what (bots) is communicating on the Internet. It’s hard to be racist when you can’t see the person.
Not impossible, though. Go to anyplace where such topics are discussed, and the old hates have found new grounds.
More dismaying, new Anyisms have emerged. Now I’m not going to pretend that PC vs. Mac or AMD vs. Intel has the murderous potential of Arab vs. Jew, and if you put 99% of such virtual warriors in the same room, nothing would happen. It’s that last 1% I wonder about sometimes.
“I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”–Dr. King
May we someday live in a world where everyone is judged by the content of their character rather than somebody’s mental shortcircuit, whatever that may be.