Society features

How fear and racism form the basis of inequity in our society

Consultant Lindsey Jackson joined New Day NW to explore how racism and fear of otherness contributes to a social foundation of perpetual inequity. #newdaynw

Here’s an issue that reached a boiling point in the summer of 2020 due to social unrest: racism.

As human beings, there is a fear of “the other”. When we walk through history, we can trace how this fear of otherness, as far as race is concerned, has been built into the foundation of our society and continues to be perpetuated in a way that leads to violence, to violence. iniquity and injustice.

To dig deeper into this topic and talk more about how racism permeates our society, Lindsay TH Jackson, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Consultant with Global LTHJ joins New Day NW.

“We have been socialized into American and Western culture to normalize hurting ourselves and to reflect or project that hurt onto others,” she said.

According to Jackson, part of the history of the United States is to normalize fear of self or self-actualization, as well as fear of others. From the earliest foundations of society and culture building in America, active campaigns were waged to normalize the fear of other groups.

If the fear of others could be normalized, it could help keep everyone in control and maintain order by making others their problem. Other people would be the reason if a person did not have access to true self-determination, did not succeed in a job, did not enter a particular school, or did not achieve various hopes and dreams.

“The fear of the connection to racism is what keeps the caste system intact,” said Jackson, referring to Isabel Wilkerson’s book, “Caste,” in which the author noted that racism is an aspect of ‘a larger caste system in America.

The American caste system is very much linked to class, racism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia. Fear is the glue that holds everything in place, Jackson said.

Fear causes a person to believe that belonging, connection and love all arise from the refusal of certain parts of oneself to fit in and, in turn, one has to make others false and different. she declared. Belonging then becomes rooted not in how a person belongs because they are different, but in how a person belongs because of how others are different.

While this perspective takes an in-depth look at the reality of what society is, there is also the superficial question of how the fear of dark skin is deeply ingrained in society and woven into our culture.

In Western society, we teach dichotomous and binary thinking from an early age, Jackson said.

“This idea that white is good, is pure, is virginal,” she said. “Whereas the things that are dark are grim, to be feared, deviant in a way.”

We see this not just for white bodied kids, but for everyone else, Jackson said. For example, we can watch in our favorite children’s movies or cartoons and already see how this idea seeps into cinematic style. When a character does bad things, their skin tone becomes very slightly darker.

“Whenever they come on the screen, the night seems to be apparent and present,” she stressed.

This has the effect of teaching children from an early age to normalize the fear of what is dark or black and to celebrate and hold things that are white and white-bodied to be pure, Jackson said.

In many ways, from the earliest moments of life, children are already learning to accept and embrace racism, the caste system, and somehow see themselves as white or black bodies, able-bodied or disabled, homosexuals. or heteronormative, she says.

When we ask whether we should be teaching our children the critical theory of race, racism, and otherisms, the best question, Jackson suggested, is whether we should be teaching our children to break down the messages that they already receive with a more critical approach. lens.

There is no easy answer to working with this fear. There is education and advocacy, but the question remains where to start to reframe this way of thinking. Where do we even start at these young stages?

From Jackson’s perspective, it begins by explaining how we’ve all been spoon-fed by a system with its factors such as fear of self, fear of being different, fear of stepping outside the norms of our society.

The next step is to be able to articulate and name this fear. If you can learn to celebrate and overcome your difference, then you can learn to celebrate others, she said.

From there, we start to co-create solutions, opportunities beyond the differences, Jackson said. It’s very different from using a refrain like “I want to help them out there” or “I want to go help the Black Lives Matter movement” or “I want to go help. the LBGTQIA + movement. The practice of co-creating solutions and opportunities through differences is about being in an authentic relationship with “difference” and with communities that have lived experiences very different from mine.

“This is not a Salvadoran job,” she said. “It’s about getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, which in itself is a revolutionary act.”

Segment producer Amity Addrisi. Watch New Day Northwest 11:00 a.m. weekdays on KING 5 and live streaming on Contact the new day.