Saturday, December 10, 2011

The White Man's Disease

I'm not talking about heart attacks....but about Bigotry and the fact that it largely appears to be a white-man's disease. This is not to say that other races don't display it too, to an extent - but it seems that there is an overriding tendency towards bigotry in Westernised cultures.

And I wonder why this should be so? Why, for example, are there no expletives in the Native American tongue? Clearly this seems to be a cultural issue - their cultures were totally opposite to Westernised culture, preferring to  focus on a more spiritual co-existence in harmony with the natural world, and reluctance to enter into conflict.

Am I unfair? Have not the Westernised historically colonial countries demonstrated time and again their tendency towards looking down their noses at "the natives", in the lands they have "newly discovered"?

"I claim this land for the Glory of God and England!" , they cried (substitute Spain, Portugal, Italy, France etc., as required. And let not those countries not mentioned here be exempt - many of the most heinous offenders are countries that have become independent after being settled by colonial nationals - like the US, Australia and Canada.)  The problem of course was that the country could not and should not have been claimed for any other nation - it was already taken by somebody else - who called it "home".  Would-be settlers should have been sent home with a stern warning to mind their own business.

"I'm sorry your Majesty, they say it's already occupied - like a public toilet, with a red sign on the door. They already have a very nice home that they live in - they say it's been discovered a long time ago, and it's theirs. They told us to go somewhere else - like the north pole - if the polar bears will have us". Yeah right. Fat chance.

And with each new "discovery", the colonial nationals brought their God under their arm in a book. You know - the book that still advocates slavery in the Old Testament. "But you can't change that - it's divine", I hear you cry. Really? It was written by John, Paul, George and Ringo (without last names), or perhaps Schmeuly, Meuly, Yitzak, and Ishmail (also without last names). And they brought all their familiar cultural bias and bigotry to their writing. Anyone who honestly and sincerely believes that laws of man floated down with God on top of a mountain, has clearly just floated down on top of a mountain. Get real - wakey wakey. Men write books, translate and retranslate them. If gods have anything to do, they're out there doing it - not perching on top of mountains writing on stone tablets with their fingers. Primitive stories for primitive peoples. Modernisation time. C'mon.

So there we have the colonials (who unsurprisingly are also the Christian - believing peoples) imposing their will on the vanquished peoples, and looking down their noses at the "wogs", "spics", "kikes", "niggers", (dare I use the k- word)" etc. Any number of choice derogatory labels dreamed up by the white men (and women). Because you see, their culture is a warlike, discriminating culture. It is a culture steeped in conquest and blood, and torture and exploitation. And everybody sleeps happily at night, because most of it is "in the Bible", so it's all all right, see? Like slavery. And taking the women of the vanquished nations for your own. In other words - "rape". And killing the men. In other words "murder". Yes? Does anyone not agree that this, and much more is all still in the Old Testament?

We know there was a time, long ago, when those who held sway over the masses decided which writings they should include in their holy books, and which they should not. Do we not agree perhaps that these decisions were taken against a backdrop of the cultural beliefs and practices of the time? And do we not perhaps think that maybe with our more enlightened (I might say "educated") outlook now, if we were to make the same decisions now, we might well discard large amounts of tracts from a modern holy book, because they are barbaric?

And if we put a modern holy book under the arms of settlers today, might they not be a little less condescending, discriminatory and bigoted towards the other cultures they came into contact with? Of course, they'd also have to lose the "we're right and everyone else is wrong"- attitude. Once that's accomplished, the mind becomes far more open and receptive towards learning from the diversity of others. And once we actually start to learn, we become less opinionated with our own conceits, and the world becomes a nicer place for everyone.

I realise this piece does not discuss religions other than Christianity in its relation to, and possible influence on culture and colonial settlement. But this was and is the predominant religion of the white man, who demonstrates his effortless bigotry, both past and present.

Bigotry no doubt exists in other nations and religions too, maybe even to the same extent(?), but that's a discussion for another day.

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