Racism & The Hard Wired Brain

Racism is inherent in the human condition. Humans are hard wired to see differences and draw conclusions about the meaning of those differences based on experience. Humans are wired to identify “us” and “them” and differences of race are just too big for the human brain to ignore.

There is nothing immoral about naturally drawing such conclusions. The mechanisms are largely below the conscious threshold. This is true of all human beings regardless of their skin color. All are natural born racists.

The point of education is to bring the rational mind and the heart into the conversation and help us see the evidence that there is more that unites than divides, to see the humanity in all that underlies the differences. There is nothing inherently awful about starting out life as a racist. It is the human condition. The tragedy is not in how we start, but in how we end.

We can choose to focus either on differences, or we can choose to focus on those things we have in common. Our brain is hard wired in many respects, but we have the ability – if we choose – to step outside that hard wiring and place our focus not on differences, but on what we share, and as humans we share a great deal when we can see it.

We cannot cure racism without making the conscious choice to do so. This is true of all people. All people are inherent racists, regardless of the color of their skin.

The solution is not guilt, especially guilt for what other people did in other times. To accept guilt, or to hate others, based on skin color is inherently racist.

The person who has truly overcome racism is the person that sees the skin color of others but at the same time tries to consciously see past that to find the positive qualities of every human being.