A colleague asked me recently if I thought she was racist or not. I told her that she was drawing me into an inconsequential conversation, and I was not going to invest my energy into a trip to nowhere. She looked at me with puzzlement.
I told her I consider labelling people as racist or not as misdirection of energy. The modern world system at its core is built on a foundation of inclusion and exclusion.
Steve Chu, a top-class economist, and Nobel prize laureate asserts that the world economy is a pyramid scheme. Those not at the bottom need a playing field with subtle rules of exclusion to maintain their position in the pyramid.
So here is the thing, race, gender, religion, and class have been harnessed to perfection to create exclusivist systems. For example, the resurgence of ‘right-wing’ politics all over the world is driven by the fear of the relaxation of the rules of exclusion.
So here is how it works, if you derive your identity from this pyramidal system, your identity is therefore intricately intertwined with your placement in the pyramid. The instance there is a relaxation of the rules of exclusion, your very identity feels terminally under threat and you instinctively do everything to fight against such a relaxation.
Everyone you will ever meet is a product of this system. They are likely fighting for their place in the pyramid. So, this is why I regard investing energy in debating whether someone is racist or not just inconsequential.
Rather the conversation I prefer to have is what are you fighting for, a place in the pyramid or for liberation from this pyramidal system. Now for me that is a conversation worth having!