Racism is, has been, and always will be endemic to mass society

In mass society Others are nameless potential competitors for social resources. They are in our society but they are not exactly Us. Differences are a source of disgruntlement and disdain.

Where people live face-to-face in interdependence they see each other as valued neighbors. Their individuated personalities might be a pain in the ass sometimes, but, hey, doesn’t that apply to all of Us? (there’s some empathy, maybe even some compassion)

That sensibility counters the tendency toward broad-brush Them … which is the source of racism.

So it persists and persists in mass society. In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement some colleges assigned The Autobiography of Malcolm X as the pre-read for the incoming freshman class this year. Great. But consider that the same book was assigned to my incoming class in 1968 (in the wake of the 1967 Detroit and Newark uprisings). That’s 53 years ago and racism is still endemic. Conditions in the inner cities are hardly much improved (unless gentrification has totally displaced the poor and the marginal, in which case … where have they gone?).

Not very much has changed in 53 years because racism is, has been, and always will be endemic to mass society.

A co-editor of Green Horizon Magazine, Steve has been a Green movement activist for almost thirty years.