With all due respect to President Obama and Nelson Mandela, is not that simple, and my response takes more than 140 characters.When President Obama’s record-breaking Tweet came out I did what most people did: liked, retweeted and took some sadistic pleasure in the knowledge that the record-breaking news was going to drive Trump up the wall.
I have since giving it some more thought, and in truth and with all due respect to President Obama and Nelson Mandela, is not that simple, and I believe the response takes more than 140 characters.
In all fairness, people are taught a lot of things, and as any parent or teacher will tell you, they choose to learn some and not others.
The seventeen-year-old kid in Barcelona is a good example, he was born in the most tolerant Muslim country in the world, went to the University of Barcelona, one of the most, liberal and tolerant cities in the world, and whoever thought him to hate, assuming someone did, was prioritized by him.
There is nature, there’s nurture, but there’s also free will and all it takes is a little bit of imagination and some courage to exercise it. Without free will, without exercising it to select the input we allow in our brains, we are perennial victims, easy prey to hateful influences eager to give us someone to blame for our failures.
This is patently true in white supremacists, you really have to choose to believe nonsense, to feel like a victim when you’re a white male in America, yes, you’re not born a racist, that might be true, but you’re born a coward because you choose to believe someone is to blame for all your failures at every turn. That is a choice. Otherwise we have to believe there were just leaves floating in the wind with no control of our own choosing, pliable victims of bad influences. I don’t believe that’s true.
And I don’t believe that ignorance is to blame, even though it is the usual liberal explanation of evil, the Germans were hardly an ignorant nation and the neo-nazis marching in the United States today went to the same school as their neighbors.
I believe that in the end it comes down to courage, the courage of conceptual thinking, the courage to take responsibility for your own failures, the courage not to be a victim or use others as you excuse, the courage of intellectual honesty as you absorb the influence around you. Racists are not ignorant or misinformed, they are cowards.