When we try to cope with racism, we have to look at its root. There is no point trying to uproot racism against any ethnic group or skin color if we don’t pull out its seed. Regrettably, we cannot pull it out since the seed of racism, bigotry, and any kind of discrimination, is human nature. Human nature—of which it was said that it is evil from our youth—is utter, unabated egoism, self-absorption at its worst.
No two people are the same. Blacks, whites, yellow, and red, men and women, tall and short, heavy and light, cheerful and gloomy, shrewd and naïve, optimistic and pessimistic, these are all traits that make up who we are as people, traits that, for the most part, we cannot change. There are so many combinations of so many traits that no two people are the same.
Yet, the problem is not that we are different. The problem is that we hate what is different from us in other people, and love what is similar to us in them. And since we are becoming increasingly self-absorbed, we are seeing people as increasingly different from ourselves. This is why hatred among people will not decrease; it will keep growing until we cannot stand even a single person since that person is in some tiny, undetectable manner not like us.
But where do the differences between us come from? The wisdom of Kabbalah explains that reality consists of two basic desires: a desire to give and a desire to receive. These two desires interact, since the desire to give needs a receiver and the desire to receive needs a giver. Therefore, they communicate in four basic types of communication, or mixtures of reception and giving. These four types, or phases of giving and receiving, exist in every element in reality. In humans, they express themselves (among other expressions) through the four basic types of skin color.
To cut matters short, it’s not a problem that we are different; it’s nature, and nature is beautiful. In all of nature, we love how things complement one another. We love to see courtship between males and females, the constant rejuvenation of nature in the cycle of life and death, and how each element plays its complementary part in the ecosystem to create a harmonious whole. But when it comes to people, we fight to make everyone the same and denounce anyone who dares to celebrate the human variety as a bigot. By doing this, we are sentencing ourselves to misery.
Just like all of nature, humanity is one, complementary whole. We are meant to work harmoniously like all of reality, where all the pieces contribute to one another, support one another, embrace one another, and celebrate the differences between them. But only if we put the whole above the self, “we” above “me,” people above individual, only then will each person really be able to celebrate and fully express his or her own unique qualities. Because how can we know who we are if we are always trying to emulate others? How can we know what we can give to society if all we think about is what society says what it wants us to be? So society ends up choking us, we end up hating it, and instead of contribution, we think of retribution. This is the prevailing mindset in our current society.
The differences between people are not only indelible, they are vital for our health as a society. We would not be a complete humanity were it not for all of us, with all our differences. If we only looked beyond our self-absorbed egos and saw the beauty of humanity, we would understand what a magnificent mosaic we form, as colorful as nature itself. We would celebrate the varieties between us and embrace them, and the more differences we would see in people, the more we would love them, since the more colors and shapes of the mosaic they would reveal to us.
So, succinctly, the root of racism is not in the differences between us, it is our wrongful ambition to make everyone the same. The solution to racism is therefore to cherish and treasure, and embrace every person’s uniqueness as our own. We need to love each person because what another unique human being can give to humanity, I will never be able to give. And if that person did not give it, humanity would always be deficient.
[Photo by Koshu Kunii on Unsplash]