Tuesday, April 01, 2008
The Psychology of Racism
Most social scientists treat racialist attitudes and behaviors as being the result of
social influences and conditioning only; that is, they believe it to be a learned condition.
The field of Indigenous American medical psychology tends to agree with that in relation to collective racism on the part of nation states that have exercised it institutionally in the past and even to a certain extent still today, such as only allowing indigenous communities, reserves, and reservations a certain amount of autonomy from the government of the dominant immigrant settler nation as opposed to the option of full sovereignty.
Racism on the part of non-indigenous industrialized governments basically holds the attitude that the more traditionally indigenous a peoples are in their attitudes and lifestyles, the more inferior they are socially, culturally, and even in intelligence, which calls for a certain amount of institutional subjugation and oversight.
Like with many individuals who held or once held racialist beliefs, attitudes and behaviors, collective institutional racialist attitudes and policies can eventually be overcome in time with education apart from legislation, etc. However, like with many behavioral and mental disorders, racialist attitudes and behaviors in some individuals are the result of a pathological brain disorder.
Obsessive and chronic racialist ideations, attitudes, and behaviors on the part of many individuals are the result of a neuro-pathological disorder centered around that part of the brain that regulates fear and anger, and also the prefrontal cortex, which regulates one's sense of right and wrong, morality, and exercising self-control over not violating other persons or their property for the purpose of personal gain or benefit, or just emotional satisfaction. People who intentionally violate the life and property rights of others for such personal gain are called sociopaths. And again as just indicated, various sociopathic attitudes and acts are the result of an abnormal or dysfunctional prefrontal cortex, which I discuss in greater detail in my commentary entitled Sociopathy.
Exercised racism in particular is a form of irrational cowardice or phobia, and cowards and phobics generally retreat from or lash out with rage against what they fear and veil themselves with a superiority complex. As phobic cowards, they don't normally act alone in carrying out the latter, forming some sort of small or large, temporary or permanent mob rule to meet their ends. Institutionalized racism utilizes the creation of laws and government coercion to enforce itself.
As with people who suffer from various types of irrational psychological fetishes, psycho-pathological racialists form alliances with one another for camaraderie, sharing and support. One of the largest racialist-obsessive collectives in the world can be encountered online at Stormfront.org. Having monitored this site for a number of years, I have come to the conclusion that racialist ideations and sentiments expressed by the vast majority of Stormfront members are the result of psychopathology in the prefrontal cortex which causes neurotransmitters to signal those portions of the brain that regulate fear and anger. Whenever the basic senses are alerted by whatever means of a differing race, the reaction biologically in the brain is similar of that to a food or beverage item that is not agreeable with an individual's taste buds.
Like with bad-tasting food or drink, some pathological racialists are not as repulsed by certain races as others. For example, Adolf Hitler and those who subscribed to his Nazi ideology considered most "non-Aryan" gentile peoples of European origin to be somewhat inferior genetically and in intelligence to Germanic and Scandinavian peoples, especially Slavs, but not as inferior as Jews and people of most other races.
Exceptions to the rule were Hitler-designated "honorary Aryans" that consisted of the Romans (Italians), the Greeks, the Spaniards, and the Japanese due to their ancestors great classical civilizations and imperial conquests. Other exceptions to the rule were individuals of other nationalities who were Nazi ideology sympathizers and Axis Power collaborators. (Most Greeks were not Nazi sympathizers, which is why Greece was not part of the Axis Powers and Mussolini invaded that country).
Can psycho-pathological racism rooted in prefrontal cortex dysfunction be "cured"? Putting aside the fact that most pathological racialists don't believe there is anything wrong with their racialist views and attitudes and thus nothing in their brain that needs fixing, it all depends on each individuals unique extent of "damage" so-to-speak and biological response to various types of conventional and experimental treatment. And although not yet conclusive, some medical researchers suspect that many people have a genetic, hereditary disposition for sociopathy by way of the makeup of the prefrontal cortex.
The bottom line is that there is unfortunately no magical pill one could spike a racialist's drink with to cure his or her obsessive and compulsive psychological fear and anger-based dislike of other races excused by delusional ideations of superiority.