Racism is Magic

The title of this article is a little bit frustrating, even for me. It’s problematic because it seems to suggest that racism isn’t real. That is because I personally do not believe in magic. I believe there is science that is not yet understood, and some people might regard that as magic but I don’t. Magic could also be defined as occult (“hidden”) knowledge; the veracity of which could be debated.

It is my belief that magic does exist but it exists as an idea in our minds. When people pay to see a magician they’re paying for a show based on the idea of magic. Their belief in magic aids in the illusion. The idea absolutely exists but how many people actually “do” magic? How much does an idea in our minds affect reality?

The truth is that magic absolutely can affect reality because what it affects is a person’s mind. You may not believe magic exists outside of mind bending illusions but there are people who absolutely believe in magic. If a person is able to indirectly affect reality they may consider that magic.

For the purposes of this article I’m not going to argue what magic is or whether or not it’s real. Rather, the point is that depending on who you are, magic is real or not real…. to you. Magic, therefore affects different people. It is not universal. It is relative. Plenty of people honestly don’t believe in magic because they’ve never seen it work.  Other people are convinced it exists and that they have seen it work. And in some cases you can say “yes, that’s what you saw but no it wasn’t magic”.

A lot of white people are absolutely convinced that racism doesn’t exist. To them, it is like the illusionary magic that simply done to trick you. Because they don’t believe they are racist, it is much harder for them to believe that others are. So if there is another explanation they are more likely to believe that explanation rather than racism. At the same time they may believe that what black people experience isn’t racism but rather a coincidence that we misinterpret due to our belief that racism exists.

Example of this… You got passed over for a job that you feel like you should have gotten. The person who got the job was white. Racism? It could be but only if the employer is a practitioner of racism. If they’re not an alternative explanation is far more likely. Maybe they knew that person. Maybe they simply have a better relationship with that person. Maybe they feel closer to that person because of similar interests. Maybe they think that person is more attractive. Maybe that person is nicer to them. All of these explanations can be true if the person is racist or if they’re not. Black people are not racist if they are more attracted to other black people. Therefore whites are not racist just because they might be more attracted to other white people. It’s not that you’re racist or prejudice but that you are most attracted to that which resembles yourself or your “ideal”. Your “ideal” isn’t racist if it happens to be a idealistic image of your own “race”.

Attraction follows exposure. The more you are exposed to something the more attraction or repulsion you may feel based on your experiences. Those who are more likely to be racist are those with the least amount of exposure to members of another race and those who, what limited experiences they have are bad. Many people of all races are attracted to Asian culture because of martial arts, anime, and popular Asian cuisine. Because of that, maybe without our realizing it, we’re less likely to have bad feelings towards Asians or be prone to a lot of negative stereotypes. At the same time it is very possible that even with exposure you can still be racist or have views that are racially dubious. In this case it is likely that the quality of the exposure was very poor. For example, you “know black people” because you have black people that work for you. And you assume that their professional persona holds nothing back.

Racism is often confused with prejudice which accepts stereotypes which are most likely created by racists for the purpose of programming the masses, like a magic show, to believe they “know black people” because of what they see on TV which reinforces stereotypes to the point that the police racially profile the same way that employers racially profile. Just because it isn’t reported doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. Generally, that’s not something you want to tell people. At the same time, not every case is racism because more common than racism or sexism is something called favoritism. Why is this person your favorite? Because they’re white? No…. that would only allow them to beat out black candidates. Often these decisions are made because they are friends or relatives or the friends of relatives or the relatives of friends. And because we are typically outside the social circles of a lot of white people (because its difficult to integrate beyond class borders) we are not typically benefited by favor. But this could look very racist depending on how much favoritism is involved in hiring practices. And at the end of the day, how much do you care about facts when you didn’t get the job?

Racism is magic because it’s real and at the same time it can also be in the eye and mind of the beholder. What seems racist to me may not be racist to you. And what may be racist to you may not be racist to the person who you think is being racist. The more a magician thinks that magic is real the more cases of magic they will report being responsible for, just like the more a person believes in miracles the more they will experience events that they deem miraculous. Race, is unfortunately not the only class separator. You could be favored by your skin to one person and favored by your body shape to another.  And at the end of the day it is going to be very difficult to tell someone to stop doing something they aren’t doing. Because even though it absolutely exists and is felt, getting it wrong makes racism look more like the kind of magic that doesn’t exist.

Jonathan Sinclair
Black Wall Street 2.0