“Systemic racism” is redundant. Manifestations of misogyny, xenophobia and racism are all rooted in just one collective belief: supremacism. Our species believes that some of us matter more than others and that many among us don’t matter at all.
Systemic problems cannot be solved if the problem is the system itself.
First things first. Individually and collectively, how we relate to one another and the rest of the planet is the first domino for the hot messes we’ve made.
All our relationships are formed within coexisting hierarchies. The whole of humanity isn’t being well-served by a psychological structure made of minds shaped like a pyramid that is, in effect, a Ponzi scheme.
There are layers of power in a family or community, on the job or on the playground, in a street gang or church congregation, in a business corporation or government bureaucracy — in all cultural institutions. This pecking order method for stratifying ourselves that we collectively take for granted makes us all complicit in the unfathomable corruption it sustains.
Misogyny, racism, pedophilia, criminal self-righteousness and all other forms of bullying are enabled by a relationship pyramid that depends on inequality for its existence. The common denominator in all systemic abuse is inequality.
Egos desire the power it affords. In varying and overlapping pyramid schemes, individuals struggle to secure their status while angling for more prestigious perches. Abuse within hierarchies is victim neutral. Dignity is what gets harassed and molested. Potential is snuffed. Spirit is battered.
This default construct is agreed upon and accepted as “... just the way things are.”
Complex problems are expected to have complex solutions, triggering feelings of futility and hopelessness that can be paralyzing. Albert Einstein advised making everything as simple as possible. Dr. Seuss did that for us. “Yertle the Turtle” is a nutshell depiction of the current plight of our planet.
Humanity is suffering an epidemic of kings supported by a pandemic of minions. In Seuss’ story, an ordinary turtle foiled the king with a simple action (a burp). What’s needed now is a burp in the form of a slight shift in attitude — a slight renewing of mind.
We have options. Hand-me-down perceptions can be replaced. A group of strangers on a beach formed a human chain to rescue other strangers from a riptide. Assorted links. One chain. E pluribus unum. Chains are flexible and have no tops or bottoms, ups or downs. We can agree to see ourselves as essential links in flexible chains.
This collective perception would improve police departments, schools, businesses, labor unions, news organizations, nonprofits, Amazon, Congress, ad infinitum. Transparency would be easier. Organized crime wouldn’t as easily thrive. Snobs would have to reconfigure themselves. Individuality would be enhanced, not sacrificed, because links are clearly separate and different in size, shape and strength. It would be easier to acknowledge our interdependence and to appreciate and protect it. Fairness would have a better chance.
Drama would still abide, keeping things challenging and entertaining.