This post is speculative, so I'm interested in hearing other people's points of view. But first, let me tie together several seemingly unrelated elements:
As a member of the Diversity Committee at work, I get links to an online "Managing Diversity" newsletter. A recent article pointed out the importance of diversity, because (assuming the trends continue), by 2030 or so, whites will be a minority.
Then, over at Black Diaspora, I saw this quote: "The Election of Barack Obama is just the most startling manifestation of a larger trend: the gradual erosion of "whiteness" as the touchstone of what it means to be American. If the end of white America is a cultural and demographic inevitability, what will the new mainstream look like—and how will white Americans fit into it? What will it mean to be white when whiteness is no longer the norm? And will a post-white America be less racially divided—or more so?" I told B.D. that, to me, losing my membership in the majority race would be "no big deal."
Daniel Quinn, in his book Ishmael, introduces the idea of "keeper" culture vs. "leaver" culture as two distinct paradigms of social relations and, primarily, human relations to our planet. "The premise of the Takers' story is 'The world belongs to man.' ...The premise of the Leavers' story is 'Man belongs to the world.'"
Riane Eisler introduces the concept of "dominator" vs. "partnership" as two models or paradigms for social relations, extending from personal/family to international in scope, in The Chalice and the Blade.
Bringing all this together, I started to wonder: Is racism integral to a dominator to keeper social paradigm?
In other words, does racism come automatically when one adopts a domination culture, as we have done – and not only racism, but sexism, etc.? Are these isms doomed to remain so long as we cling to our traditional domination culture, only to disappear at the paradigm shift to a partnership culture? And I have no doubt that we are in the process of this paradigm shift – though the default, baseline is still domination over partnership, and that trend could end at any time.
Exploring the early books of the Bible, we see the development of a domination culture, and it starts right at the beginning with the suppression and oppression of women. From there it develops into the Israelites' conquests and utter annihilation of some Canaanite tribes, along with the Israelites' clear claim to racial superiority seen in them being the chosen people of God.
But then, you also see a lot of warfare among leaver cultures, such as most Native American cultures prior to the invasion of Europeans into their territories. Tribalism, in these cases (as in Europeans and even to modern days and municipal rivalries), is widespread, perhaps universal.
There is, however, a difference. So far as I've been able to determine, warfare among pre-European Native Americans was never (or were rarely) a war of annihilation. There were territorial disputes and raiding for goods or prestige or captives. Children from enemy tribes were adopted into their captor tribes, as Barcheeampe, sometimes going on to positions of prominence in those tribes. So I don't think tribalism accounts for racism and so forth, at least by itself. I see plenty of tribalism between Duck fans and Beaver fans, but it's not infrequent that they end up married to each other.
Everything is connected, and it seems reasonable to me to think that the dominator model our society has adopted over the course of the last 3000 years or so is integral with racism, and that racism is born in that dominator model, including the fear of people of color (POC's) obtaining equality (or power). And that the same applies to women, or gays and lesbians, or trans people, etc.
What do you think?