Tolerance Alone Does Not Equal “Not Racist”

Racism is not only hate-based, it’s fear-based.  People usually fail to grasp this realization.  The fear is what buttresses the hate, so technically the fear can exist without conscious actions of hatred.  Because of this, there are many people out in the world who think they are not racist because of outward behavior control yet support racist practices, actions, or institutions because of a fear of non-white peoples.  So, allow me to introduce what I learned from my uncle.

My uncle tolerates animals (cats, dogs, etc.) but he is not 100% comfortable around them because you see; they are animals.  And animals are not like people.  Animals are liable to be calm one minute but then scratch, claw, or sink their teeth in you the next minute.  Animals are found wild but can be domesticated, tamed, or become feral.  Animals are overall unpredictable, mindless, impulsive, and can easily hurt you.

When cats approach my uncle, he gets tense and nervous.  When they touch him he freaks out. Any fast movement on their part and he reacts fearfully.  Consciously he knows cats are harmless because he’s surrounded by them and they pay him no mind.  But subconsciously he can’t relax around them because he’s sociologically programmed to see them as threats.

Cops react to black males–and to a lesser but still horribly fatal extent, women–the same way.

So sadly, being tolerant does not equal being devoid of racist tendencies.  To tolerate something, denotes the acceptance of some form of diminishment; I tolerate someone sitting on my car’s hood while waiting around in the apartment complex.  I tolerate second-hand smoke.  I tolerate noisy neighbors.  So while a cop may tolerate black people, that doesn’t mean that that cop isn’t holding subconscious racial biases which usually ends up with a faster trigger finger with black people than any other group of people in the world.

In the video of (ex)Officer Sean Groubert shown above, I have reason to believe that he would exercise a faster reaction time with an unarmed black man (which, is sadly illustrated by his actions) then he would any invading Russian, Chinese, or ISIL fighter.  Why?  Because he only TOLERATES black people.  When conservatives speak on liberals being racist as well they often miss the mark, but this is the type of racism they are talking about.  To tolerate denotes to accept something that you wish you didn’t have to.  To tolerate something means a temporary and often conditional acceptance.  And of course, Civil Rights should be unconditional.

This is what those with white privilege don’t get; it’s not just conscious control of outward behavior, it’s the subconscious programming due to sociological engineering.  The good news is that this programming can be reversed.  But first, one needs to stop pretending that subconscious biases don’t exist.

Photography Credit: Johnny Silvercloud

Written by Johnny Silvercloud

The Soul Brother #1 of a Kind. Consequentialist street photographer abolitionist writer/speaker who stands for any oppressed peoples. I do it because every man and woman deserves freedom of thought -- especially black folks.


  1. Enemy combatants get more love than Black citizens in the US. POW’s at least have some international rules that dictate behaviour. I thought that the Executive branch had those same rules in place, but it is hard to fathom it nowadays. I think that there is one main reason that most of them have gone rogue: their superior and commander in Chief, and top Executive, or POTUS is Black. When Barack came into office and told them exactly what type of policing that he expected, all of the fraternal orders of police, instantly started fearmongering and created a wedge into most police forces. I dealt with many of them and called them on it.

    They are not hired to protect and serve us. They are hired to corral and control us. That is the very reason that they were adopted and pulled in the Federal system, because they could not be trusted to govern themselves, under State law and rule.

    “in 1885, when Chicago began to experience a wave of strikes, some policemen sympathized with strikers. But once the police hierarchy and the mayor decided to break the strikes, policemen who refused to comply were fired. In these and a thousand similar ways, the police were molded into a force that would impose order on working class and poor people, whatever the individual feelings of the officers involved.

    Though some patrolmen tried to be kind and others were openly brutal, police violence in the 1880s was not a case of a few bad apples—and neither is it today.

    Much has changed since the creation of the police—most importantly the influx of black people into the Northern cities, the mid-twentieth century black movement, and the creation of the current system of mass incarceration in part as a response to that movement. But these changes did not lead to a fundamental shift in policing. They led to new policies designed to preserve fundamental continuities. The police were created to use violence to reconcile electoral democracy with industrial capitalism. Today, they are just one part of the “criminal justice” system which continues to play the same role. Their basic job is to enforce order among those with the most reason to resent the system—who in our society today are disproportionately poor black people.”,d.cWw&cad=rjt

    Works Cited:

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s