Tuesday, May 3, 2011

On Wizardry and Bigotry: Why Minorities Should Chill Out (1 of 3)

Background on Wizardry
In ages past, we have been told about the power of the great wizards. In battle, they would wield tremendous power and be an incredible (though sometimes uncontrollable) asset to any king’s army. They would work through spells, spoken words that had magical power far beyond the simple air vibrations of normal speech.

One set of wizards I want to tell you about is the Illusionists. They were all, like great wizards, able to cause incredible pain with a single movement of their lips. Their enemies, sometimes in the millions, were cut to the heart, immediately experiencing fear, rage, and pain. As if playing with marionettes, they squeezed the adrenal glands, releasing stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine. As if with a million electrodes, they zapped the fight-or-flight centers of the brain, activating the autonomic nervous system. Then the real power of these wizards began. The wizards’ words summoned memories. The victims relieved experiences of oppression and weakness from their lives; some even experienced the oppression of strangers, dead ancestors, or fictional characters. Under the powerful spell, the pitiable victims rehearsed thoughts of weakness and fear, again and again and again. These wizards are Illusionists, so their power is not over the physical world; these are just illusions. But those who frequently fall under their spell would begin to believe their charms are irresistible, and so stop resisting; they would believe that the illusions are reality, and so they become reality. Thus is the power of the Illusionist.

Kings and rulers coveted this power. They could command men by force, coercing their bodies, but they could not control men’s mind. The Illusionists, it seemed, could do even that. In actuality, they could do no such thing. A man’s mind cannot be controlled, but only persuaded. And so when he is persuaded that the Illusionist can control him, he behaves like it does. It’s a subtle point, but an important one, especially for a person trying to resist Illusionists.

Why this background on Wizardry? Because there have been a few cases of Wizardry recently that have upset a lot of people, so I thought it important to give you a recent history on the subject. In the past few months, there have been two very notable Sorcery incidents that have really got people upset.

The wizards who caused the disturbances (or more accurately, the Illusionists) were Kobe Bryant,  Alexandra Wallace and most recently, the SEAL team that killed Bin Laden. All of them used their magic to inflict terrible pain on untold millions of Gay, Asian, and Native American people, respectively. 

For those of you who don’t know, Kobe Bryant made a ‘homophobic’ remark. He’s been fined $100,000 by the NBA, and has made public apologies. The Lakers are now getting involved in the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) community to show they really do care (i.e. as penance for Kobe). Alexandra Wallace made a video making fun of Asians in the UCLA library. She caused so much pain in the Asian community that it provoked death threats and her ultimate withdrawal from UCLA. In discussions I had on the subject, a lot of people believed that the reactions against her were just: she hurt Asians, so she deserves to be hurt. And last but not least, the SEAL team that killed Bin Laden codenamed the operation "Geronimo." As reported in the ABC News Blog:
On Facebook, on Twitter, on Native American websites, in local newspapers, and in what appear to be countless conservations on reservations and in schools across the country, Native Americans are genuinely hurt and puzzled by the choice of “Geronimo” as a code-name for either Bin Laden or the mission to take him out.

Part 3 - The Way Forward

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