Controlling my autopilot

My autopilot, my instinct, my gut … why does it sometimes betray me and some of the personal values I hold most dear?

I grew up in apartheid South Africa. At that time I was not very politically conscious, I still really don’t care much for politics. Politically apathetic at best. But as I aged I became more and more aware of the inequality between races in my motherland. It’s something I always hated. Life to me must be filled with variety and that includes friends. I befriended people of various races and loved them for who they are not the colour of their skin, the money in their pocket, their sexual practices …. When I moved to Europe this became much easier. Here there is no underlying uneasy tension in the air when two or more people of mixed race are socialising in public. When apartheid ended in South Africa racism didn’t magically disappear. In that new South Africa a young mixed race couple could now freely walk hand in hand down the street. But the looks and scowls they got didn’t change. I was quite happy to leave that shit behind. I deplore racism in any form!

Which brings me to that autopilot of mine. Say I am driving around town and there is a bad driver in front of me, making part of my journey more difficult than it should be. If as I finally overtake them and look at the driver, I see a black person behind the wheel, the little hamster in my head says “Awww fucking black person, typical!”. WAIT!!! WHAT??? Where does that come from? That really isn’t me. How can I think like that? It disgusts and distresses me that deep down in my core there is a racist little fucker!

But it’s not only racism. I am quite an old soul. Morally I am grey at best but I respect and value the older generations. I will always have time to help or listen to an old member of society. But as with the little racist buried deep within me there is a little ageist.

As is the case with the sexist me. I don’t believe I am sexist but occasionally it shows its ugly little head. A few weeks back after a club night out dancing I headed off to the bus stop. Sitting at the bus stop was someone I can met a couple of years ago but hadn’t seen in ages. We started chatting and it turned out we lived a few blocks away from each other. We went back to hers and spent the next few hours chatting and drinking. I was trying as best I could to get into her pants and was doing quite well. I told her that I had gone to a restaurant a while back and the waitress looked just like her. At that time I couldn’t remember her name so asked the waitress hers. It said … “IT?” She turned to me with a shocked look on her face. “IT?” Yes I had said it. WTF!!! Do I really objectify woman that way? **face plant** Needless to say them panties never came off and I eventually left questioning my inner self.

Discrimination of any sort pisses me off!! But deep within me there is an autopilot of sorts that can be racist, ageist, sexist, classist, sexualist, creedist … I suppress that whenever it gets triggered. But why is it there?

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