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Superiority

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By munno
Words 5489
Pages 22
The Psychology of Racism Introduction

Throughout history the superiority of the winners has been connected to a denial of feelings - what, in the British empire, was called the stiff upper lip. The conquerers of nature and "natives" claimed their right to the world as their possession because they had first conquered themselves.

Powerful people get others to do their bidding. It is the people that they subordinate who are forced to make adapt their lives to their masters bidding. The people with power can look aloof, calm and collected because they find it is easier to appear to be like this. They have the easier life, they are not being treated like beasts of burden, they are not being robbed and murdered. The ideology and culture of power often turns things upside down. Distress is the result of subordination and in human relationships the emotional display of distress then becomes the proof of inferiority. It proves that you need "protection". It becomes part of the power way of thinking, embedded in the culture, that the unemotional life style is evidence of superiority. The "Stiff upper lip" is the way you hold your face so as not to smile, snarl or cry. It is colonialism in facial expression when times, occaisionally, don't go so well. In contrast the emotional excitability of "the natives" proves their inferiority, it proves they have to be 'civilised'.

The civilisers, convinced of their superiority (which is really their arrogance and the way they have been emotionally amputated from any empathic response to common suffering) then see themselves in the role of benefactors, their supposedly higher civilisation is a gift to 'the natives'.

The effect of this is to put a pervasive burden onto supposedly subordinate cultures and social...

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