1. It would have saved me a lot of time and emotional energy if I had realized this earlier about racism: I was already way more advanced than those endless lines of politically correct people who continued to try re-educate me about racism (and do so even to this day), because I was a white skin coloured person from Zimbabwe. Actually, we had already a very assimilated society, racially speaking in my high school by the year 1983 (I emigrated with my family, aged 15, in 1984). It was not perfect, but I was already mixing with the Shona without so much as flinching, which is not like something that happens in Australia, almost ever — hence the endless politically-correct sighs and sense of tension about “racism”. Yes, at the age of 15, I was already more ethically and socially advanced.
I didn’t know how to speak up for myself, or even that the need to project a racial attitude onto me was the core of the problem.Then there were my father’s ongoing psychological problems, due to having fought in a war and been on the losing end and being forced to leave his country and start again with almost no nest egg in his prime (and his four young children to bring up — I was the eldest). He dealt with his anxieties and traumas by resorting to Christian fundamentalism and misogyny. Somehow, however, due to his real conservatism and perhaps good intentions overall and due to my lack of maturity (which is not entirely odd for a 15-year-old), I did not understand all the implications of this political and psychological morass.
2. There is still so much invested in political correctness and the need to project the evil of racism out of oneself into another. It’s absolutely huge in the West and so much so that if I make a direct protest (i.e. standing up for myself) as I began doing ever since I finally figured it out in 1996, people take that as a sign of guilt, and not as pointing out a general tendency of error. Oh, she is protesting so much that she isn’t a racist — it must mean she is one! So, this particular battleground is as much political as it is psychological. It persists independently of me (or of anything I might say in my defense) because people feel guilty about historical facts.
3. There is a deep human need to make over one’s self-image in a mirror of moral perfection. I had it in me, too, until I overcame that feeling through a shamanistic immersion into the dirt of life. You realise that the dirt of life IS life itself — and then you kind of go into a state of shock and then you recover from that and you are much healthier — less in need of defending oneself against others on a psychological level and more capable of doing it on a practical level. Whereas in the past having a formal identity seemed like a way to make things safer, one now understands that identification is just a system of shackles and in some ways a straitjacket to reinforce narrow behavior patterns. By contrast, what is down and dirty and historical fact is REAL.
And, I think I have just described one outcome of shamanistic initiation, at least as it was for me.