Thursday, August 17, 2017

White Nationalists at Charlottesville: Scaredy Cats

Christian Picciolini, ex-skinhead
Jews will not replace us!

It is a white nationalist chant heard at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville on Saturday.

What does that even mean?

The crowd with the rally permit directs its anger, uniting its right to hate Jews. The other minorities, Blacks, Hispanics, all other persons of color, get a pass for awhile.

What is at the core of a personality that drives someone to drive or fly  across the country, even don a white sheet, take a torch, or bare-faced, nonchalantly trash talk millions of people he doesn't know to a television reporter?

James Alex Fields, Jr, white nationalist
We can assume most people saw Schindler's List, know about the atrocities of the Holocaust, and that most people feel compassion. But no. Not everyone is made of compassion, and some people have this odd gift, a way of detaching from other people, dehumanizing humans. My skin's better than your skin. My genetics are better than yours.

To those who work with mental illness, who understand the whats and wherefores, how people become who they are, being racist is a manifestation of fear. The media likes to use the word hate. Crimes like this one fall under the very worst hate crimes. But hate is, at its core, fear.

I fear spiders; I hate spiders. (Spoken with real emphasis, conviction).
I fear mosquitoes, they bite; I hate mosquitoes. (Ditto).
I fear snakes; they bite, too; I hate snakes.
I fear Jews (unconsciously, for that would be a sign of vulnerability); they seem so successful, they are everywhere (they are 2% of the US population); I hate Jews.

Thought follows a emotion, although it can go both ways. Not so complicated.

Add another CBT tautology, another emotion, jealousy. Fear is at the heart of jealousy, and jealousy loads heavy into this equation, too. Fear, add jealousy, equals hate.

For example: I might be  fearful that a particular person is trying to steal my husband. I'm jealous if my husband pays attention to her. I tell my friends: I hate her.

In Charlottesville, James Alex Fields, Jr., rammed his car into a group of counter-protesters, people who took offense to the white supremacist display of hatred towards minority groups. Because in the end, white nationalists didn't only come because they hate Jews, they hate anyone whose potential success and power scares them. Heather Heyer, only 32,  murdered because a man feels he has to make a statement, flex a muscle (foot to pedal), get some respect from the gang.

Fields thought the Nazis were really cool, he once told his history teacher.

So that's a reason to hate people, lacking personal exposure, ignorance. We know this, that if we put Palestinians and Israelis together to talk and get to know one another as people, there is understanding, friendship, detente. But Field's friends weren't exposed to Jewish people either, and we don't hear about them coming to Charlottesville.

A better explanation, beyond the theory about fear, is that Fields is a sociopath, based upon his comments to his history teacher. He has an idol, Hitler, and thinks that murdering Jews in Europe was a great idea; the Holocaust, a time of history magnificent, brilliant. The idea gets him high. Sociopathy, law-breaking (murder is universally taboo) feels good to a sociopath, really good, especially if you can justify it, benefit. Having this diagnosis one need not even have the need to dehumanize the victim, or blame him for something, it just feels good. No guilt.

But he did look nervous in the videos taking him off to prison.

The larger lesson of the rally in Charlottesville, and the probable reason for the crime, assuming Fields has no other big or little crimes under his belt, signs of sociopathy, lies in the very same reason that most other white nationalists also came to town, passively encouraging Fields to do his thing. We're back to fear.

The chant about being replaced, WE WILL NOT BE REPLACED has its genesis in the fear of being replaced, replaced at the top of the social pecking order in this country. The business about he statues is just a good excuse for a meeting, exposure.

Their psychology is that if people of color are given opportunities, they will excel, reach the "top", take what is not rightfully theirs.  If ethnic and racial minorities are accepted in this country (and even the sexual minorities, gays and lesbians, transgendered, etc., are accepted now so anything can happen) their talents and drive for education, gumption and initiative, will likely push those who have fewer talents, less drive or imagination, down the economic-social-political ladder. People of color (and Jews) who make block-buster movies, earn high salaries in television and music, find executive positions in business, finance, are stealing them and must go. And we cannot have any more of this. We have too much of it already, in the form of the Jew.

This rant goes on, sorry, but there is so much to say to stop now.

Last night I heard a white nationalist express genuine disgust that the beautiful daughter of the president married a Jew (what he must think of her conversion to Judaism, we can only imagine),  Jared Kushner.

Kushner has what this man certainly wants, a beautiful woman, who is now the president's daughter. So Jared has money, power, and a woman who is not rightfully his, according to this logic. He's not deserving. The white nationalist is surely jealous, would love to take Mr. Kushner's place. Feels replaced. Jealousy is at the core of his hatred. He is afraid that he will never make it in this world as long as there are people like the Kushner's taking his place.

It is irrational. This is a big, wide, plentiful nation, and with any interest, anyone can get higher education, jobs, status, success. There is room for everyone in this country to succeed, no cap on how much talent and brain power the society can sustain.

How un-American to think any other way.

If I personally could interview the men carrying torches, Uniting the Right, brazenly hating, I would ask different questions.
Do you think you got enough love as a child? Was there laughter in your home? Did you, as a family, enjoy relative harmony? Was there music? Did you sing? Did your parents welcome others to their table? Did you feel understood? Do you think you had quality time with your parents? Did they sit and read to you, hold you, tell you to love others, to give to others, and that you would be happier in life if your worldview came from a place of love, cooperation, with all people, even people unlike yourself? Especially with people unlike yourself? Did they tell you that we are 98% alike, when it comes right down to our DNA, and that most people are lonely and could use you as a friend?
Or was it more like child abuse and neglect, lots of beer, drugs, whiskey, sexism and all the other isms, domestic violence, blame, scapegoating others for problems? There will always be others to blame, if you look for them, and minorities are traditional favorites as scapegoats.

We can only hope this will change.
Christian Picciolini

Christian Picciolini describes himself as having been lost and lonely, recruited to become a white nationalist in Chicago. He rose in the organization, became the leader of the Chicago Area Skinheads. Now, at 22, reformed (fatherhood changed him), he cofounded a group called Life After Hate and has written a book,
Romantic Violence: Memoirs of an American Skinhead.

Mr. Picciolini, in an interview with NPR:
I think ultimately people become extremists not necessarily because of the ideology. I think that the ideology is simply a vehicle to be violent. I believe that people become radicalized, or extremist, because they're searching for three very fundamental human needs: identity, community and a sense of purpose.

This makes all the sense in the world to me. Preaching hate and violence is the language of bullies, and bullies are people on the hunt. They need to displace negative feelings like self-doubt, loneliness, poor self-esteem. They identify with the aggressor, often a parent, sibling, neighborhood gang members, to feel better about themselves. Better to be the one on the top, than on the bottom, in the scuffle.

It is a need for power, strength, community, a need Mr. Picciolini felt before he became a skinhead, a neo-Nazi.

About negative self-comparisons to others, therapists ask: Why would you do that? You're special. You are you. You are important. You don't have to be anyone else.

A person only has to watch the movie The Help to key in on on these words, to remember why they are important. We never have to compare ourselves to others, we only have to be our best selves. That is all we have to be, ultimately, to have it all.


P.S. One more thing.

It is easy to see why the Jewish people get under the skin of the skinheads and their like. So stinking driven, achievement oriented, personable, and smart. Just a few things that Jews are responsible for:

. . .Jeans, Lipstick, the Ballpoint Pen, Contraceptives, Instant Coffee, Television Remote Control, Traffic Lights, Scotchguard, the Flexistraw . . . God, Genetic Engineering, the Nuclear Chain Reactor, Virtual Reality. . . .Hollywood, the Sit-Com, the Long Playing Record, Woodstock, Sound Movies, Videotape, Color Television, Instant Photography, HolographyMonotheism, Psychoanalysis, the Theory of Relativity, the Weekend (Shabbat)Capitalism, Communism, Circumcision, Cheesecake, CafeteriasDiscount Stores, Pawn Shops, the Shopping Cart and the Ready-to-Wear Clothing IndustryProzac, Valium, The Polio Vaccine, Radiation, Chemotherapy, the Artificial Kidney Dialysis machine, the Defibrillator, the Cardiac Pacemaker, Vaccination against the deadly “Hepatitis B” virus, the Vaccinating Needle, Laser Technology, Google, the Wire Transmission Facsimilie (FAX) , the Microphone, the Gramophone, the Microprocessing Chip, Optical Fiber Cable,  Laser, Cellular Technology, the Videotape Recorder. . .Drip Irrigation, Scale Model Electric Trains, the Pager,  the Walkie-talkie,  Refrigerated Railroad Car, High-vacuum Electron Tubes, the Incandescent Lamp, Kodachrome Film, the Blimp, the Adding Machine,  Stainless Steel, Tapered Roller Bearings.
And worse yet, they keep getting Nobel prizes.

Man, I hate 'em.


Mound Builder said...

Thank you. It's been a rough week in an already rough year. I keep thinking if, if, if people were better loved, if they were genuinely and thoughtfully loved, how many things might be different in the world. I liked the questions you would ask. The answers seem essential but more importantly, if those questions were guiding principles in how people grow up... maybe it would be a different world.

therapydoc said...

So true, MB. So true.