• PN

Tone Deaf

Updated: Jun 16

At the Black Lives Matter protest in Sydney there was a sign above all others that caught my attention. It read; “racism = small dick energy.” As humour is often masked in truth, the journalist in me couldn't help but look into it further. Sure enough, I discovered a study called the Overexclusion Effect by Professor Mark Rubin and reached out presuming he would be as compliant as Harry Potter’s Professors at Hogwarts. In retrospect my approach was naive considering I’m not the chosen one and perhaps more importantly not a student either. I imagine that as an academic he wasn’t overly impressed in my ‘research’ thus far given my last interview on Casting North was with a Psychic. Regrettably Professor Rubin will not be joining me as he is, “rushed off his feet with other matters,” which in all fairness I assume are of a lucrative capacity.


This is not the first and won’t be the last time I’ve slid into a Professor's DM's for free knowledge, although I’ll admit it’s weirder now that I’m not a student. It was my favourite aspect of studying Journalism as I used it as an opportunity to interview academics about topics I knew their studies disproved. Rather than investigate real world issues, I based my articles around bizarre conspiracy theories and roped academics into commenting on them under the guise of a serious interview.


The only piece of substance I wrote was on Islamophobia, which was based around conversations I had with members of Newcastle’s Islamic community. Out of pure curiosity I thought I would throw a member of the far right wing into the mix, which was a mistake as he turned out to be a modern Hitler. It was clear he idolised the führer, as I found a photo of him protesting at a Nazi rally during the 70’s wearing a swastika. That’s not all I found, he was also a convicted felon having supplied a firearm to two skinheads who shot up the home of an African Congress representative while his young family were inside.


Now minutes before the interview, I realised that I should have done more research and that I had voluntarily given my number to a Nazi. Shortly after the interview started it was clear that this extremist was no joke and that I had been incredibly naive. I became extremely uncomfortable as I realised I’d given him exactly what he wanted, an open ear to spew hatred. That interview was the first time I had been confronted with blatant racism, and as my blood began to boil I wondered whether my instinct to rip him a new one would serve me as a Journalist. As technically speaking, a journalist should remain neutral despite the subject but all I could think was “fuck man, who hurt you?”


One theme in particular came through clear, he identified as being part of a superior race and felt that the rights of the marginalised were an attack on his identity. This is where Professor Rubin’s understanding of the Overexlusion Affect becomes useful, in which he ascertains that our social biases are directly related to issues of self-esteem. As it is not enough for an individual to identify with a group in of itself, they must also view their group positively. Which in retrospect made me realise that baby Hitler’s entire self-esteem had been built on White Supremacy. If that’s not proof that racism is a direct result of small dick energy I don’t know what is… as it doesn’t take a shrink to speculate that all that hate had to be overcompensating for something. I find it hard to believe that he couldn’t have known that sporting a swastika would affect his ability to get laid in the 70’s.


This year has been a lot like the movie the Truman show, particularly the scene where Jim Carey’s character sails his boat into a painting and discovers he’s a Kardashian. In light of recent news events surrounding police enforcement, I couldn’t help but reflect on the only uncomfortable encounter I’ve had with the law. This time last year my friend and I were pulled over for speeding in Costa Rica. As the police approached we both agreed to try and talk our way out of the fine which we knew was possible as we had heard from travellers they were corrupt. As my friend rolled down the window I tried my best to hold back laughter as I spoke in broken Spanish and milked the confused foreigner card. The police were clearly accustomed to this move and counteracted by speaking in perfect English. It wasn’t long before the officers made it clear they weren’t there to negotiate when they demanded, “how much do you have on you!” forcing my friend to open her wallet which revealed only $20 USD inside.


Unsatisfied with their plunder their attention turned to me, “and you?” they pressed. Keeping my face as straight as possible I said, “I don’t carry cash.” Taking a risk that they wouldn’t pat us down and find the wad of bills I’d stupidly stored in my back pocket. Luckily the officers let us go, making a point that we were a nuisance by plucking the $20 from my friends wallet. When the police were far enough away I said, “holy fuck man. Did we just get robbed by the police?” Now over a year later, I have found a greater realisation in that when confronted with authority I instinctively leveraged an inherent privilege that I could talk my way out. Admittedly I was far more comfortable cussing out an extremist than coming to terms with my inherent white privilege.


While racism is most certainly small dick energy, the subtleties of it are even smaller. If the Overexclusion Effect is correct in saying that an individual must identify with their group positively, I couldn't help but wonder whether baby Hitler's superiority complex began while painting with beige 'skin coloured paints' in primary school.

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