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Prejudice and Social Pattern Recognition



I recently watched 2015's Fantastic Four, a Marvel movie that didn't do that great in the box office. I personally enjoyed it and thought it reflected the franchise well. One line really got to me, when Sue Storm declared that music was but "pattern recognition," wherein the musician lays out a series of patterns, building up and teasing the listener with recognition (usually in the form of a "hook.")

Reed Richards then asks Sue Storm if she sees any patterns in him, to which she says, "You want to be famous. People told you to do certain things, you ignored them and now you're here."

It's no secret that racism and prejudice is on the surge in the United States and likely throughout much of the world, especially in parts of the world dominated by a Western order that is fracturing. It's puzzling how people who didn't have these resentments, at least not on a paramount level, suddenly issue them compulsively and even uncomfortably.

Could this be pattern recognition? Great horrific episodes in human history often occurred when there were fracturing systems in place. Petty minds looked for what they saw as patterns in whatever fracturing occurred and pointed the finger at those alleged actors. This explains prejudice on a core human level and explains why it may be so compulsive - it might be an ugly attempt by a limited brain to sort out fear, ultimately hoping that their prejudice will bring about some kind of resolution from what they fear.

It doesn't work, of course, because these actors the base mind sees as the culprit of their problems likely have nothing to do with it. The real problem is likely out of their control altogether and thus unable to grasp.

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About Radical Second Things

Michael Orion is a blogger, writer, artist and photographer based in the Bay Area. Besides his maintenance and promotion of Radical Second Things, he contributes to the San Francisco newspaper SF Western Edition, where he writes about local non-profit organizations.

Mark Cappetta is a practicing Catholic and active LGBT activist. He has been instrumental in keeping Radical Second Things and updates the Facebook account almost daily.

Eva Gnostiquette is an artist, programmer, "future scientist," bi-trans girl and graphic designer. She voluntarily helped to create the first print issue Radical Second Things and designed our beautiful banners. Thanks so much, Eva!

Jordan Denato is a professional artist based out of Iowa. He took the initiative to illustrate both Jennifer Reimer's story and Michael Orion's Oscar Romero work. He has his own art studio, Tar and Feather Studios, and is a critical part of Radical Second Things.

Radical Second Things is a liberation theology themed blog that has clear cut goals - we see the structural decline of the United States and much of the west and hope to present alternatives that will offer "a preferential option for the poor" as more become vulnerable.

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