Home: Aesthetic Realism in the Press  |  Site Map  |  Education  |  EconomicsRacismArt & LifeLoveWar & PeaceMore

Reprinted from.....
VOL. 28 NO. 48 WEDNESDAY, MAY 5, 1999

It is in contempt that the
root of racism lies



     I was sickened to read about the killing of TyRon Mark Lewis by Officer James K. Knight in St. Petersburg early this fall.  As a Black man with relatives in Ft.  Lauderdale, I want your readers to know what I am grateful to have learned from Eli Siegel, the great educator, historian, and founder of Aesthetic Realism: the cause of racism is contempt.  He defined contempt as the “disposition in every person to think he will be for himself by making less of the outside world.” 

     Contempt is as ordinary as a family saying, “We are better than that family next door.” On a larger scale, contempt has people of one race or religion look down on people different from them. 

    “As soon as you have contempt,” Mr. Siegel stated, “as soon as you don’t want to see another person as having the fulness that you have, you can rob that person, hurt that person, kill that person.” This explains both young Lewis’s and officer Knight's actions that fall night. 

     In our unjust economy, young people feel they have no future and that no one cares, not even their parents who are too busy working two or three jobs.  So teenagers can wrongly feel justified having contempt — such as stealing cars. 

     And, police officers, who want to do good, also feel they “own” a neighborhood they should be protecting. 

     I learned that there are two kinds of anger — one just, which makes for pride, the other unjust, which makes for shame.  Anger at injustice, Aesthetic Realism teaches, opposes contempt and comes from the deepest desire in every person: to respect the world honestly.  The civil rights movement arose from a just anger.  I've had a proud anger at the prejudice and economic hardship which Blacks had to endure and with the murders of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and John F. Kennedy. 

     However, I used my anger at  injustice to feel I had a right to be angry towards all people.  I attended a mostly White college in upper New York State.  I was angry at how I was seen and I regret that I used my anger to have contempt for White students and felt they were not good enough to befriend me. I also felt superior to Black students because I felt they were not street smart as I was.  I relished my anger but, inside, I felt cold and was cruel to people.  Thank God I later learned from Aesthetic Realism that it was my own contempt that made me lonely, bitter and deeply unsure of myself. 

    Studying Aesthetic Realism, my contempt and unjust anger are criticized and my respect for the world is encouraged.  Because I see the feelings of people of all races as deep as my own, and I see that I am more like them than different, I am kinder and truly proud. 

    This is headline news! There will be no rest, only a hiding of volatile feelings, until contempt as the cause of racism is studied.  Community leaders and police commissions can evaluate race relations until Kingdom come but, if contempt is not understood, these vicious acts will continue. 

    With beautiful prose, Eli Siegel stated, “It will be found that Black and White Man have the same goodnesses, the same temptations, and can be criticized in the same way.  The skin may be different, but the aorta is quite the same.” When America studies this we will have safe and proud lives!   


Allan Michael is a Maritime Captain & Fine Art Photographer in New York City.  

141 Greene Street
New York NY 10012

Further Resources
Pelagus literature



Allan Michael writes:

I want your readers to know what I have learned from Eli Siegel, the great educator, historian, and founder of Aesthetic Realism: the cause of racism is contempt.  He defined contempt as the “disposition in every person to think he will be for himself by making less of the outside world.” 

Aesthetic Realism vs. Racism


Button image"On Racism & How to End It"  by Nancy Huntting

Button image "A Muslim Woman's Life" by Ruth Oron

Button image "Poems by Eli Siegel about Martin Luther King and America" by Alice Bernstein

Button imageAesthetic Realism and the Answer to Racism

Button image"Genome & Equality" by Alice Bernstein.

Button image"Words, Truth, & the Confederate Flag" by Alice Bernstein

Button image "Fascism, Understood At Last!" by Ruth Oron

Button image"Aesthetic Realism: The Solution to Racism" by Arnold Perey, PhD

Button image"Contempt, the Cause of Racism" by Edward Green

Button image"Queen's Visit to Amritsar" by Christopher Balchin

Button image"In Contempt the Root of Racism Lies" by Allan Michael

Button image"Prejudice Changes to Respect" by Barbara McClung

Button image"Students Learn, Prejudice Is Defeated!" by Patricia Martone

Button image"Mathematics vs. Prejudice" by Lori Colavito

Button image"Aesthetic Realism and the Anthropology of Africa" by Edward Green


In the Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known


Racism Can End June 25, 1997 (Reprinted 2004)

 • The Aesthetics of Equality  January 20, 1999

 • The Right of Every Child December 17, 1997