I am antisemitic when I am in mania. I warn all my friends about it, ask them to note it as a symptom, and let my wife know that I am spinning into the fire cloud. I am also sexually inappropriate. I enjoy arguments. I quote scripture when I argue even though I am an agnostic.
There’s a theory flying about, mostly held by the sane, that I am revealing my true self in my manic state. This stems from psychoanalytic theory and the notion that there is this subconscious running our affairs from behind the scenes. Supposedly, when I am stable, I am still an antisemitic rat. I’m just able to control it. But this theory crashes because these thoughts do not even enter my consciousness when I am stable or depressed except, in the latter case, in the context of reproving myself for having had them in mania. Nor do I dream about them except when I am running hot.
I don’t make light of racial or ethnic prejudice here. They are serious matters that we should challenge. But they don’t drive my life when I am not manic. I am also not obsessed with women or politics. I will defend my right to be agnostic, but without challenging either atheists or Christians about their choices*. I wouldn’t call myself a milquetoast, but I am not consumed by rages.
Medications, I often say, allow me to be my real self, not the hair-trigger-lipped fool who engages in these behaviors. People are people. I am aware of suffering and, where I can, I do something to relieve it. It is true that I am concerned about the things that Israel does, but I remember that the policies i dislike are the product of certain parties and does not reflect the wishes or desires of many Jewish people. I don’t get caught up in the heady juice of generality. I let people have the chance to prove themselves one way or another.
So I don’t believe that there is a secret puppet master running my affairs who is only revealed when my defenses against insanity fall. As an explanation of my personality, the idea that I am really a subconscious antisemite just sucks.
*Agnosticism means, for me, not an absence of belief or spirituality, but a refusal not to engage in the existence of God question. There are more important things to address such as racism, hunger, poverty, sane privilege, stigma, etc.