Danger vortex

A comic with two characters. Character 1: Actually... that thing you just said sounded kind of racist. Character 2: What are you saying?! I'm not racist!

Character 1: I know, but the thing you said sounded kind of racist, so I'd rather you didn't say stuff like that around me. Character 2: But I already told you, I didn't mean it in a racist way! Why are you making such a big deal out of this this?

Character 1: Because I want to stop the rupture in the space-time continuum from getting any larger. Character 2: You - wait, what?

Character 1: Look!

Swirly blue animated cartoony vortex.

A distortion in the fabric of reality

Character 1: As you can see, the Reality Matrix is badly distorted. Character 2: Holy crap!

Character 1: Reality is mostly made of beliefs. I mean, sure, it's also made of atoms and molecules. But things like music, or countries, or governments, aren't made of molecules - they only exist because people believe in them. Character 2: That makes sense I guess...

Character 1: When people say racist stuff it distorts the matrix. It doesn't even matter whether we believe it or not, the matrix is still distorted. Character 2: But how can that be?

Our brains are really efficient at constructing reality - sometimes too efficient. They take shortcuts.

Character 1: For instance, if we hear an idea repeated over and over, we're likely to think it's true, even if we don't think the source is credible! [1] [2] [3] Character 2: Yikes, that's quite a bug in the ol' neuro-chemical programming!

Character 1: And studies show that even people who consciously reject all forms of prejudice still judge others in a discriminatory way without even realising it! [4] [5] Character 2: Wow, that's... kind of horrifying.

Character 1: We don't even notice the distortion! We think we're behaving normally, but all the time we're operating in a badly distorted reality matrix. Character 2: So basically, saying racist stuff is like shooting a focused laser beam* directly into the Reality Field, creating a rupture in the space-time continuum which threatens to suck us all into a wormhole from which we may never return.

Animated cartoon figure shooting a laser beam into a swirling vortex.

A concentrated distortion beam is focused on the matrix.

Character 1: Exactly. Character 2: Wow, I had no idea. Thanks for the heads-up.


* This comic uses cartoon physics, not real physics.

All individual images are in the Public Domain, and this work as a whole is licensed Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0. The comics were made using Foofurple comics, and the animated gifs were made using the Gimp. The human figure with raygun graphic is by qubodup.

Further reading:

1. Wikipedia: Mere-exposure effect
2. Wikipedia: Conformity
3. Wikipedia: Social influence
4. Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination. (PDF)
5. Project Implicit