Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Black and White Unite

Scientifically, no one can be of one race. One’s DNA does not begin with Grandma and Grandpa; it begins, literally, from the very beginning of time, and that’s entirely too much DNA to categorize. That is the truth of humankind.

Race is a construct. The construct of race is evident when racist, European-based beauty ideals sustain the notion that minorities don’t count, or when racist emails from Ferguson emerge, or when people of the same skin tone are assumed to behave the same way, or when legacies of slavery and colonialism create an imbalance of power and privilege. This construct of race, especially vis-à-vis racism, very much exists.

Isaiah Washington said, “I’m not black, I’m human,” around the same time as Raven-Symoné said “I’m from every continent [country] in Africa, and I’m from every continent [country] in Europe.” They pounced on Washington via social media and demanded that he clarify. They wanted Washington to say he was black, unequivocally. He is saying that he just wants to be seen as a unique and complex human being first and foremost—rather than the Stepford-wife, group-think, box of blackness into which he must fit at all times. How dare anyone monitor and control his identity? Who granted anyone but him ownership of it? Trevor Noah, the South African, comedian bases much of his routine on perceptions of color.

When people watch the Walter Scott video, in which a black man is brutally killed, it is difficult for them to view race in nuanced, scientific, “kumbaya” terms. What they see is a white police officer desecrating and policing the body of a black victim, a practice that seemingly has occurred throughout “black” history. As a result, they view race in terms of war. To them, an unspoken racial war is happening on American soil, as the Walter Scott video proves, and it is difficult to watch such a video and not choose the victim’s side. “Whose side you are on,” then becomes a very serious issue in the black community. Saying “you’re not black,” when Walter Scott videos exist, is tantamount to defecting from your side, your team, your group. It even strays into the realm of your being “on the other side,” which could explain the aggressive policing of black identity to ensure that every member toes the line.

Of course, some members of the African Diaspora view blackness as a characteristic in which to take pride and celebrate. If anything, they may feel that “New Blacks” who dissociate with blackness are simply doing so because they see blackness as negative, rather than positive. But why in their minds would that be the only reason for the dissociation? Yes, some black people might dissociate from blackness because they see it as a negative, but some others might be dissociating from hard and fast labels; they want to live with more complexity—outside of others telling them what and whom they are. And some others might dissociate or even associate for millions of other reasons. Why does everyone have to experience identity in the same way? The lack of room for possibility in identity, the lack of room for people to be dynamic beings, is dangerous—even cultish. Ultimately, people have no right to shackled to labels, even if they feel that you will inevitably be shackled by racism.

Race, religion, nationality, culture... who cares? Why do we insist on separating ourselves from others? If we can have "global economy" then why not global citizenship? Humans do care about each other no matter what race, religion, nationality. But those in power don’t want us to live together peacefully. Media is always shoving hate down our throats. Political correctness and identity politics are detrimental to the socialist cause.

"There is a class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs. There is a certain class of race-problem solvers who don't want the patient to get well." - Booker T Washington

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