Let’s talk race
‘Race’ is a difficult subject that should not be. After all, race is a social construct. It is a physical attribute used to segregate and control. There are genetic markers for pigmentation, the shape of different parts of our bodies, the chemical makeup of our blood, etc. But we choose the attribute of pigmentation to segregate. We then socialize these segregated entities with different gradations of power, a pecking order.
The human animal is a creature of habit. Dislodging centuries of indoctrination is hard. Even as science and our lived realities prove to the masses that racism, sexism, and all the other isms are without merit, a large segment of society is hesitant at even the attempt to see all as our equal brothers and sisters.
Last night I listened to an interview with Charles Blow and Don Lemon on CNN. I usually agree with Charles Blow and find Don Lemon to be an apologist. Not this time.
Don Lemon equated dealing with race relations as a marriage. Lemon believe black people need to play an active role in educating racists. Charles Blow like many in the ‘black intelligentsia’ and just about all the ‘aggrieved intelligentsia’ would have none of it. Blow believes it puts an undue burden on those victimized by racists. Blow thinks the ones with the ‘defect’ are responsible for fixing their own ‘defect.’
Blow may be right in some idealized world. In the real world, we all have ‘defects.’ I had ‘defects’ because of my prejudice towards gay people. I had defects in my unrealized sexism. Absent someone making the case to me those ‘defects’ likely had no chance of being mitigated.
After watching the interview, I took it to Facebook Live to get a pulse of the community. Interestingly I heard both points of view but remain convinced that those aggrieved by racism and all the other ism should play a part in fixing those with the ‘defect’ lest the problem continues. Yes, it is an undue burden. But life has never been fair. We do what is necessary to move forward.
In that light, I reposted my article written right after the Trayvon Martin murder titled “I was Trayvon Martin the day I came to America” on the Coffee Party USA Facebook page. It received some interesting responses.
The article expressed my reality. It did it in a hold-your-hand manner to have others walk in the path of the experience living as a black man without applying undue guilt. Some got it. I wonder if others just read the title and decided they would comment. Those are the people that deserve Charles Blow’s dismissal. But others are willing to accept that they have implicit biases when pointed out and are ready to do something about it. Biases are human. We must intentionally fight our prejudices, racial and otherwise.
I respectfully submit that dialogue, civil discourse is the ultimate solution for most people. That conversation must come with an important characteristic. One must allow others to articulate their most inner thoughts irrespective of discomfort and make the pact not to hold it against them. We only know what needs to be mitigated if we are aware there is something there to mitigate. In other words, we have to throw ‘political correctness’ out the door to allow the proper latitude of understanding.
I have made more breakthroughs with that stance than with any. You see, it is not enough to be right. It is not sufficient to know it all. If we want to change people’s heart for a harmonious society, in the long run, we only need to do what it takes, throwing out what has not worked over the last decades. So let’s get busy. Step into the discomfort of making a better America.