I have touched so little on race in this short series of blogs, and there is so much more to say. So, what have I already covered?
- America has a long and ugly racist history that continues to this day
- Every child learns about it from a young age
- It’s really just a bunch of lies
- Some of it is true
This story started with how I learned about race in America. I continued by talking about why I think all lives matter and why it’s important to talk about black lives at this time. Now, I’m going to talk about what I think we can do about race in the future, to stop these wars and animosities and turn this ‘problem’ into a ‘solution’.
I tried 3 times to write the ‘long version’ of this blog, with numerous personal stories from my own life used to illustrate each point, but there are just too many and it lost its impact. Basically, I have tried to live a non-racial life from my first day out of the womb and it has served me very well. I think I’ve had a positive impact on a lot of people and their attitudes about this sometimes-illusion/sometimes-reality of ‘race’.
Here are the bullet points:
Respect people regardless of color, class, or creed
It doesn’t really matter what that other person looks like, lives like, or believes like. Underneath, they are a human being just like you. They deserve the same level of respect that you feel you deserve. Take people one at a time and treat them well, you will be teaching them how you’d like to be treated.
Make an effort to learn about people directly
Rather than trusting secondary sources (such as, ‘what daddy told you about ____ people’), go straight to the primary source: the people themselves. If you want to learn about black people, hang out with some. If you want to learn about white people, make a white friend. Et cetera, for all the colors and religions, nationalities, and economic spectra you can think of.
Stick up for people
If you respect people without distinction or prejudice, and you know about them from their own perspective–as in you understand their story the way they would tell it–well, then now you have a responsibility to stick up for them in the face of people who don’t. So, when you see someone else making specious cover-of-the-book judgments or discriminating against another’s differences, or even just misrepresenting their story, then you have a responsibility to stand up for that person.
Do things with people of different backgrounds
Co-action is how we take this unity-in-diversity thing out of the realm of theory and into the realm of the real, physical world (praxis). Like sports? Play and watch sports with some people of a different ethnicity who also like them. Like going to church/temple/mosque? Visit some churches/temples/mosques with historic ties to different lands than yours and see the commonalities you all have despite your differences. Like music? Food? Chess? Anything you like to do can be done with a more diverse group and the experience will be enriched.
Incorporate elements of other cultures into daily life
If you think that you live in a monocultural world and follow monocultural practices, you my friend are dead wrong. No one’s entire lifestyle exists in a racial, cultural, ethnic, or religious bubble. Everyone uses technologies that were developed by other peoples (even back to the really basic stuff like axes, boats, and wheels), eats foods that came from distant places, and follows mental processes (like language, math, or reasoning skills) that were developed by someone long ago and far away. Embrace it. Develop a diverse mind, diverse diet, and diverse set of useful habits.
Become a member of a new race
In the final analysis, I agree with the assertion of Haile Selassie I in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly in 1963,
“We must become members of a new race, owing our ultimate allegiance not to nations, but to our fellow men within the human community.”
Historically, biologically, and theologically, we are all members of a singular Human Race. This other stuff of colors and face shapes and all that is just a series of accidents of geography, population migrations, and cultural practices. We need to get over all that past stuff and just be part of one Human Race again. Sure, people will still look different from one another and do things differently from one another, but that is not a cause for disunity. If we want to last, and have a good time of it, we’ve got to be one.
One thought on “I’ll Keep Talking About Race”