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Thursday, January 7, 2016
COLORBLINDNESS, OTHER BLINDNESS, AND DENIALS OF DIFFERENCE
Santa Claus doesn't believe in this nonsense.
There was no point in history when we were all one.
This base belief behind this sign is pure fiction.
There was no point in time where one human couldn't look at another human see a difference and decide "I am better than you." And I find it hard to believe that anybody with a significant amount of melanin in their skin in any predominantly white country could believe this for one nano-second.
It is the lack of respect for differences divides us.
Besides, if you know your United States History you know that racism preceded race.
A lack of respect for differences and a very natural human greed for your group to have power-over that other group over there is THE single thing within race, religion, politics, and wealth that divides all of us, everywhere.
Europeans got to weaponry and guns first and their crowd bred diseases wiped out large black and brown populations all over the Americas before they started shooting. And they used these two advantages, guns and disease to take over (colonization) and steal other people's homelands.
White people saw black and brown people, they instantly decided that they were the better human beings (racism) because they wanted to have justification for their theft of goods and labor and also justification of genocide so they could steal the land.
Europeans came to this land and created racial categories (race) to indulge the desire to take what wasn't theirs without feeling guilty.
They even went so far as to create fake science to say darker skinned people were less than human so as to justify inhumane treatment.
Racism preceded race because human beings are greedy for money and for power over others. If you 100% believe in the fluctuating theory of evolution, the bible, or some combination of the two, it ought to be pretty obvious that this Santa Clause theory of the evolution of social life (as pictured above) was never, ever true.
There was no "before _____ divided us" We were always divided.
Ta-Nehisi Coates does a fairly good job of describing this theory in the love letter he wrote to his son on race called "Between The World In Me."
Howard Zinn's People's History Of The United States even goes so far as to describe a theory of how rich white people started whispering to poor whites about how they were superior, giving them minuscule privileges based on their white skin color so as to stop those poor whites from aligning with darker skinned indentured servants against the 1% that were taking advantage of them all. Eventually the poor white dirt eating farmer would feel even more superior as the black came to be completely aligned with "slave."
Not much has changed in 400 years.
By the way, the drive for us all to be the same nowadays? That's just another form of wanting power-over.
The powerful group, in this case let's make it men instead of white people. The men say, "We over here have it all together, you need to be more like us!" Whether it's white people saying our way is obvious superior or men saying our way is obviously superior, that claim is about disrespect for differences -- via saying the differences don't exist or they barely matter.
All of us have sites of being the oppressor and the oppressed, even black women. Black women have Christian Privilege they don't see or hear. Sometimes they have class privilege they don't see or hear.
If you're in the most powerful group in a certain situation, the privilege and superiority that is ever available to you for your use may pass you by like the notes coming from a dog whistle. You'll never even hear a sound. But it'll lead you to war anyway because you'll take your normal advantage and bash others over the head with it without acknowledgment.
In other words, being human divides us.
And sometimes you have to reign part of being human in. I don't think a lot of people who call themselves humanists believe that. Since this is a page that centers on race, let me say that I see that white humanists believe in their own natural goodness just like white Christians do from where I sit.
So let me say it again, there is no way to avoid making an EFFORT to respect differences. There is no way to make that effort if you refuse to hear and see your own privilege and then do something about it.
We have to head in a direction that is the direct opposite of that sign because pretending that the social realities of race, religion, politics, wealth, and gender do not exist is not "doing something" so much as "avoiding something. Pretending differences don't exist is just a way of maintaining the status quo via willful ignorance.