On Race

I was talking to some friends the other day, and they started what has become a frequent topic of discussion these days – Race.

Be it a quote from a politician or celebrity, a reaction to an arrest, or a meme – it comes up, and when it does the conversation always ends with exasperation.

They’ll say, “Ugh! Why can’t people just stop talking about it, then it’ll go away! We’re all the same, it’ll get better if we just stop talking about it! We’re all human!”

And with the sentiment, I definitely agree. We are all the same; there’s definitely only one race – the Human Race -and there are many different cultural expressions of that race all over the world. Race is definitely concept some invented to take advantage of others – and no matter what you believe, we all came from the same source.

If you’re religious, you believe in a creation story. You get it twice in the Abrahamic religions, since you’ve got Noah repopulating the world.

If you’re going from science, you’ve got scientific fact – evolution from as far back as the first mammal, and as recent as the first generation Homo Sapiens to outlive our Neanderthal cousins. It’s verified genetically, anthropologically. It’s a fact.

But believing that – really believing that – should open your eyes to the injustices you see. It should make you angry. Seeing racial injustice should make you mad.

If we’re all the same, you should be asking, “Why?” to a lot of things.

If you believe there’s no race, shouldn’t you find the crime statistics shocking? Is it just random, or could something be going on? Why are other humans arrested more for the same crimes? Why are female workers paid less, or humans with more melanin in their skin represented less in certain fields? Is it random, or are they all under qualified, or what?

It’s not random, because human behavior isn’t. It’s learnt. From families all over the world. A lie that began when we started putting people one over another. We’re the same in all the ways that count, and we should start celebrating that.

But instead, we make a choice to be different than what we should – we CHOOSE to have this distinction. We OPENLY use ‘otherness’ in our public forums and private conversations; from choosing to participate in demographics on forms to choosing to participate in a rally focused on the ‘otherness’ of the people not at your rally, you’re doing the same thing.

But we can choose different. And that’s hard, for real – but only at first. If you can look past whatever you’re carrying around connected to whatever generalization you’ve made about another, and look AT another individual. And once you do it once, the next time gets easier, and easier, because you connect with someone deeper than ‘my black guy friend,’ or ‘my gay friends.’ You look at humans as humans. You don’t get to change others. You get to celebrate others, love others.

And that’s contagious. It moves through you like a cold that keeps on coming. It moves through others. It’s infectious.

That’s what we’re meant for. That connection is the same connection that drives us to help others. It powers the Golden Rule. It’s the heartbeat of Altruism. The driving force of Us. Look past (1)[whatever you’re carrying around] connected to (2)[whatever generalization you’ve made about another], and look AT another individual.

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Definitions:

(1) is an ‘I’ statement: “I believe,’ ‘I have seen,’ etc. It’s a ‘fact’ you have trapped in the past, but it’s not a fact because it’s situational, not objective. It’s more of a crutch, really – propping up an idea to get you out of engaging with another as an equal.

(2) is an ‘I believe’ statement that grew into a generalization, or a statement that was driven into you by those wishing to assert control, to stop others from connecting. Such connection would be unprofitable, and no matter what you call ‘them’ – Mammon, impermanence, sin, etc. – they are a choice made wrong, a mark missed. But ‘they’ are a choice.

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I really think that’s what the idea of ‘Race’ was supposed to stop, you know? It severs that thing that connects us together. And it’s not that powerful of a barrier. It’s looking at a person as part of you, and not making a big deal about it. The part you should make a big deal about is why you thought those generalizations in the first place… what caused them? Where are they from? Where are they parroted? If division is something we can choose not to do, then why do it?

If we treated others as we would be treated in the same situation, in law and in love, in that which is imposed on us, and that which we impose on others, wouldn’t the world be better than now?

You can do that. You can make a choice to do that. You. Person reading this. You can do that.

If you’re having doubts, I would ask that you examine why you have those doubts. Those might be (2). If not, I would really like to hear from you in the comments below.

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