“I have a dream that my four little children, will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today”.
This is an excerpt from Dr Martin Luther King Jrs iconic ‘I have a dream’ speech in 1963. The idea was simple, honest; encompassing a great deal of pride and dignity within it.
The underlying principle of this concept is to treat each other equally, with respect and dignity. To not judge one another based on the outermost superficial characteristics, but instead on our unique character, identity, experiences, actions and behavior.
The Present Era
In the present era we must ask ourselves, what kind of collective future do we desire in relation to our social interactions, specifically those relating to our individual and collective identities. As human beings we have been blessed with the most amazing advantage over earths other creatures, our highly evolved brain. We have developed advanced technologies, built empires and cities and have the most complex social interactions known to the animal kingdom, but despite this being the case, a great number of people choose to undermine, shun and reject this depth of being, by focusing on the most obvious and basic aspects of who we are, namely our superficial identity. Many horrific events occurred throughout history solely due to the superficial differences between different groups. Genocide, slavery, war, segregation, murder and violence have all featured throughout history, all because of difference, in this case difference of colour and race. Despite the fact that discrimination of difference in particular, race, has never lead to positive outcomes, we as human beings continue to get lost in this seemingly endless struggle. Rather than learning from our past we seek to perpetuate the need to treat each other differently simply because of our skin colour.
Swinging the pendulum
We cannot improve our interactions and create a society of true equality by focusing on our differences. The result will be one of perverse effect.
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
Rather than swinging the pendulum to the opposite end of its curve, we must work together to centre it. The centre of the curve is the place of greatest harmony. Only when we are able to truly see each other as equals, focusing on individual character and expression alone, will we reach our intended destination. The current over-correction in relation to race relations is to be expected, as human beings are flawed and have a tendency to overcompensate.
Racism is taught
And when a child is born into this world
It has no concept
Of the tone of skin it’s living in
This is an excerpt from the song '7 seconds' by Youssou N'Dour and Neneh Cherry. The point being highlighted is accurate and illustrates the importance of avoiding teaching racism to children. Children are born, essentially as a blank slate, with only inherited characteristics, racism not being one of them. Children are truly motivated primarily by pleasure, or a desire to have fun and express themselves. They seek out anyone willing to entertain these motivations and to be part of their world. They desire positive interaction and enjoy the company of compatible and like-minded individuals. Children do not consider colour or race when determining who they wish to interact or spend their time with, their motivations are innocent and naïve to the world beyond the early years of childhood. Only when an adult or environment teaches them that they are in fact different and should avoid interacting with children from other races, backgrounds and colours, does their journey into discrimination begin. This issue is two fold. The first component of discrimination and difference is taught to a child by their parents and the second is environmental. If a child grows up in a community consisting primarily of people from their own racial background and this community happens to be poor, it is easy to look outward to other groups and to make the assumption that the difference in wealth and quality of existence is solely due to race and skin colour. As parents we must not deny the innocence of children by clouding and poisoning their minds with false and misleading beliefs. This will only undermine and stifle the development of a child into a young adult and will further reinforce discrimination within society.
The education system in all of its wisdom has seemingly lost its way and been diverted to a new trajectory. Great emphasis has been placed upon the superficial differences between individuals and groups. A victim and oppressor scenario is now being taught throughout the western world, subconsciously influencing and altering young minds. This has taken the emphasis away from the importance of individual character and authenticity and has now placed that emphasis on collective identity. You have to ask yourself what do you want to be known or valued for, your superficial identity or your authentic character? Surely no one desires to be known as or for their colour, religion, sexual orientation or background. Placing value on individual expression and authentic character should be of the upmost importance.
Intersectionality is the concept that emerges through the connectedness of individual, social, religious and political identity, a unique hierarchy of discrimination. Intersectionality is in fact one of the most regressive concepts ever conceived. If one were to reverse engineer this concept, it would resemble the exact same regressive, discriminatory and horrific social structure and system we know existed in the past. Again, the pendulum has swung too far in the opposite direction past and beyond the true place of balance and harmony. Intersectionality is however correct in demonstrating the need for a new anti-discrimination model, but rather than adding to the preexisting models, which appear to be designed to protect specific groups, all these models should be disposed of and replaced by a single all-encompassing anti-discrimination focus. That focus being- do not discriminate against another human being particularly for reasons such as race, colour, sexual orientation, religion and so on. Individual preferences and authentic expression, as well as immutable characteristics should form the foundation of this anti discrimination law. The idea of intersectionality has received much praise within the confines of the educational system and the beneficiaries of this concept. Intersectionality represents a regression into primitive and ignorant thinking. It denies individual experience and character and replaces it with superficial markers of identity. One of the more toxic characteristics of intersectional ideology is that appears to deny poverty as an intersectional identity. If poverty is part of the intersectional hierarchy, you would never know as it is never mentioned, noted, highlighted nor emphasized. The 3 principal requirements for human survival are access to water, food and shelter, this is the absolute minimum standard of living. Only those in poverty can claim to truly be in a position of great and true desperation and need. Poverty does not discriminate and is not confined to any particular social group. By placing a higher importance and value on the intersectional hierarchy we not only deny those in the most dire of situations, we disrespect and marginalize them further. The educational system is in serious need of an evolution and re-acquisition of value. All people should be considered and treated in a dignified, respectful and considerate manner, no matter what their superficial identity.
Racism has been conflated and confused with discrimination of the physical identity
As the human race progresses into the ever-emerging future, we are experiencing a greater dilution of singular race categories. With greater prevalence of interracial couples, greater numbers of mixed race children are being brought into this world. To some extent we are all mixed race, but with the emergence of mixed race as a common racial category within society, the defined boundaries of race are now being tested. People of mixed backgrounds are a combination of other races. What if they were to enter into relationships with other mixed race individuals, only to spawn their own offspring; the children of such couples would comprise a number of different races and what would that make them? Mixed race people are now emerging in a sense as the ‘new race’, but how can racism occur if there is no singular race present in the identity of the individual? Through colour. Yes, we have now started to shift to discrimination of colour from race. Consider the example of albino people in Africa. They are in fact discriminated against, attacked and killed by people from their own racial background simply because their outward appearance is white. This is discrimination of colour. Only the true racists of the world discriminate based on race and colour. Currently, the political, institutional and educational systems focus primarily on colour when introducing concepts associated with race and discrimination. The term ‘people of colour’ is now being used, superseding individual race categories. A collective is emerging reinforced by regressive concepts such as intersectionality.
Take a minute to reflect and consider just how ignorant, idiotic and shameful it is for a species as advanced and human beings with all of our potential, to place such an excessive and obsessive importance on the melanin within our skin. The human brain grants us an almost infinite depth of being, yet we find ourselves often stuck at the outer most layer.
The denial of individual experience
By focusing on race we deny the experiences and character of the individual. Consider the life of an individual who experiences great trial and tribulation until one day, they reach a significant level of success in life. Consider an individual of great wealth, influence and success. This is what we see externally. But imagine, they were abandoned by their parents at a young age, moved around from place to place never experiencing the love of a good parent. They suffer abuse at the hands of others during their early years, miss a great deal of education, experience significant loss and suffering due to medical conditions. They end up on the street, trying to survive any way they can. They eventually get a job, only to lose it because of addiction. They experience severe health issues before one day someone reaches out to help them. Over the course of many challenging years they emerge anew. They continue on this path for ten more years before they eventually realize their goals and dreams becoming successful and wealthy. After becoming wealthy they decide to develop and fund programs for people who come from similar backgrounds to them.
Now imagine you see this person in the present moment, you look at the colour of their skin and you assume they are where they are simply because of this skin colour. You deny them all of their experiences, all of the sacrifice, heartache, struggle, effort and torment. You deny them their character and all of the good they do for others. You break their character down into a singular component based on the melanin in their skin. Treating others based solely on the colour of their skin and race, is one of the greatest injustices.
Laws against racism and discrimination
Of course it is absolutely essential that racist behavior has consequences. In fact, any kind of unfair discrimination, particularly discrimination of superficial identity should be outlawed as it generally is in most western countries. The integrity of the legal system must of course be maintained. All persons who stand accused should be considered innocent until proven guilty and a formal conviction must be based on the weight of the evidence available at the time. The evidence must be objective, factual and reasonable. The law must be colour blind.
A Positive Focus-
What is a positive focus in relation to race, colour and discrimination in general. A positive focus is defined by helping and supporting those who actually need it. A positive focus does not mean treating one group better than another. A positive focus emphasizes the need for support based more-so on financial status and access to resources, than it does any superficial characteristic. A positive focus is one of all encompassing inclusion, love, consideration, civility and fairness. A positive focus does not demonize any collective group of people, rather it treats them all as unique individuals based on their individuals merits. This means that instead of replicating the mistakes made throughout history, we reset at the centre where the greatest harmony and balance can be found. A positive focus means that as human beings we treat each other according to the content of our individual character rather than the colour of our skin.
Under the sky, under the heavens there is but one family. It just so happens that people are different. - Bruce Lee
A New Perspective-
The current approach, socially, politically and educationally places an emphasis on the difference between individuals, especially their more superficial characteristics. It attempts to define an indefinable and impossible hierarchy of value and oppression. A negatively focused framework has been introduced and has had the effect of eliciting undesirable feelings and emotions such as, bitterness, envy, hatred, anger, impatience, malice and ignorance. These particular states, emotions and feelings by nature cannot lead to positive outcomes nor can they lead to a future of balance and harmony. Instead of the presently perpetuated culture of difference and disconnectedness, we should re-frame our view and change our perspective of race and colour. The differences between us should serve as a source of interest, authenticity and uniqueness. We should desire and encourage difference. When people travel to Africa to experience the wildlife, is this choice due to the extremely limited variety of different species? No it is not. They travel to Africa because of the abundance of different species. It is the differences between us that make people interesting, not the fact that we are similar. A world of identical human clones would be a sad world indeed, so why encourage the kind of perspective that creates division.
The Rule of race and colour
The rule is simple. Do not focus on the difference of colour and race unless it is for positive reasons only. Only focus on race and/or colour out of interest, attraction and in support of identification of individual authenticity. Colour and race are only superficial components of an individual’s overall character. What is within is what truly matters.
Excerpt from a 60 minutes interview between Mike Wallace and Morgan Freeman
WALLACE: How are we going to get rid of racism until …?
FREEMAN: Stop talking about it. I’m going to stop calling you a white man. And I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man. I know you as Mike Wallace. You know me as Morgan Freeman. You’re not going to say, “I know this white guy named Mike Wallace.” Hear what I’m saying?