Friday, January 26, 2018

What's in a race?

race1
rās
noun
  1. 1
    a competition between runners, horses, vehicles, boats, etc., to see which is the fastest in covering a set course.


race2
rās/
noun
  1. each of the major divisions of humankind, having distinct physical characteristics.

    "people of all races, colors, and creeds"


With what has been the craziest year in politics, since Trump came to power, January 20, 2017. For better, for worse, this guy shook up the country like a 2-liter of Diet Coke...  and dropped a Mentos in it.


What Trump HAS done, that i like, is really expose the underbellies of people for who they are and what they are, including himself. Given the polarization of policy and relations across the USA the past year, and really since the election started, citizens have become polar, but as i heard a historian say, the USA has only really been unified twice (maybe thrice) in it's 200+ year history- WWII and 9-11 . Of the myriad of problems that have plagued our country, race relations; an ever-present, scourge on society and our state of affairs seems to shower the news.

The Charlottesville rally that ended with chaos and a dead woman, sparked the fire, again, literally and figuratively, about race and racism, in a small, western Virginia college town, that ironically (or not), is home to President Thomas Jefferson, a conundrum in himself- declared- "All men are created equal", but was a noted slave holder, who himself fathered children with his own slave, Sally Hemmings, who herself was half sister to his wife Martha. Digest that.... 

While i've always thought racism was ridiculous: not liking someone because of the color or their skin, seems so 1800's and archaic to me. I thought everyone evolved from the cradle of humanity, 
Africa. Some people went closer to the poles and lost their skin tone and those who stayed closer to the equator, maintained their color. 

In today's day and age, DNA testing can show you where your ancestry came from, what i wanna know is, how white is white and how black is black? There's no need to call someone an African American, unless they were born in Africa or emigrated, just as there's no reason to call someone an Irish American, unless they came here. I think when government and society tries to ascertain your "race" when you fill out forms or registrations, undermines who we are as a country.


When I moved to New Orleans in 2001, at age 22, there was an albino kid in my neighborhood, his parents were black, so in effect he was a white, black kid. This took everything i knew, or thought i knew about race, and tossed it all out the window, i'd never met 'Caucasian' albino, let alone an 'African American' one, for that matter.  Yellowman, a reggae icon and albino, was orphaned as a child in Jamaica (due to his parents rejection of him), and went on to be one of the most successful musicians from the island nation.


"Dont' judge a book by it's cover" is a simple and powerful metaphor to describe preconceived notions, race being one; which is echoed in Martin Luther King Jr.' famous speech, on August 28, 1963- 

     "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"



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