It's REALLY Not About Race

Sometimes it's tough having conversations with people who don't know as much about a subject as I do, but insist on "arguing" with me as if we're on a level playing field of knowledge. For one, I don't "argue" to win. I debate to learn. It's tough when people don't even know what they don't know.

For instance, had a discussion with a dude who called me "racist" for referring to White people...as White people. I informed him that the "racists" would be the "White" people that codified "Whiteness" into law in the 1700's, because if you were "considered White", your life mattered more...

Race is and has always been a SOCIAL construct. We look really different, depending on where we're from, but human populations have never been separated long enough to form "pure" anything. Indeed, there was a time when even the Irish weren't considered White.

Don't tell that racist dickhead Bill O'Reilly. lol.

So, for the record, whenever you hear me talking about "White people", I'm using it in the colloquial sense. I'm well aware that race doesn't exist biologically and is a very poor scientific categorization and that people are all the same.

What we fight against are principalities and powers (ideas and ideologies)...not flesh. We're all made of the same stuff and we can all be awesome or we can all suck. I see proof of this within "my own" community when it comes to issues of gender / sexuality. Some straight, cis-gendered Black men are just as clueless and short sighted when it comes to LGBTQ / women's issues as some of the most daft "White people" I've met.

And no, not because they're "White people" or "Black men" in the biological sense, but because they're "White people" / "Black men" in the sociological sense and have never had to critically self examine their own privilege and position within society and how it may affect how they view the world and conversely how someone else NOT within that social category may be forced to live their lives. There's a disconnect and a lack of empathy that people may interpret as "racism, sexism, homophobia" but really it's just plain old ignorance.

For instance, some of the most vile racism (in the form of colourism) I've encountered was from my own Black people. I was too dark. And I mean that came from children as young as my 3 year old cousin who told me as teenager I was "ugly because I was too dark", to an older sister of my first girlfriend who broke us up because we were both "dark skinned" and she wanted to have "light skinned" nieces and nephews. I was 16 at the time.

This, of course is a holdover from colonial days when the mixed children of slave owners were given preferential treatment over "pure" African slaves. Culturally, as a matter of survival, you wanted to have lighter skinned children. Take a look at rap music videos and you'll see it's continued effect: Lots of money, lots of luxurious cars, locations and the women...all light skinned. Social signifiers of wealth and all that comes with it.

This again shows how a sociological classification based on biological differences can affect people's lives. But I digress.

What we need is more education that centres on tying history, sociology, science, psychology and biology into the HUMAN fabric, telling ONE story. As opposed to "thousands" of different ones, telling tales of people "from far away places, locations and times". Because places, locations and times may change, but people don't. And in order for us not to kill each other out of our ignorances, we need to realize that we are all one people, fighting the same battle and we should fight it together.

KB

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