There are so many reasons to believe in race and it is certainly easier to just accept the reality that I have been given— to be as I’m told. Black. But, what if I don’t agree? Is it then wrong to talk back to society, to argue with the seemingly parental figure that is my culture? I don’t think so. Not if I don’t believe that race birthed me, that I am seeing my identity and place in society as more of an adoption than a product of natural conception.
I do not look black. My skin is not physically black so I can then question my maternity/paternity. What came together to create black people and for that matter, white, red, yellow, and brown people? It is not a divine conception or a scientific product. Of course, these truths then call into question those that I would consider family and the stereotype that “we all look alike” begins to lose its credibility. I must reconsider membership and belonging, self- image and self- understanding, reality and social reconstructions.
Why couldn’t I just believe in race? So much has been invested in making race a reality. Why waste a great lie? It seems that the entire world has agreed to this social contract. We have already been fitted for the costumes of colored people (White is a color too.), our roles are understood and the script has been memorized. It seems easier to merely perform to sold out crowds that increase with the birth of each new American citizen. Why ruin a good thing, right?
Wrong because race is not a good thing. Race not only does not speak to the good things about humanity but it doesn’t bring out the good in us. Has race brought us any closer to ourselves or each other? What awards or accolades can be attributed to the work of race or its progeny? How has being identified as a color contributed to the progress of humanity?
Not believing in race is a stretch. This stance does more than goes against the grain but my position as an anti- race writer goes against historical interpretations of social interaction, cultural memory and governmental rule. Still, it is what I must do. I’m a runner and stretching is necessary.
4 thoughts on “It’s a Stretch”
To your question, “Should we have been explicit about protecting races and/or providing reparations in our Constitution?”– No. The preposterous idea of race should have been scrapped altogether. The lie of race is so big because we have made it legal, scientific, biological, social, and divine. We are so invested in this social imagination that it needs to be addressed with the truth at every opportunity. The lie of race must be interrupted and never allowed to be spoken again. To your second question– “Would you support a Negro League today?” My answer again is no. Einstein said, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” Racism won’t be solved by a belief in race.
Stretching has been a “must” for me all my life merely starting with where I come from. Point being I went from Head Start to the 12th Grade and not “ONE” teacher or guidance counselor ever said anything to me about going to college and furthering my education because an african american “Black” child was suppose to just go work in the fields and that’s it. But thank God I “STRETCHED” and now in three more classes I’ll be done with my Masters Degree…Amen for stretching…
About baseball, Robinson Cano is a good second baseman for the New York Yankees. When he became a talented athlete as a teenager, his father sent him from New Jersey to their family roots in the Dominican Republic so that he could have a chance to become a Major League Baseball Player. That speaks to how vicious racism and exclusion are for African-American males (and females) right now. Would you support a Negro League today?
PRO: When the Framers of the 14th Amendment sat down to guarantee Equal Protection for former slaves, they did so in race neutral terms. Maybe that is a model of moving away from using race to resolve our problems.
CON: The Baseball season started yesterday. Rube Foster helped to start the Negro Leagues partly as a way to showcase black talent that was excluded from Major League Baseball. Sometimes we may need race-explicit groups to gain inclusion.
CON: And if you note the development of the Post-Civil War Amendments (13th, 14th, and 15th), they were generally used against African-Americans (i.e. –The Civil Rights Cases) and for businesses (liberty of contract cases). It wasn’t until the 1950s that the Civil War Amendments truly protected African-Americans in significant ways. Should we have been explicit about protecting races and/or providing reparations in our Constitution?