Here is a confession:
I am not who race says that I am. I will not be who race says that I will be. I can go where race says that no “like me” has ever gone before. Race does not open or close doors. We do.
I am so tired of this race, this contest against flesh. My color versus your color. My favorite skin will win. We are quite literally declaring champions of carnality. Really, humans?
We have got life all wrong. It is not experienced or found on the surface though we live on the level of our epidermis. Because life is depth. Life is digging. We are dirt, always close to the earth.
We are not grounded in skin but soul. And race is a case of mistaken identity, misplacing me, losing me in stereotypes. Wait. Stop. This can’t be right. Race has gotten it wrong. I know that this is hard to believe but race gets it wrong.
Still, we speak of race as if it has 20/20 vision. We pretend it is rightly identifying all of humanity when we know it sees in stereotypes. It is how we see each other. Lumped together in hopes of creating omniscience.
Tell the truth. Race causes us to lose sight of each other quite literally, to turn a blind eye when necessary. And in so doing, we are missing out on love, healing, relationship, truth… all because we cannot see each other. Look at me. Who do you really see? Because race does not introduce you to me.
Race says what I experience determines who I am, that I am who other persons say I am. But, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. You can create distance between the experience and you. I am not a collection of happenings, occurrences, accidents, trials and errors. I don’t merely have a purpose but I am purpose, created to rise into the reality of living soul.
And so I must repeat: Race does not tell me who I am or who I will be. It does not have its sights on me. I am a mystery. I am race-less. Race does not get to choose where I begin or will end up. These are my feet and this is my future. I can walk my own way. Race does not know the way that leads to me. We part ways here.
I refuse to allow something we made up to make over me. I am made in God’s image and there is no changing that, no rearranging those facts. I come in first, no second class creatures here.
Race is not so special and should be taken down a peg or two. Frankly, I would be happy to take it off the pedestal all together. An idol, it needs to come down and someone needs to say that it is a puppet. I will be the first say that its mouth is not moving, that there is someone behind the curtain, that we are projecting our fears onto a word.
And it is only a word. Nothing to be afraid of, I am not scared of what race can do to me. No bogey man, no monster under my bed or white man upstairs. I shout, “Come and get me, race!” I’ll be waiting up for you, eating cookies and drinking a cold glass of milk in my bed.
I sleep so much better now that I have kicked race out of my head.
We have fed into this fallacy and it seems impossible to cut it down to size. It’s been going on for so long. How can we stop it? With our tongues, challenging words that describe our existence by epidermis. Questioning the plausibility of life lived on the surface, of our omniscience, our fortune- telling of flesh. Because we cannot look at someone’s appearance and tell who they are and who they will be. C’mon, humans.
But, to call race a lie would be to admit that we have been lying to ourselves. Because we are not as powerful or perfect as our self- proclamations would lead us to believe. Believing our own press, it is time that we stop pushing this narrative. Race is not real. Snap out of it.
Because I can see beyond this trance. I will not nod and agree because race will repeat after me, not vice versa. Race will not cause me to question my humanity. So, without apology, I admit that when it comes to race, I doubt it.
2 thoughts on “I doubt it: Questioning the credibility of race”
I doubt it as well! Our only identity lies is our humanity, as beings created in the image of God. I think of the Merrick line from The Elephant Man – “I am not an animal, I am a human being.” Always have been, always will be.