Tag Archives: the meaning of race

Can we live without race?

See the source imageRace is about beginnings.  Do we enter the world as colored people or do we become colored people?  Chicken or the egg, social colors or creatures, which came first?  It is a necessary question if we are to rid ourselves of race.  If we are to see that we can live without it, we must become aware that we are not alive because of it.

Race does not make us come alive.  We do not cease to exist if we no longer call ourselves by its names.

Race remakes us.  It is another Genesis narrative, a second baptism of flesh into colored waters.  We don’t wade in these waters but are drowned.  Who we are and could be dies and who race says we must be in order to tell this story correctly is brought to life.

Let there be colored people.

We come up beige, brown, black, red, yellow and white.  People of color cannot be people of God too.  Because we cannot have two creators.  Choose this day who you will be, Who or what flesh speaks for you.  One or the other, my enemy or my brother?

Choose a side and then stay on your side.  Walls, fences, gated existence, sheltered lives, we live somewhere off in the distance from ourselves.  Race forbids us to come any closer.  Stay where you are.  Race speaks for us; only it can say who we are.

But race has no intentions of introducing us to our true selves.

We are not born colored but reborn colored, called by racial names.  We are told that we are colored people.  By whom you say?  It is not an ominous they but us… just little old you and me.  We tell ourselves that we are colored.  We are answering to ourselves.

This is race.

If we are to be race-less, then we need only realize that we don’t really know ourselves when talking of our humanity according to the terms and conditions of race, that race is a corporate illusion, a daily, social magic trick, that we no longer want to keep this lie going, that race is up our sleeves and not under our skin.

The Race System

Image result for mechanical imageI wonder when we will put the two together– race and racism.  Theirs is a partnership; the two go hand- in- hand as you cannot have one without the other.  In fact, one cannot function without the other.

Racism is not the problem.  Racism is the way that the system of race works.  Racism is the employee; race is the boss, calling the shots and doing the hiring.

For white privilege and the burden of being colored other than white to exist, there has to be a belief in the social construct of race, a faith that purports that the social coloring of our skin determines value, voice and visibility.  Race is not about identity but ideology.  Race is not concerned about people but power and who controls it.  This system is not rooted in customer satisfaction.

Instead, race creates socially colored people for capitalistic and hierarchical purposes.  Race places whiteness first and pays it more.  Whiteness is a privilege; it is not earned. It is given because of our agreement with race and the illusion of socially colored people.  Whiteness is a shared benefit, given to some and kept from others. It is quite a hand out.

This is what got the system going.  This is what has made America a social power: the systematic uplift of one group by holding down another, success built on the death of Africans, African Americans and those who are indigenous to what is now the United States.  It is a social drowning, taking the breath of one group in order to keep the other alive and even to give more life to the other.  Now, fully alive, there is no question why some communities are in better health than others.  And yet, there is still a seeming lack of understanding as to why African Americans got upset when they heard the words of Eric Garner and believed him: “I can’t breathe.”

But, without socially colored people, the system would shut down, cease the exist.  We are its power button.  Consequently, if we reject the social colors of race, it becomes useless and meaningless.

If we are to deny the privileges of whiteness and the oppressions of other social colors, then we must rid ourselves of the race system.  We must stop handing out and accepting social colors.  We should not speak of ourselves in social colors and then complain about how the racial identity corrupts our sense of self and compromises our relationships with other cultural groups.  In order to get out of the race system, we must rid ourselves of its work.  We must quit race altogether.  It is our selves that must destruct.

In 5… 4… 3… 2…

Understanding Race

I am continuing to explore the varied definitions and understandings of race in hopes of getting to the root of our tensions concerning it.  I want to disprove them all.  Ultimately, it is my desire to rid the social construct of its illusions and mystery by pinning it down with concrete descriptors.  It is important to know what race is not so that we can more fully understand who we really are.

Accompanied by the wisdom of Dr. Maya Angelou and others, this video is another resource to aid in such an unpacking of history and hopefully, will aid us in carrying on in our human relationships without it.