TL;DR – “Color”, “race”, and “ethnicity” are not the issue; these comprise a convenient shield under which the real issues hide.
This bit of a ramble was inspired while researching a meme that I was considering using as part of a team-building mini-exercise. It seems to currently be under some sort of “research” over its veracity, but that’s a bit of a tangent and I won’t dwell on it.
It seems a person calling themselves “@WiseGue_wes27” wanted to use this meme featuring an artist known as “Conceited”, to express what they saw as the ultimate proof of “white” racism; alas, the tweet is lost to me as my twitter-fu is weak.
It won’t keep my brain from replying though. =/
Our challenge as human beings in this moment is to cure our own ignorance of concepts including logic and syllogism.
Our challenge as human beings in this moment is to see to and move through our own melancholy angst of pondering/grieving the gap in our educational system.
Our challenge as human beings in this moment is to stop allowing our preference for our own opinions to interfere with our thinking.
Our challenge as human beings in this moment is to redress our abandonment of the elderly and thus restore generational discourse and exchange of knowledge and wisdom that only arrives with time.
I could easily expand on the list of perceived challenges to include as many concepts as I have time to pull from the place where my own thoughts swirl. But we’ll leave it at this, for now, and stick with the simplistic, vague, rather nude strawman given to us, succinctly:
“Would you trade skin with a person of color?” – @WiseGuy_wes27
I say to you, @WiseGuy_wes27: “Why yes, yes I would. I most certainly WOULD, were such a thing as readily available as say, a cup of coffee.”
Of course, this is where the person sitting at @WiseGuy_wes27’s keyboard would scoff, call me a liar, and dismiss me – just as they have any who say this for who knows how long before they ever wrote (or I ever encountered) the image containing this tweet.
Which is why I decided to do exactly what @WiseGuy_wes27 did – use something out of context for my own purposes.
Mind you, I am very hopeful you will not merely agree with me, but instead… validate truly and fully using your own logic, critical thinking, skepticism, and of course, credible, peer reviewed sources if/where you find they are needed.
I am hopeful this post will cause you to think rather than react.
Or not. In America, you’re allowed to be as stubborn as you like and speech is free (kind of, sort of, when it doesn’t interfere with political or governmental expediency, for now).
My assertion is that ALL “sides” are shirking their civic responsibility to engage in pluralistic, respectful discussion.
If you choose anger and reaction to calm consideration, you are part of the problem.
I don’t just say that “because I’m white”.
I don’t say it out of a wish or intent to dismiss or otherwise rebuke the anger, fear, and dismay that many people in our (purportedly) United States live with every day.
I say it because peace and understanding are not found at riots, but at outreaches.
I say it because I’m human and I’m trying very hard to practice what I am (so very) verbosely preaching.
As are you.
As are we all.
I spend a lot of time on it because I believe, feel, and think that it matters.
I do not know many people outside of professional research/study who do so at all.
I do know this: If you believe in human rights, natural law, and you value ethics, there is work that you must be doing every day, all the time to support and nourish it in your life, in your corner of the world.
None of which you can do until you develop confidence in your own knowledge and understanding of:
— what human rights are,
— what natural law is, and,
— what purpose ethics serve
And seriously, y’all, shirking THIS work FOR OURSELVES while demanding it from everyone else is fundamentally tearing our country apart.
Wasting time pointing out the flaws, faults, and hypocrisy of others is so fashionable; but fashion isn’t going to solve this.
We can point to whatever we like, but if all we’re doing is pointing at everyone else, what are we really going to accomplish?
Consider that if you follow this practice all your life, you’re never going to realize that, the entire time, you had three of your own fingers pointing right back at you.
Yes, @WiseGuy_wes27, I would trade skin with a person of color where:
– “trade” is meant to commit to take upon myself, and,
– “skin” is meant to commit to the alteration of my DNA such as to acquire the physiological characteristics of a yet to be determined ethnicity; superficially “defined” by the presence or lack of melanin within my skin organ, and,
– “color” is to commit to the expression of concentrations of melanin contained in my skin may fall anywhere within a range between X and Y on some yet-to-be-determined range of the human visual spectrum.
But… seriously…. Color? Ludicrous. Pantone? Simple RGB? CMYK? So many options… which ‘colors’ are we considering ‘valid’ in this? Need I remind that absence of “color” and presence of “color” are the same thing at only 2 points of the color wheel? That “white” and “black” are not really colors at all?
Does that make this more difficult?
Does it start to outline for you the shape of the realization at which I’m trying to point you?
You must reduce the infinite universe of potentially observable color to only that which you can currently perceive AND name by its lowest, linguistic common denominator to hold that there is or could be a legitimate position regarding human skin color as in ANY way indicative of human traits or capacity.
The entire position falls apart if you step even one pixel past it.
The entire rest of the universe lives one pixel past it:
— neither “person of color” nor “white” define us as human beings.
— the distinctions of “color”, “race”, and “ethnicity” are grossly irrelevant.
Perhaps you could consider that, by accepting “person of color”, “black”, “white”, “yellow”, “brown”, “red”, et al, you have actually accepted a set of logically flawed conclusions?
Here are the only two axioms that humans manage to agree upon at the moment:
1. All human bodies are encoded to have skin.
2. All human skin is encoded to have or lack coloration.
So far, so good, right?
Where human begin to differ is where they start constructing premises and drawing conclusions on what is logical, what is credible, and what is valid in relation to the presence or lack of human skin coloration.
These “conclusions” are generalized and largely go unchallenged:
1. Color is an effective distinguishing descriptor for all humans.
2. Color is a meaningful distinguishing descriptor for all humans.
3. Color is an acceptable distinguishing descriptor for all humans.
@WiseGuy_wes27 – We are in permanent and total disagreement on all three.
That said, we have, as a species, done a pretty good job of using all this “color” to paint ourselves into a very tight corner. Significant segments of this world, for a diverse and fluid variety of reasons, use those three conclusions as valid, valued, and ethical. From them, they draw the following inductive conclusions:
1. Color is an agreeable euphemism by which to refer to a human.
2. Color is an agreeable euphemism by which to classify a human.
3. Color is an agreeable euphemism by which to distinguish between any two (or more) humans.
And of course, dependent upon the combination of environment, exposure, experiences, and education, one other inductive conclusion may be drawn:
1. Color is an agreeable euphemism by which to discriminate between any two (or more) humans.
Here is my challenge to you, @WiseGuy_wes27:
Explain to me how and why ANY human would entertain even for a moment that ANY of the preceding inductive conclusions could POSSIBLY hold validity?
Given that you now have as thorough an outline of my perspective and position, I ask you to demonstrate you understand it before you take on the task of presenting your perspective and position (should it remain opposed).
In your own words.
I ask this because, until you can, neither of us can know if you are truly understanding it. (It is a circle of validation that assumes we want to understand one another. Axiom 1 is that the arbiter of whether or not you understand me is ME, just as the arbiter of whether or not I understand you is YOU. This is how a pluralistic discussion ensures progress!)
If so, do you agree with the logic?
If so, do you agree with the assertion that this is divisive and distracting?
If you agree with me to this point, while I am personally happy, it means our discussion is over. We’re alike and, so, there is no debate or disagreement driving us to engage further on this topic. (Part of pluralism is seeking out disagreement to create understanding and harmonious progress.)
But if you do not agree, I would love to speak further with you. I want to understand.
To this end, can you, logically, frame the case that causes your disagreement?
If you disagree, we’re blocked until we find a way around it.
If we never choose to do so, then that becomes our “status quo”.
So you see, the only path to harmony, unity, and pluralism is the one upon which we engage discussion and work with ourselves to be motivated by interest in understanding and finding peaceable common ground.
We go on, so forth and so on, for every point of disagreement until all are resolved or are agreed by both of us to be irreconcilable.
Then, if we are agreed to be irreconcilable, we must engage to agree upon how we will treat this matter going forward so we are not compelled to conflict and/or violence.
Naturally, if either of us lose our conviction, devotion, ethical compulsion, interest, willingness, or otherwise positively motivating energy/force, we shall, inevitably, find ourselves compelled to conflict and/or violence.
(This is the intersection of Babel, really…. Either we have a shared language or we can never truly hear one another at all.)
I encourage you to spend time actively noticing when you are using “skin color” or “race” or “ethnicity”.
I encourage you to spend time noticing how difficult it is in our world to speak about a specific human without using “skin color” or “race” or “ethnicity”.
I encourage you to spend time contemplating the long, storied history of our human inability to come up with ways to exchange ideas and engage with one another without distinction or discrimination by “skin color”, “race”, or “ethnicity”. (Leaving well aside for the moment religion, politics, or any number of other dichotomies we humans so delight in polarizing toward or against.)
I encourage you to do what you can do, within yourself, to change this for yourself. I think you’ll find not only are you happier, but you can exemplify the “why” and “how” to others… which is what humans strive to do when they’re sincerely working for positive change.
Finally, I encourage you to remember words fade, time makes all thought fuzzy, and the things you carry as memory are created by YOU, managed by YOU, and propagated by YOU.
Choose wisely and well.