The following, posted elsewhere, is being logged here for personal reference. Apologies for the references without direct links, but ultimately, the intention is not to send traffic to the argument, but to record this for myself.
I continue to have some rather interesting conversations by email with people who are contacting me in relation to the recent kerfluffle in a forum here. Most of them are fairly argumentative and, unfortunately, I haven’t the time or inclination to nourish overtly antagonistic or aggressive behaviors. However, some are presenting enjoyable opportunities to engage and have actual, meaningful conversation (gasp).
The following is a response written to one such item, in which I think I managed to capture the majority of the fullness of ideation that (again, unfortunately) the forum in question couldn’t manage to bring itself to consider long enough to the same manner of discussion to really “take off”.
Posting it here as a general reference for myself or pretty much anyone who cares to engage with me on the topic; caveat temptor (be careful how you tempt) and whatnot. (grin)
Short set-up for context: Someone wrote to me complaining that I wasn’t granting “race” it’s appropriate place as a label or indicator in discussion. They asserted to me that “race” is both a valid and important label. To which, I responded….
Factually, no, race is NOT a social category. We are all one race, human (homo sapiens). There are variants within the race, just as there are variants of any other species on the planet, but there is only one race.
You see, the entire discussion is a confusion and that confusion actively foments and fosters ongoing cultural and societal issues as people argue over “race” issues that do not, per se, exist. The issues are not “racial”, they are cultural and societal.
Until the discussion focuses on the real issue (to wit, that cultural diversity is both something that humans do not generally accept or support) and begins to engage on the idea that societal unity is only possible when cultures embrace active pluralism rather than separatism and distinction on misnomers like “race”, nothing really changes.
The point of the commentary to Erato and others rests upon the above; particularly the reality that lumping together all “white” people is the very same manner of cultural dissension [clarifcation: bias, prejudice, et al – ed.] that ensures the entire argument and all related unrest is nourished and allowed to continue.
The facts are thus:
– “white” people is a label that comprises roughly fifty different nationalities and their cultures.
– “white” people are not a homogenous group any more than “hispanic” people (whose cultural base includes ten nationalities and cultures), “asian” people (whose cultural bas includes fourteen nationalities and cultures), or “black” people (whose cultural base includes almost thirty nationalities and cultures)…. and this doesn’t even include the “other colors” that are required to bring the correct total to somewhere between 189 and 195 nationalities (depending on which flavor of anthropology and sociology you prefer).
The POINT of the quote you reference [note: see forum. – ed.] being precisely as it was stated and that factual point remains unassailable as it is simple fact; not opinion, not interpretation, and not some odd bit of strategic strawman building.
As I stated to someone else in a private message, until people are willing to leave off all the labels that distinguish them and embrace the one that we all share equally – human – there simply is no resolution to be had; the process of equality and unity doesn’t rest in the act of insisting that others accept your differences, it rests in being wise enough to focus instead on your similarities.
Naturally, there are many who do not wish to hear such things as much of their worldview is constructed around the notion that everyone around them is somehow acting against them and must be “overcome”. While this may be true, when it is, it is largely due to conflicting cultural values rather an direct and maleovent intention. (Granted, there are exceptions as there is a swath of humanity who live in an rather profound state of ignorance and unawareness, but they are just this – exceptions.)
It is a foolish thing to assume so much of so many on nothing more than what one thinks one knows about “their race”. The projection of internalized fears ranging from fear of devaluation to fear of maginalization are not something the rest of the world can or will soothe; these things must be resolved from within.
When they are not, they wind up destroying any potentially beneficial conversation as it is the things one brings to a discussion that largely determine how (or if) it can move in positive directions.
There are examples of such things in all areas of human interrelation, as the pattern repeats across all human society and culture. The very nature of the construct of human society asserts that there must be *some* segment of it that is held “inferior” in order for other segments to “be superior”. This is an issue across all groups within human culture and, frankly, one that doesn’t seem likely to be resolved until we evolve past the need to be or have the notion of “superiority” or “best” or any of the competition social status indicators.
As mentioned previously, all of this is really quite basic sociology and socio-anthropology. I can’t help it if people dislike having their cherished opinions challenged by facts, but it doesn’t change the reality that they exist or that most such dislike is little more than evidence of the very pattern that keeps us all precisely where we are in it all.
So, in response to your question, no, “race” is not the problem and it certainly is not responsible for anything. People who continue to (inaccurately) use it as a distinguishing factor and who insist that one’s pigmentation is or ever could be an indicator of anything more than one’s genetic variance within the larger human race/species are the issue/problem.