From Anderson Cooper 360 to every major media outlet and blog site on the planet, race is finally getting the attention it deserves. But perhaps all some of us can see are shades of red through the rose-colored lenses that need to be removed. From the name calling (race-baiters) to the sheer naïveté and untruth that we are color blind (“racially” color blind people stay away from me!) in relation to seeing one another, there is so much work to do around the issue of race; and, we have merely bitten off of the tip of a lethal cartridge, that when fired, will explode indiscriminately if we are not careful in our discourse and sensitivity in addressing this often quieted and retreated from topic.
Just why race is such a taboo subject in America is pretty hard to comprehend. It is almost laughable. Historically, this country has never been shy about applying race to everything that matters with regard to inclusion: voting, citizenship, marriage, places of public accommodation, rights, and human dignity and worth. They are all contrary to Psychologist Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (belonging, love, self actualization, etc…). If we have been adamant enough, from the very beginning of America’s conception, to openly practice and embrace racial separation, degradation, humiliation, etc, why is race still taboo as a discussion? Because we don’t want to have discussions with people who are reminders of our past and can hold us accountable for wrongdoings based on something as artificial as race.
The private conversations about race by America’s Framers became public implementations on how to use race to maintain superior positions of power. Now, nearly 400 years later, all people need to engage in the discussion to address and take back some of that power. President Obama’s ascendancy to the presidency is the conduit for others to have a seat at the discussion table. The George Zimmerman verdict is what happens when the Framers’ discussion is still the only conversation taking place around race.
Race, a man-made social construct, has never killed a person. It has never destroyed a planet. Race has never been an advocate for good or bad. Race is simply race. Our ideas around race, however, have caused the grave atrocities that have manifested themselves in this country and beyond. Our ideas around who is worthy to be loved, married, and to have a say in our electorate have driven our responses and reactions to race. Race is the catalyst. It is the human mind that has been railroaded with the enzymes of hate and devaluing that have contributed to the incorrect, abhorrent, and vicious thoughts about other human beings. And, after being overwhelmed for so long in so much negativity and depravity, human behavior has adapted to the mind’s malfunction because our thoughts and actions are inextricably linked.
It is time to fix our minds and get sane. While it may not be so easy, we can overcome the levels of psychosis that have nearly paralyzed this country and scores of other countries around the world if we would just make a choice to STOP. Stop thinking the worst of others and their experiences simply because of how we have been brainwashed to believe that one “color” represents one thing and another “color”, something else.
Yes, some of us absolutely share more responsibility for the negative state of past and current race relations in this country and around the world. That has to be owned up to. The Framers stated their interests as being to “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity (future generations)…” when they wrote the Preamble of the Constitution. While there is the de facto argument that the Constitution applies to all Americans, it did not when it was written and after the Zimmerman verdict, more would argue that it still does not.
Even still, others of us share culpability in the past and current perpetuation of these thoughts by not being strong enough to resist the pangs of self-sabotage—by believing we are not worthy because of the color of our skin and our socio-economic statuses. Despite it all, each of us can contribute meaningfully to the future of what race relations can become when we first start with a discussion where everyone can finally have their say. The greatest resource any of us has is an idea. It is up to each of us to determine what we will produce from it.Check out some of today’s articles surrounding race by clicking on any of the links to the right of this blog.
What is color blindness? Color blindness means that you have trouble seeing red, green, or blue or a mix of these colors. It’s rare that a person sees no color at all. Color blindness is also called a color vision problem. A color vision problem can change your life. It makes it harder to learn and read, and you may not be able to have certain careers. But children and adults with color vision problems can learn to make up for their problems seeing color.
 Abraham Maslow was a psychologist who stressed the importance of focusing on the positive attributes of people. He also developed the Hierarchy of Needs theory.