Thursday, June 04, 2015

The Amazing Race Part 1

The Amazing Race 
~Part 1~

Growing up I dated various types of girls. Whether their ethnic status or nationality was so-called African-American, Italian, Haitian, Eritrean, Egyptian, Punjabi, German, Arabian, Puerto Rican, Greek, Native American, Jamaican and etc... I also dated various types of girls of different social statuses. Looking back on these experiences, I am thankful of the lessons I’ve learned along the way; some good, some bad, and yes, some ugly. As I matured I modified my perspective of relationships -realizing that I had to be more mindful of the challenges, conflicts and consequences that forging certain unions would bring. Many of us often have a “love is love”, “love knows no color” and “everything will be alright” attitude when we enter our relationships and eventually find out that it takes much more than these flighty feelings to actually sustain it. In America, regardless what kind of relationship we have, racism always plays a direct/indirect role in that relationship. Realizing this, it's important that we take responsibility for how we allow that direct/indirect role to shape our relationships. I'm not just talking about being responsible for our personal feelings/gratification. I'm talking about being responsible for what our relationship, and potential family unit, brings into the world -especially children. No child is born a racist. Children are taught to be racists, directly/indirectly, by adults.

What is Race? The codified concept of ‘race’ can be traced back to a white Anthropologist named Earnest Albert Hooton. In addition to helping establish Harvard as the center for Physical Anthropology in the United States, Hooton was responsible for classifying human beings into groups and subgroups based upon phenotype (physical characteristics/traits); race. Through what is called ‘comparative anatomy’, Hooton used white people as the primary model of man and classified/defined black and brown people as primitives according to that basic standard. Based upon Hooton’s work, in 1926 The American Association of Physical Anthropology and the National Research Council organized a committee to focus on the anatomy of black people (so-called Negroes at the time). A year later in 1927, the committee endorsed a comparison of African babies with young apes. If that wasn’t enough, about 10 years later in 1937, the committee published findings in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology to prove, not suggest or imply, that Negroes were closer to primitives than the white race. Racial stereotypes about black intellectual inferiority, criminality, promiscuity, homeliness, amorality, socioeconomic ineptness, etc… are all associations with the pseudoscience of Earnest Albert Hooton. Although many white people already entertained/advocated these ideas and feelings about black and brown people for hundreds of years prior to Hooton’s anatomical comparisons, Hooton was instrumental in classifying and systematizing these ideas/feelings into a framework that we’ve come to know and define as race -and ultimately racism. Even though Hooton was not a hood wearing, card carrying member of The KKK, who were already about 3 million strong in America approaching the 1930’s, his work served as ammunition to advocate their White Supremacist philosophies, politics, and policies.

So here in America, this purely sociopolitical construct called ‘race’ was used as a tool to establish, justify and reinforce the power relations between people classified as white and others. These power relations established a status quo; where the dominant society and ruling class is white and black and brown people, the minority within their society, are the underclass. Thus whenever white and black and brown people lived in proximity to eachother, the white group or ruling class controlled the institutions, political networks, finances, material resources and intellectual property. Even though whites are the minority throughout the planet earth, how can you explain these power relations that defy all logic and probability? Is this minority in control because it’s just the natural order of things? Do black and brown people (the global majority) believe they aren’t intelligent enough to govern so white people are better equipped to control the institutions, political networks, finances, material resources and intellectual property? Is there a systemic sociopolitical way of doing things that has empowered the global minority to gain control over the institutions, political networks, finances, material resources and intellectual property? And if there does exist a systemic sociopolitical way of doing things, has this been beneficial for all people, especially the majority? It is my perspective that the concept of race (along with ‘racism’ and ‘sexism’), the sociopolitical arm of white supremacy, is one of the primary tools being used to accomplish this goal. 

See, to even use the word ‘race’ in regards to human beings, we automatically “enter” (inter-racial) or “buy” into (bi-racial) the power dynamics that was propagated by the ruling class (white people) and codified by Earnest Albert Hooton’s classifications. To consider yourself as a race, it automatically compromises your identity because the term race neutralizes/minimizes your ethnic/genus origin, cultural consciousness and nationality. As a person of color, it puts you on the primitive end of a categorical chart designed to uphold a dominant Eurocentric status quo. It’s interesting to note that the findings of The American Association of Physical Anthropology and the National Research Council in the mid 1920’s coincides with the proliferation of Marcus Garvey’s UNIA (United Negro Improvement Association) and the founding of Noble Drew Ali's MSTA (Moorish Science Temple of America). The significance of this is the fact that Marcus Garvey and Noble Drew Ali advocated the importance of black and brown people’s ethnic/genus origin, cultural consciousness and nationality. As a Nationalist, Noble Drew Ali even went as far as to instruct his members to learn ‘The Color of Law” -used by racists to carry out racial inequality/discriminatory policies and procedures within the so-called justice system. This Ethnogenesis, advocated by the UNIA, MSTA, NOI, Five Percenters and other organizations was a vehicle to redefine ourselves outside of the white supremacist perimeters of race and within the context of our own ethnic/genus, cultural consciousness and nationality. Of course this did little to change the dominant society we were living under as a subgroup, or the sentiments of this ruling class. To undermine the progress of organizations like this, the ruling class began to promote the repackaging of ‘race’ under the pseudonyms of Colored, Afro-American and African American in order to get black people to continue entering/buying into a racist (racial) sociopolitical construct. The last and greatest ploy being bio-political subjugation via Interracial (enter ‘race’) or Biracial (bi-‘racial’) arrangements. How and what can be done? Find out in my next article "The Amazing Race Part 2"

To be continued.....

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