“History fancies itself linear – but yields to a cyclical temptation.” ―
When I started writing, it was never my intention to cover matters of race. My writing is a place for me to explore withdrawing consent from the emerging society. Eleanor Roosevelt famously said, “no one can make you feel inferior without your consent”, and I intend to withhold it. A part of this emerging society is one that is viewed through lenses of division. When I moved out West my experience gave me the sense that I have significantly more exposure on the topic of race than many people I encountered in the Mountain West. Granted, my first 5 years out West were in Utah, which is a homogenous cultural bubble all its own. As a graduate student, I was surprised at cultural movements adopted by the WWL (Woke White Liberals) at the university. In my estimation, these people were activists on matters of cultural relevance that Utah did not offer life experience in. And it’s not my own hubris to believe that I have matters of race figured out and therefore speak from a morally superior position. I just firmly reject the collectivist position that I can know or understand the human experience of entire groups of people by knowing some of their members.
On matters of race, I am of the mindset that our conflicts arise from the incessant spotlighting of ethnic differences between people groups. There is but one human race, and race as a societal division is a man-made construct. Back in 2005, actor Morgan Freeman sat for a 60 Minutes interview with Mike Wallace. In a discussion on Black History Month, he stated that the solution to racial division is to stop dividing society by race; that we stop referring to people as black or white. This society Freeman described is the color-blind society that MLK sought to build as he tore down the arbitrary divisions that segregated us. Now it seems that we have come full circle and this neo-Marxist doctrine we find ourselves wrestling with requires that we not only compartmentalize society by race, but that we take a time machine to the past and attempt to relitigate it down a different course. Or at least this is the only explanation I can find as to why we are resegregating society.
The universities are the cultural purveyors of this country, and on many university campuses, we see this resegregation. Columbia University recently announced the creation of 6 separate graduations divided by race and income. The stated objective is to create safe spaces for celebrating with those like ourselves; as if celebrating common achievement with uncommon people is not a desirable outcome? This safe space is not a new concept on the university campus. Many have set up separate student centers for people of color where non-minorities are often unwelcome. Not only is this happening on university campuses but also in the corporate world. From corporate training seeking to suppress white voices at companies such as Goodyear or Coca-Cola, to removing minority faces from public brands like that of Land O’Lakes or Aunt Jemima while leaving any brands of white representation like Quaker Oats or Little Debbie on full display. Rarely does anyone stop to ask the minority faces who adorned or created these brands their opinion on being erased from society? The corporate world is certainly playing its part in this ideological return to Jim Crow.
I’m not old enough to have lived through the most racially tumultuous eras in this country’s history. I started school 30 years after the beginning of integration around its peak in the mid to late ’80s. Thankfully my parent’s and grandparent’s generations fought through them so that we might grow up in a freer and more equal society. My parents were never activists, as that was the sort of thing of academics and not the working class. You don’t have time for activism when you work multiple jobs and raise a family. Perhaps our issue is that we’re no longer raising families? My stepmother was a teacher who specialized in children with behavioral and emotional challenges and it was normal for my father and her to foster students of all colors and backgrounds at times. My father coached youth sports and race was never a consideration when it came to teaching kids how to play ball. Simultaneously, in the mid-’80s my mother was a waitress and I remember a very specific time when a black transgendered coworker crashed on our couch for a few weeks because of domestic abuse. The fact that this person was black never crossed my adolescent mind. I struggled more with the concept of this person dressing as the opposite gender before transgenderism was a public discussion at all.
All of my parents are quite conservative, and yet they don’t remotely fit the caricature painted of conservative people on issues of social justice. Yet in the past, some of my parents have been subjected to weaponized issues of race in the corporate world that stem from this neo-Marxist conversation. A very real concern of mine is that this conversation does not seek dialogue at all, but rather a monologue where you are told to sit down, shut up and wear your assigned labels. This seems a major regression in race relations for this country and stands to undo 60 years of hard-earned progress. Rather than seeking to bring people together and focus on commonalities, this modern movement seeks to divide people by looking to the past and ignoring any and all progress achieved by those who came before us. As stated in my opening, I am by no means an expert on race relations and they are not the focus of my writing. In a conversation on withdrawing consent from this emerging society an important piece of that is rejecting emerging dogmas, and this is one I reject completely.
“I am a slow walker, but I never walk back.” ―