Francis pointed out an article in a recent issue of The Washington Post which said,
The contest for black support in South Carolina mirrors the national struggle Democratic candidates are waging to win black elected officials' support. Many have long-standing ties to the Clintons or Edwardses or others but are nonetheless tugged by racial solidarity with Obama and the excitement they see his campaign generating among their constituents. Moreover, Obama's early fundraising prowess has convinced observers that his campaign will be formidable to the end.I'm not going to address Hillary v. Obama, because that's something everyone will decide for themselves. Here's my biggest gripe with that paragraph and with the whole article from which it's excerpted: the word "racial." The word race is a synonym for "species" and the Washington Post is saying that we will vote for Obama because he is the same species as us, just like dogs hang out in packs with other dogs because they are from the same species.
I'm not buying that. I'm not going to let anyone say that I am from any species other than the human species. Let's face it: There's no way we will ever win equality in America for so long as we concede that we are not even from the same species as whites. I don't think "separate but equal species" is our best argument for equality.
Let's face it: What we have in common with Barack Obama but that separates us from whites is not our "racial" species, but simply our skin color. Is that so hard to say and accept?
Of course whites like to exaggerate our difference so they can rationalize the exaggerated differences in the way we are treated. That's why the word "race," that appears no where else in the biological sciences, is applied to the difference in SKIN COLOR between Blacks and whites.
Now, someone will insist that the word "race" is essential to our efforts to gain equality and fight racism. That's like saying that the "N" word is essential to our efforts to fight against epithets! The word "race" is itself a badge and mark of inferiority and the word "racism" unless you accept that concept of "race."
I am never going to use the word "race" again without referring to it as "the disproved pseudo-scientific theory of race."
Nor will I use the word "racism," which is a word whose definition is premised upon the existence of the disproven pseudo-scientific concept of race.
Let's look at this linguistically and decode the word racism: Any argument about Marxism implicity accepts the fact that there was a man named "Marx," which is true. Any argument about "capitalism" implicity excepts as a premise the fact that "capital" exists, which is true. Likewise, any argument about "racism" - pro or con - is based on the premise that "race" exists, which is false. NO ONE anywhere can offer me even a half-baked argument that there is more than one species of human beings! Only "racists" believe in the color-animus motivated pseudo-scientific concept of "race." And so the literal meaning of the word "racist" has to be someone who believes in the concept of "race." To avoid being taken for a "racist," I'm not going to use the word "race" anymore, claiming or conceding to be from a different "race" from white people.
Just as black cats and spotted cats from the same family are all from one species - "cats," likewise, Black people and white people who all came from Africa originally, who interbreed, who have transfuseable blood, who organs can be transplanted one to the other, we are all from the same species. If the word race is superfluous in discussing differences between animal species, it is also superfluous in discussing differences between humans.
The word "race" serves only one purpose: to gloss over the fact that there is no evidence that we and whites are from different species and to gloss over the fact that we and whites MUST, by all evidence, be of the SAME species, that our only difference is skin-color.
So, what term will we use instead of "race"? How about simply "skin-color"? And what term will we use instead of "racism"? How about "skin-color aroused antagonistic behaviors of individuals, groups, organizations and societies." Yeah, it's a little longer than "racism" but has the advantage that it doesn't concede that we are, like dogs, being from a different species from whites.
If there is inherently, innately something more to the difference between Blacks and whites than skin-color, then what is that "something more"? "Inherently inferior intelligence?" "Inherently inferior values?" "Innately superior bongo playing?" "Genetically superior sexual drive and potency, but with less impulse control?"
All of the possibilities are both unproven, improvable and absurd as a matter of science but also profoundly insulting to us as a people, and intentionally so. The word "race" (and every word derived from it)is inherently and irremediably an insult wherever and whenever it is used. Unless you can tell me what innate characteristics make us inherently different from whites, you have to admit that the concept of "race" adds nothing that the phrase "skin-color" of "phenotype" doesn't. All "race" add is baggage and highly negatively charged linguistic discrimination.
For so long as we agree that we are from a separate species from whites, we will never, ever convince them that we are from an equal species. As the Supreme Court said in 1954, "separate but equal" is an unconstitutional fallacy that simply never, ever works.
If someone asks me, "Are you equal to whites?" it does require more letters for me to write "yes," (3 letters) than it requires to write the word "no," (2 letters) but I think it's worth the extra effort, considering how important it is. Likewise, I think it's worth taking the extra time to write "skin-color" instead of "race," because "skin color" preserves our humanness and equality while using the words "race" (and logically therefore also "racism") negates our humanness and equality.
Villager Note - Usually I turn my attention elsewhere when someone begins to discount the issue of 'race'. I'm a grown-azzed man ... and I figure that I've lived life long enough with 'race' as a defining factor here in America that I didn't need to hear some crackpot notion of 'race' being non-existent. However, Francis was kind enough to share his thesis on 'race' versus 'skin color' here on the Electronic Village ... so I couldn't ignore it. And I must admit -- there is some compelling logic in his message. Methinks that I will try to use "skin-color" instead of "race" when appropriate. I'll have to work harder to remember to use "skin-colored aroused antaganistic behaviors of individuals, groups, organizations and societies" in lieu of "racism" [smile].
In any case, Francis is an example of the powerful thought and opinions being expressed throughtout the AfroSphere. I list the AfroSphere blogs over on the left-hand side navigation bar. Check them out as you have time or inclination.
For now, I invite all 'villagers' of all skin colors to share your thoughts on Francis' message. What say u?