The following is in response to Fandango’s Provocative Question #165. The prompt is:
How do you feel about what is going on in the United States in regard to racism? Do you see any way of reconciling the concepts of White Replacement Theory and Critical Race Theory?
The Human Race
I identify as human, yes I have skin that categorizes me as Caucasian, my recent ancestors are of European descent and can be traced back to England, Ireland and France. That is how others identify me but I am human, we are all human.
As an outsider, I see the American race dilemma as an observer. I have a sister who moved and married in Texas and although I would not call her racist she and her family certainly represent conservative white America. From what I see that Trump supporting rabid white right is a scary place right now. Not from external threats but from within. Seemingly bright, educated people who have lost all perspective on reality.
Canada is not without our own racial discourse. Our treatment of Japanese Canadians during World War II and two centuries of oppression against aboriginal populations have been appalling.
The residential school system fostered by British colonialism, established in law by the Canadian government and operated primarily (although not exclusively) through the Catholic Church may well be one of the worst genocides in history. Generations of aboriginal children were taken from their mothers, removed from their ancestral communities, given Christian names and stripped of their own identities and as we are learning in many cases their lives. Children buried in mass graves on school grounds and aboriginal families left to wonder what became of them.
Beyond systemic racism, there is animosity between racialized groups at all levels across this country and the racial tension in America has spilled across the longest open border in the world.
I do not know how to fix the problem, all I know is black, brown, red, white, yellow or any other colour of the rainbow we are all human beings, the same species right down to the very building blocks of life, our DNA. Our skin colour is nothing more than a product of where generations of our ancestors survived on the planet. Small variations in our evolutionary paths protect us from the elements our ancestors endured to get us to this point in history. Certainly not enough to classify, categorize and segregate us into different groups. Our differences should be a celebration of our diversity, adaptability and resilience to survive anywhere on our home planet (and into the vacuum of space as we begin to push beyond our own rock.)
We certainly have different social, religious and cultural identities and we may look different on the surface but we are not. Replacement Theory or The Great Replacement flies in the face of the science that proves beyond any doubt that there is only one race. The Human Race. The premise that there is some great elitist conspiracy to replace the “white race” is as ridiculous as it sounds rolling off the tongue.
On the other hand, Critical Race Theory (CRT) views racism as a social construct, suggesting systemic biases were built into institutions creating a society that itself is non-inclusive and inherently racist. There is likely some truth to the argument however it is not feasible to tear down those institutions and start over. A measured approach to make those institutions more inclusive is a more sensible solution.
There are issues on both sides of the race debate. I understand the idea of affirmative action and policies to promote equal opportunities. They are necessary as interim measures to bring equality to the workplace and society and to combat some of those institutional biases CRT alludes to, however, any policy that discriminates against or makes a villain of one or more of the multitudinous ways we categorize ourselves, the social constructs we group ourselves into is as wrong as racism itself.
Anyone who identifies as a racist or believes their social group is superior to another is reprehensible to me. I do not condone the actions of these groups or the tactics of the most extreme elements in those factions. Unfortunately, there are radicals on the other side of the debate that hide behind equality but really just want revenge against those who oppressed them. To be clear I do not believe they are the majority but as our political and cultural norms continue to polarize those radical voices are allowed to take up way more oxygen than should be allowed.
I don’t have answers to a complex problem that should be simple to resolve. We are all human, and we should treat each other as such. All I can do is conduct myself in a manner that ensures everyone is treated with the same respect, dignity and consideration (i.e. without discrimination), regardless of personal characteristics such as race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age, or mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, residency, marital status or citizenship.1
To the best of our knowledge, we are the smartest, most creative, most innovative, highly adaptive species to evolve on this planet and possibly the entire universe. Instead of using that power to ensure everyone has the basic right to equality in perpetuity, we fall prey to our own base instincts, using our intelligence to fight amongst ourselves.
Just because we are the most intelligent species on Earth does not mean we will be the most successful. Dinosaurs roamed and evolved on Earth for 174 million years. The earliest relatives to modern humans have been around for about 6 million years. Homosapien only begins appearing in the fossil records about 300,000 years ago and in a very short period of time has managed to push the planet and our species to the brink of annihilation. Imagine what we could achieve if we just treated everyone with respect, dignity and consideration and used our intelligence to better all of humankind and the place in the universe that we call home.
Fandango’s Provocative Question #165.
Prompt: How do you feel about what is going on in the United States in regard to racism? Do you see any way of reconciling the concepts of White Replacement Theory and Critical Race Theory?
Date: 2022-05-18 | Tags: #fpq
Sources: 1. Excerpt from Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Photo Credits: Unknown | Photo Editing: Greg Glazebrook
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