Okay, so for one of my classes, I'm supposed to have been engaging in dialogue over the internet about a "justice issue." I picked racism. And I've been following some facebook page on the topic, though I've only contributed a couple comments.
I've been finding that facebook is a bit superficial for my taste, so I'm hoping maybe I can get some dialogue going here on the blogosphere. That means, I will be most grateful to people who comment on anything I write about racism. And I will be even more grateful for "pingbacks" in any blog entry which may be inspired by things that I've written ...
Anyway, who knows if this will work at all, but here goes.
I picked racism as a topic because I have such strong, and in some ways mixed feelings about the subject. As a person of "mixed race" I have a tendency to (over-)emphasize the idea that race is an illusive and not very useful concept--a category of thought which I sometimes wish could be gotten rid of or ignored entirely.
But of course, that's not a reasonable hope. I suppose even in a perfect world, people would still think in terms of race; they just wouldn't value any races above or below others. Perhaps in a perfect world, we would see races more like large extended families, insofar as they may have certain prevalent traits, customs, histories, etc.--and yet their identity and definition are always changing, and evolving into something new, particularly as their members marry persons from outside the family, bringing new traits, customs, histories, etc. into the picture.
Perhaps that way of thinking would help us to get away from the notion that races need to be kept "pure," and the fear that if most people married outside their "race," we would soon be a homogeneous population without any diversity.
Racial diversity is important, and the ability to have some kind of pride in one's racial identity is also important. But I do think that our racial categories need to be less rigid, and that all of our identities (whether we are white, black, Latino, Asian, Native American, or anything else) need to be less rooted in our perceived "race," and more firmly rooted in our shared humanity.
This last comment is probably particularly influenced by my experience as a person who looks Latino, but is not. Latino persons often mistake me for one of their own, and greet me warmly in Spanish. Most cannot hide their disappointment when they realize their mistake. Many become instantly frigid, some almost rude.
This is understandable, but it hurts, nonetheless. I do think it's right and natural for people of shared racial background to have a certain solidarity or sense of kinship, but it ought not to eclipse a sense of solidarity or kinship with the whole of humanity.
Anyway, that's just some of my initial thoughts on racism. Please comment! Let me know if you agree, disagree, why, etc.