I have a certain blindness.
In that I assume everyone is on the same path as I am and that everyone is on the same place on that path. It occurs to me, that I only recently realized a thing about race. That thing is that there are no races.
Race is both the most obvious thing in the world, and the most non-existent thing in the world. Yes, one can look around the world, and even look around any diverse place in America and see white, black, brown, yellow and red people, though we are all various shades of brown/black with some of those whose origins are from the far north being so pale as to be almost pink or white.
What we are is families and tribes, and various genetic traits in regards to skin color have evolved over a few millions of years, and yes, some genetic differences not related to skin color also developed over this time, and as we all come from families who tended to inbreed and to not move around much, a long nose, or a large ear or a odd shaped toe might be more prominent in one group than the next, but people from all regions, and all colors are tall, short, skinny, fat, smart, stupid, and 100s of other traits often associated with one group or another. In fact, scientists tell us there is more genetic variation within color groups than there are between them. Think about that. If you are “white”, there is a “black” person who shares more genetic material with you, than some other person who is identified as “white.”
Now, don’t misunderstand me, there is much racism in America, and to have racism, you must have races, even if you make them up. That is exactly what has happened. So, we have very different cultural experiences, not based so much on race, but on racism. If you a human being with dark skin, we assume your ancestry to be African, which it likely is, but your experience, especially if your family has been in the USA a along time, is different, not so much because your family 200 years ago came from Senegal, instead of Sweden, but because your ancestor probably landed here in chains and then after some generations, your ancestors were “freed” and still treated nominally like slaves, and then, unless your family was really lucky, even up to today, your family has been treated differently from some Irish family, whose ancestor came over indentured 150 years ago, but was able to pass for “English” within a generation, due to the pigmentation of their skin. Neither the English, nor the Irish, nor the man from Senegal are white or black, as a thing, give the same circumstances, they have a near equal probability of doing the same things and reacting the same way.
Somehow, it took me 50 years to realize we did not need to “treat” people of color the same,” we “White” needed to recognize that ALL people ARE the same. That we are not “White” and they are not “Black” or “Brown” or even in the more offensive shadings of “Yellow” and “Red.”
“They” are “Us.” We are one people, with many different family and tribal heritages. As the title says, there are NO Black people in America. There are lots of people with lots of different appearances and experiences, but until we get over the basic concept that there are real and significant differences between people BECAUSE of skin color, we cannot be anywhere near as great as we could be.
Until we can see that every child, no matter their color, no matter what neighborhood, needs the very best possible education and the best healthcare, as well as the fullest work opportunity, so they can contribute to our society to their fullest, we will continue to fail.
We will fail them. We will fail at our goal of equality. We will fail at our economic successes. We will fail as human beings as our very survival as a RACE, depends on our ability to maximize the effectiveness of every human being on the planet.
The same is true, regarding gender, gender identity gender preference, religion, or national origin, or nationality. Until we recognize that humanity faces an oncoming existential that, and that threat is not Christian, Muslim, Jew, Male, Female, Straight Gay, Trans, Black, White or Brown, and that we MUST work together to maximize every persons’ intellectual contribution, our complete extinction is only a matter of time. If we took the effort and energy we use to compete with one another, to oppress one another, to literally destroy one another, we can become our own “Super Race.”