Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Language Of Racism

When we think about water pollution we generally judge a body of water as polluted or not.  If a polluted river meets an equally sized unpolluted river we would not then consider the water "half" polluted.  That's just not a term we would use to describe polluted water.  We simply think of it as polluted or not.  How polluted is another discussion entirely.

It would seem that race is seen the same way in our time.  The truth of this can be seen in the words we use.  This language betrays beliefs so deep that most are not even aware of them, yet, once we look more closely it becomes glaring.

We now have the first "black" president of America.  But wait.  Is he the first black president?  Actually no, he is the first half white president.  But wait.  Like water pollution, we don't speak in those terms do we?  When was the last time you heard of a river that was half clean?  No, in the mind of the racist, our president deviates from purity of white in the same way polluted water is in some degree less pure than clean water.  This is, of course, non-sense.

You see, our language reveals that we think in these terms when it comes to race. Any deviation from the pure standard of white is... well polluted... so our language would suggest.  Why else would a half-white president be referred to as black?  \

Worth noting is the fact that non-whites do not challenge whites on this obviously racist standard.  That's because they have been conditioned to accept this standard themselves. I had a non-white youth-group member in our church recently ask me, where do black people come from?  Do you see the culturally ingrained premise in that question?  An equally fair question would be, where do white people come from?  I wonder why he didn't ask that?

Marin Luther King envisioned a day when all the people of the world would be judged, not on the color of their skin, but on the content of their character.  I now personally think that to be a lost cause.  The very people who are supposed to be the champions of such a cause, and those who have the most to benefit from that cause,  are so fixated on skin color they are blinded to their latent racism.  The white "protectors" seek their own redemption for the wrongs of others.  They also glory in self-righteousness by making themselves out to be the saviors of those whom they obviously see as inferiors.  And we now know that there is no class of people more loyally devoted to a party they see as their saviors as those who have been made unwitting victims by that same party.

As for me, I reject that Obama is the first "black" president.  He is simply the 44th person to hold that office. Not until we all see it that way will King's dream be realized.

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