Friday, February 26, 2021

An authentic anti-racism

Thomas Chatterton Williams in The Wall Street Journal:
.... If we care about solving the racial dilemma once and for all, we should first strive to create a society in which Black people, and by extension all other identity groups, are not considered and celebrated as different. We need to arrive at a psychological place where we no longer require a Black History Month, since we would learn about the American past in ways capacious and finely tuned enough to reflect the entirety of our shared, tragic and transcendent mongrel history. ....

“The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination,” Ibram X. Kendi argues in his era-defining book How To Be an Antiracist, which became a number one bestseller in 2020. “The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.”

This is, in fact, the opposite of a lasting solution. It is a recipe for the reproduction of racism ad infinitum. We are drowning in the fetishization of artificial differences....

Blackness isn’t real because whiteness isn’t real. What is real, of course, is the fact that men and women like my father have been socially deemed Black in America, and this is a category that has been used to hurt and exclude them for generations, even as it has led to extraordinary cultural contributions and forms of uplift and solidarity. We often embrace and find solace in our racialized identities as an artificial defense against real attacks on our selfhood and dignity.  ....

Beyond the binary of Black and white, the world that we’re fast creating is one in which every conceivable identity ends up being presented as something akin to an essence—unbridgeable to those who don’t share it and frequently defined by little more than its relationship to oppression. Too many of us on either side of the color line, and all points between, seem not just profoundly uninterested in moving beyond race but positively invested in maintaining its grip over our lives.

What we need instead is to find ways to rectify past wrongs and present discrimination while moving toward a society in which racial and other immutable differences are seriously attenuated, in which physical characteristics and ancestry tell us as little as possible about the various individuals we happen to encounter. .... (more, but probably behind a subscription wall)
Thomas Chatterton Williams, The Saturday Essay: "Beyond Black History Month," The Wall Street Journal

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