“Before I am Black, before I am woman, before I am short, before I am African I am human.” -Dionne Faris, HUMAN
This song resonates with every fiber of my being. I scream inside my head (and, on occasion literally) whenever I read exclusive material about “_________-pride this” and “____________-power that”, mostly because it does just that: exclude. In this day and age when being inclusive matters so much more, we as a species need to figure out how to be proud of our heritages and cultures, without excluding others.
Why can’t we make use of the positive things about our heritages, collectively in order for the betterment of the human race? (The only race that truly matters.) Why does our pride and power derived from our heritage have to make others feel “less than”, or feel as they are not wanted? Is it because it’s been done to “us”, so we must do it to “them”? How is that productive? How is that supposed to forward our species in order to build it up and take it into the future?
Isn’t the future where we are all trying to go? Don’t we all want a future that is “better than” our past? While we raise our children, we do so from a place of “I want you to have what I didn’t; be better than I was”. Doesn’t that include a world where racism and bigotry don’t exist?
I am a human being of African, Italian and Spanish decent. Should I forsake one aspect of my heritage for another, or wouldn’t it make better sense to identify with the positive from all of them in order to be a “whole” person? Sure, when someone sees me, the first thing they see is an African-American woman. But is that all I am? Aren’t we so much more than what we are on the outside? Am I to believe that all Caucasians hate or fear me because I am African-American? Of course not!
The United States (well most of it) elected a man of African and Caucasian decent to be president. (If I’m excluding any other races, Mr. President, it is out of ignorance so please excuse me.) So the media began calling America a post-racial country. Of course as the years of President Obama’s administration have passed, we know this to be untrue. We are still a VERY racial (and racist) country. So for the very large leap forward Mr. Obama’s election pushed us towards becoming a post-racial country, we have taken several hundred very small-minded steps back.
Are we that afraid of first seeing ourselves as human, before all the other labels are incorporated in our thinking of each other? It seems to me that the fear of what is unknown is what motivates us to commit the violence against each other I see on the news everyday. I mean it’s kind of hard to be apart from each other, if we first see ourselves and the other bipeds on this planet as human. Imagine the possibilities! Imagine the decrease in bigotry and violence!
I am a film nut and since art imitates life, I often add memorable quotes from certain movies as part of my life’s mantra or reason to or not to do … whatever. One movie, LEGION comes to mind with regards to this subject and just how futile and petty our arguments are and how there are those who still retain (and refuse to give up) hope. This dialogue is delivered by the character, the Archangel Michael (portrayed by Paul Bettany):
“I’ve watched you kill each other over race and greed; Waging war over dust, rubble and words in old books. And yet in the midst of all this darkness I see some people who will not be bowed. I see some people who will not give up. Even when they know
hope is lost. Some people, who realize that being lost is so close to being found.”
Bettany’s character “nails” the futility of fighting over things so insignificant; things that keep us isolated from each other and do nothing to keep our hope in each other and our species, alive. I know I identify with the hopeful about whom he is speaking; and I hope that there are more of these same people out there.
Isn’t anyone else in this country, or on this planet as tired as I am of all the “noise” that comes from keeping ourselves separated from each other by utilizing labels designed to do just that? If we are to advance, evolve or do whatever it is our species was put on this planet to do, we must come together. If you’ve ever seen a nature show about bees or ants or any other animal unit/colony, you know that the actions of the individuals are designed to forward the futures of the “whole”; or the “whole” ceases to exist. Period.
And I don’t know about you, but I’d like to believe that the human race will still be here, in some form or another, long after I’m gone or else what the heck are we living for?
Jus’ my humble two cents…
B@Peace, my fellow human beings.