Thursday, June 18, 2015

The idea of "race" adapted as a political tool throughout history til now. It seems like this German scientist was able to invent the world's most divisive human pyramid chart without actually making a pyramid. (Not that caste systems and human slavery didn't predate this: maybe taglining science helped reinforce it) It's actually interesting how malleable such a rigid word has been throughout time, where crossing state lines in this country could be the difference between being "black" and "white" according to state law (by blood). Let's also not forget that for a long time there were confused "racial statuses" of "ethnic whites" in this country that would change to accommodate the political agenda over a series of eras (immigration/wartime/labor/etc). The most surprising thing I learned was that in one single year between 1929 and 1930 if you were Mexican American you went from being "white" to " non white" to limit immigration and then in 1942, they were switched back to "white" to increase the U.S.'s wartime labor force.

But even if you were to deconstruct race to a simple "myth" that guides tangible discussions among people with different experiences and histories, there are a prism of human extremists that will always go out of their way to destroy others that challenge any of their beliefs. And I think that's just a shitty human problem people are going to need to work on. Maybe moving into the future, there will be more discussion about "culture" than that of "race" because culture is something that as Americans we all share- but it seems that "race" is a better headline and it's easier to sell newspapers over a photo of yet another "white" gunmen mowing down innocent people of color. This does not discount the fact that what happened is a tragedy, it always is a tragedy, and in the future there will be so many more.

For now I guess the overall acceptable idea of American culture if you were to look at news outlets is definitely "sex and violence" with a side of unexpected "free love". Let's also not forget what's currently going on in the Dominican Republic right now, where naturalized citizens are being denied their country because they have lineage that simply traces to Haiti. Maybe if this was 50 years ago, the government would have just killed them all but in 2015 they're just sending them back to Haiti, where a catastrophic public health crisis could easily happen. The world has always been kind of fucked, but now I guess it's a more "politically correct" kind of fucked. You know, substitute mass killing fields for sanctioned public health crises or a long, enduring history of disenfranchisement of marginalized groups that might justify violations of human rights and freedoms based on the interest of one system.

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