How ready are we to address the sources of racism, acknowledge the effects of racism, and change both for good?
This past weekend, my friend Rudy laid out the history of race and racism is simple and elegant terms. He calmly explained the origins of the construct of race in the slicing and dicing that was then our most basic understanding of science. The ongoing use of race as a pretext for assigning preference of some groups over others has greatly benefitted a few over the common good of the majority of people of the world. The limited understanding we have of the differences of people across race is largely fabricated and held in place by measures that inadvertently serve to keep biased thought in place.
Rudy went on to note that since the construct of race has a beginning, it can have an end. The system of racism also has a beginning. It, too, will end.
My encore career is picking up steam and will launch this summer. My daily thoughts and blog posts strive to explicate my views and intentions for community and community development. As I ponder my friend’s comments for the past several days, I am struck that community development has been seriously stalled and limited by racism. It is accurate to comment on privilege and power differentials when arguing against racism. It is necessary to point to the economic, educational, and health disparities perpetuated by racist systems. At the core, we must argue for the value of human life and human rights.
I, however, want to add another strand of thought. None of us across the world can have the communities we want as long as racism stays in place. Whether we intend to have racism stay in place or not, it is here. We cannot move forward.