I have been sitting on an op-ed about Racism for so many months now. I’m not sure if it is groundbreaking- forgive my modesty- but I have a good feel about it. Actually, I pitched it with the Guardian Newspaper a little while back but…oh, well.
If you are an avid follower of my blog you might remember I wrote a few posts around the subject of Racism. I won’t delve into the archives to find the links for you because then I would have to read through the posts, which I don’t want to do. See, I think of my thoughts as if they were wine; the more it ages the more receptive one gets to the difference in taste. This difference is what I use to refine my thought experiments.
I am in India; been living here for almost three years now. My home country is Zimbabwe and I am an African, in case you didn’t know. This puts me in a somewhat unique, albeit seemingly non-disinterested, position to evaluate the subject of Racism. Now, I put it like seemingly non-disinterested because it is reasonable to take my findings with a pinch of salt. Here is why my reasoning should not be suspect:
I am persuaded to believe in a big picture perspective about morality. This involves learning not to narrow down focus on a single shade of evil but to assess miscellaneous truths simultaneously and this helps recalibrate my conscience for better judgment. Notably, whenever I get racially prejudiced, I have learnt to quickly cancel out the primal instinct to latch myself into a defensive behavior(by this I mean sarcasm, wisecracking etc.) by understanding that I have suffered worse at the hands of people of the same race as me. In this way, evil is denied a face, race, tribe, gender, religion, sexual orientation etc. Instead, evil is realised as a mutating entity and this calls for the much needed care in its exorcism. The care that stems from the knowledge that even the worst of us(an oversimplification) has intrinsic value or that the life of any is sacred.
Perhaps my perspective is more refined by what great friends I have made in India. A little farther from of an implicit shade of racism that may pass for normal to most people, there is sometimes a contagious hilarity we often share with a few Indian guys at a round table, a beautiful project we accomplish, sincere smiles etc. If you disarm the bias that threatens progress, you would always see how India, or other foreign place thereof, is just like any other place, with people only trying to live their lives. But because it feels good to be accepted for who you are and, to zoom out a little more, to accept each other as global citizens, I felt compelled to evaluate the subject of Racism for the refinement of humanity. Hence The Marbles Hypothesis; that op-ed I am still sitting on. I hope to publish my op-ed sometime this year or early next year, by the way.
Moreover, I believe that acts which are purely punishable are those acts that result in someone crossing his conscience. What do I mean by this? Well, sometimes persons are in some sort of autopilot mode. This observation is not so uncommon but the most interesting dub to me, although scarcely accurate because it is short-term, is mass hysteria. Notably,when a village of people are all cannibalistic, you have a pattern and this prompts you to be empathetic and forgiving to any one of them. This is simply because the villagers in the example are just in autopilot mode prompted by a prior and more intentional era through localised logic and thus are also victims to say the least.
Racism is not any different and the racist are entitled to a decent level of empathy and are just as much victim as their victims. All this can be condensed to one maxim which is one of my favorite birth child:
EMOTION MAY SUSTAIN US IN A MOMENT BUT ONLY REASON CAN SEE US INTO THE FUTURE.