Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Short Word About Racial Prejudice... and Pride

I wrote this back in 2000, before Tiger Woods had his "little" mishap or Barak Obama was elected president.  (And yes, we still have a problem):

Racial sensibilities don’t apply to this culture, and I’m not talking about racial hatred here, but rather racial pride.  The day we focus exclusively on a person’s abilities, and not on the color of skin (whether that focus is with hatred or love), then we will have achieved racial harmony.  When Tiger Woods’ African and Asian heritage makes not a difference, that is when we overcome prejudice; not necessarily when we stop hating other races, which I admit still needs to be done, but also when we stop loving races to a point where the race takes center stage over the individual and his or her abilities.  Would Tiger Woods be as popular, as much of a talked about celebrity, if he weren’t black/Asian?  Unlikely; of course, he’d still be mentioned in the world of sports for his excellence in golf, but his celebrity has actually gone beyond that now.  A big part of his popularity today is his cultural heritage, but that shouldn’t really make any difference.  Instead of being known as a Champion Golfer, he’s instead known as a Champion Black/Asian Golfer, and that’s too bad, and that’s what continues separating the races and continues promoting racial prejudice.  As long as race is considered a “big deal,” we will continue to be a racist society.  In other words, when America elects its first black or female president, people will say that we’re finally harmonious, but they’d be wrong.  Only when the president is black or a woman and it doesn’t matter will we be racially harmonious.  In the glorified future of Star Trek, it’s never an issue.  Miles O’Brien makes no distinction, good or bad, that his commander is black, or that is wife is Asian – didn’t even give it a second thought!  On Voyager, you won’t find B’Elana saying to Captain Janeway something like, “All right, my sister!  Equality for women, finally!”  If she did, Janeway’s first thought would probably be to send her down to sickbay to have the holographic Doctor find out what’s wrong with her.  They don’t make a production out of equality, it just exists.  Chakotay is second in command because of his abilities, and not because he’s of Native American Indian descent.  We are not at that level in this society in our racial hatred or pride.  I will admit, however, that we are better than we were before.  At least we no longer have slavery or blatant segregation.

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