How to End Racism (No, Really), Research Time, 15/02/2016

Something you notice after you live in Toronto, or any city like it, for a while is that you see a lot of interracial couples. And because there are so many ethnic groups around this city, you see pairings from all these different combinations. 

These pairings have been happening for more than a generation already. Enough time has passed that there are already a significant number of people of a mixed-race or mixed-ethnicity background walking around continuing to mix traditionally separate ethnic lineages.

For all the mass racism that's sprung up throughout
America in response to his presidency, the very
existence of Barack Obama and people like him of
mixed ethnic heritage is a sign of humanity's
utopian possibilities.
This is utterly fantastic. Not just in that general warm fuzzy sense of everyone leaving racism behind in a funky spirit of gettin’ it on. But it’s that too. There’s a much more profound social and cultural transformation going on in this generation of ethnic blending and blurring. And it’s awesome.

In the last chapters of Empire, Antonio Negri gets a little utopian about the shape of the more anarchist alternatives to our current global economic order threaded with injustice.* You might think that these kinds of utopias are inconceivable. That we’ll always have a global economy based on exploitation and injustice.

* Though he goes into the real detail in the next two books in his trilogy, Multitude and Commonwealth. That’s coming soon.

Well, I call shenanigans. Because the best way to argue that we can achieve the unimaginable is to remind you of how we very recently achieved something that was culturally unimaginable to the same degree.

Now, I’m not saying racism is over. We no more ended racism with an increased frequency of inter-ethnic marriage and dating than we did when the United States elected a black President.

But people in a society where a significant number of folks come from mixed racial heritages is going to have a very hard time believing in any essentialisms about race. And anyone who knows them is going to have a similarly hard time believing in race essentialism.

Anything beyond amusing stereotypes and cultural jokes will be more easily seen for the divisive, hateful bullshit that it’s always been. Racism has only ever been believed because we’ve chosen to believe it. Throughout most of our modern history, we’ve let our drives to tribalism and division overcome our drive to love and oneness.

That desire for unity in the massive diversity of humanity is more important now than ever. The worst decision we can make in fighting the destructiveness of globalization is embrace localism, national unity, and the purity of social isolation as an antidote. 

Globalization became so powerful because those processes developed the ability to break down nationalisms and state-territorial boundaries. Any attempt to revive nationalism won’t be an antidote to globalization because globalizing forces already have the ability to break national autarkies down incredibly easily.

No, if you want to succeed against globalization, you have to globalize yourself. The utopian movement that works to heal the injustices of global capitalism – the slave labour, exploitation, oligarchical domination, massive ecological destruction – can only work if it exists on the same global plane of activity.

So we have to be individuals living our globalized lives, building relationships and friendships around the world. And procreating. Procreating people whose identities necessarily have to break with the old boundaries of the past. Love itself creates people whose very existence is a slap in the face to racist beliefs. 

Toronto – to take the example physically closest to me at the moment – is becoming a city where ethnicity is no more or less important in drawing one person to another than hair colour or tone of voice. Love now grows between people who, only a few generations ago, would have been considered different species in mainstream popular belief.

That utopian achievement turned out to be perfectly possible. No reason the power of human love and our creativity in building communities together can’t achieve a further utopia.
• • •
I once met somebody who told me that he felt sorry for all the ethnically blurred people in the world, because there was always going to be racism and they could never avoid being the victims of racism. 

People from their mother’s race would hate them, and people from their father’s race would hate them. So it was best to build families only with those who had the same skin colour as you.

Man, fuck that guy.

1 comment:

  1. Racial prejudiced isn't the same thing as racism. One is ignorance; the other is cruelty.