04/24/2015 14:36
There is a glaring disconnect between what is known about racial relations and the manner in which we discuss race on campus. Ironically, the issues of race are already so disconnected, the many people do not know how to fuse the pieces of such vastly different experiences together in order to form one cohesive narrative of race. Paralleling this, but not necessarily with or against the thought, is the fact that not every experiences must be interrelated. Furthermore, not all experiences are as important as others. This notion is probably an unpopular one, but here lies the ultimate contradiction of race related conversation: not every person has the same perception of reality, yet all perceptions of reality are inherently true. Not all people have had the same awareness of systematic factors occurring both in and outside of themselves, yet all of these factors are in place regardless. Not all people are perpetrators in the injustices of racial hierarchies, yet all people are victims of it. Privilege and oppression are two sides of the same coin—and too many people are not spending enough time looking at their currency (to attend the metaphor).
People are afraid to be labeled always, but as humans, we must remember that categorizing others and orienting ourselves based around those identities is a fundamental part of our primitive brain functioning. We are social creatures who must belong to a group. This is rooted, of course, in the evolutionary need for protection and stability. But in today’s world, those limiting categorizations are no longer needed. We are not hunter/gatherers seeking only to care for our small tribe. Today, we are individuals who have freedom to move fluidly though any “grouping” of our choosing. But, is this really true? Why are the aspects of our identity (i.e. race, class, gender, sexuality, age) so inescapable? Why do some feel the need to escape identity in the first place? Difference are bad, but identical is worse. This philosophy leaves so much lost in the middle and side from.