Visions of race

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No one can choose their genetic inheritance, but we all have to deal with the breaks of looking the way we do. There are many folks who want to believe that there is the potential for getting rid of race conscious behaviour in the world, but the reality is that we can only work on ourselves in our individual spaces. When we venture forth into the world, we cannot avoid the fact that there are others who make value judgements based on what they see when they look at us.

This is not yet another lamentation about racism. There is no doubt that some of us are treated differently from others when we travel across international borders, for example. In some cases, the unfair behaviour is displayed by folks of the same race as the traveller.

Will there ever be a time when this way of being can be eradicated from the world? I’m inclined to believe that people will always prefer to base their perceptions of others on categories and the connotations assigned to them from within the cultures they have grown up in.

Obviously, there are some folks who fit the negative stereotypes that are assigned across racial categories. There are others who either want to exploit the simplistic viewpoints of those who bear grudges or prejudices. This is done for self aggrandisement, not thinking about the long term impact of reinforcing notions of this sort.

Perhaps we all need to accept that we can only know what it feels like to be ourselves. We can empathise with others or try to imagine what it would be like to walk in their shoes, but there is no substitute for experiencing the real thing.