With respect to Socrates, my unexamined life is not worth living. The front room is the face we show everyone but we hide our true self in the back room.
Non-whites are judged daily by the color of their skin and the sound of their name. I will never have to experience what non-whites go through. I can ask questions and empathize but in my life, there is simply no comparison relational to their experience.
This distinction is important to start the discussion. Any attempt to understand what non-whites go through is white progress not black progress. In the 1960s Malcolm X spoke about progress and recently Chris Rock reiterated the same idea. In America, when it comes to race, whites are the problem. Whites are the ones who have a problem with non-whites because they look and sound different.
Yes, I think I will paint whites with a huge white brush because in America, whites are also the ones with money and power, from business to entertainment. Whites decide what is acceptable and appropriate in this country. Whites decide what constitutes a crime, what drug is more illegal than another drug, and who should go to jail. Whites even decide who deserves to stay in this country.
One of the ways in which whites are the problem is in their ignorance of other races. Difference is only kept in mind when speaking about marketability, statistics and politics. Or to put it another way, whites only regard other races when it benefits whites. That is the difference without a distinction.
In my opinion, the issue of race in this country has been a problem since Manifest Destiny. When whites saw the skin difference of other races it immediately meant inferior, less than and seemingly animalistic. It was a short trip from this verbal debasement to literal debasement.
White progress has moved slowly. Every American generation gets a little closer to appreciating difference and further away from judging difference. America lost some ground with the hysteria following the events of September 11, 2001 but I still have hope.
Presently, there is anger on both sides. Anger can be healthy as a non-violent statement or in a respectful discussion. A statement expresses a singular or collective thought but a discussion is when at least two people speak. Both methods are attempts at communication. We need to talk to each other more, hear each other’s stories more, and empathize with each other more.
Here is my personal statement: No race is better than another.
Until we disabuse ourselves of this notion we can’t ever be the United States.