If I were running for public office the above statement would guarantee me a defeat, but I'm not. I dealt with the race and racism issue when I first put up the blog but of late I've run into some blogs discussing race and racism. Specifically Blackademic and Fire Angel. The posts at those locations remind me of my college days and of some of the general reactions black folk have to "racism" so I've decided to revisit the topic briefly. I take Dr. Welsing's and Neely Fuller Jr.'s concept of functional definitions very seriously. This in combination of Garvey's admonishment that we should master the language of the lands we live in. I also liked how Brother Malcolm would slice and dice critics with his sharp use of the English language. I am also a student of history and science so I don't fool easy on either subject. Not saying that either Nubian or Fire-Angel are fools, just that a disagree with their analyses.
First lets all clear our heads of what we think we know. Lets also clear our heads of the intellectual terrain that most of us a forced to fight our liberation struggle on. Let's take Dr. Welsing's functional definitions to heart. If a word is used in a manner that defies it's etymology let's say that it is a bad word and seek a more correct word. Is that not fair? Cool. Let us begin.
What is race? Who invented race? In our normal goings on, we hold a concept of race that has been foisted upon us by the European. The European holds ownership of the concept. First he tells us it exists and then after taking over tells us it doesn't. Or maybe it does? It all depends on the situation. This is not satisfactory. Let us then ask the question to ourselves. If race exists then it should exist in all biological systems and objects? After all if there are different types of people, then there should be different types of dogs, cats, etc. Indeed when we look around we see race everywhere in nature. However, instead of calling them races we call them "breeds." Oh we are very familiar with this term. Why? This term is rarely applied to humans so we don't feel uncomfortable with it. We don't have reservations about it's implied meaning. Instead we take it at face value. We see a poodle we recognize the poodle. We know that the poodle can breed with a Cocker Spaniel and produce a Cock-a-Poo. We realize that although the dogs have very different outward appearances, appearances that can be transmitted to the up-teenth generation, we know that it is a dog and can breed with other dogs. We don't make the fact that most dogs are very similar genetically excuse the fact that there are different breeds (races) of dogs. However; when we talk of humans, we throw this observable logic out the window and claim there are no observable races. This is preposterous and all thinking people should reject such nonsense! If we can observe different races of trees, grass, sheep, bovine, Feline, arachnid, etc. then why is it so naughty and "bad" to recognize different races of Homo Sapiens sapiens? So when someone tells you that race does not exist in the human family because so and so and such and such amount of genes are a like, smile: they haven't a clue.
Having established that race actually exists, then lets answer the question of who "divided" up man first. As is usual in a European dominated society Europeans get the credit for this. How much sense does this make? Look; Black people have been on the planet for as long as people have been on the planet. We were trading with all kinds of people for thousands and thousands of years before the Gauls, Anglos, Saxons and other Northern tribes even learned how to write and count with Roman letters. What makes anyone think that with us building Pyras (House of Ra, House of God, Pyramids) and calculating Pi and doing geometry, that we did not observe that there were different types of people and didn't write that down with one of our writing systems? Of course we did. Dr. Diop in his seminal work, Civilization or Barbarism, shows us a figure from the tomb of Ramases III (1200BCE) . This figure can be seen on page 66 of the 1991 Lawrence Hill Book publication. at 1200 BCE the Greeks had barely even arrived on the scene, yet the Egyptians had already noted the different types of humans around them.
So the issue is that when the European made his ascendancy they decided to redo the same thing that we had already done, but assigned the highest place for themselves. Thus we should never say that race was made up by Europeans. That is untrue. The European merely redid what we (and no doubt other cosmopolitan cultures) had done already but added their own twist.
Having said that, we have established that races of Homo Sapiens sapiens exist. We have established that such differences had been known in antiquity then we can move on to racism and the racist.
Race is therefore a portion of humanity with common phenotypical features that are genetically determined, passable and subject to mutation. Simple. Nothing negative about it. Races can be "interbred" to produce hybrid offspring which can themselves arise to new breeds (or races if you will).
Ist: Ist is a suffix that denotes the study of. When attached to biology you get a biologist: one who studies biology. When attached to race it means ones who studies race. Hmm nothing negative here either unless one has been trained to think that studying race(s) is negative in and of itself (The Ghost does not hold such a belief). Now this definition runs counter to the prevailing notion accepted by the larger and dominant society. To be a racist to them (not The Ghost) means to hate someone based on their color. Now note how this definition is completely at odds with the etymology of the word racist. Clearly then such a definition is non-functional and perhaps a means to confuse the masses and distract attention from the actual problem. Therefore The Ghost suggests that if accused of being a "racist" one take immediate control of the conversation by asking:
"What do you mean? Define racism." You will get the aforementioned definition to which you may answer:
"No that cannot be right. Race is a group of humans with common physical characteristics determined by their genetics. Ist implies the study of. Therefore a racist is someone who studies people with common physical characteristics determined by their genetics. I think you are unclear of what you are trying to accuse me of. Is there some specific action you are trying to discuss?"
Now, you will no doubt confuse the person to which you say this too. This is to be expected because the society uses confusing language to prevent clear communication. So a racist really isn't anything bad. If you partake in African Studies you are really a racist. If you study Asian people then you are a racist. If you study European people then you are a racist. Heck, to be precise, if you study a particular breed of dog, you are a racist. Now see how we've gutted the word of connotation and left it with what it is: a neutral term.
So then what is racism? Well we have established what race is already. the suffix ism, implies a belief system or philosophy. thus when 'ism' is attached to 'race' we get a belief system about race. Again notice that there really isn't any negative or positive connotation here. it is a simple term that encapsulates a whole mess of philosophies. Thus the Aryan Nation has a specific form of racism. Pan-Africanists clearly have a position regarding race and therefore all Pan-Africanists are students of a particular form of racism. In fact all HBCU's are practicing racism. Let us take this back to the racist issue.
When someone is accusing another person of being a racist they are really saying something else. They should be saying "You're a black supremacist!" or 'You're a White Supremacist!" or "You're prejudiced against white people!" or "You hate black people!" all of these are racisms.
Now I'll admit that for expediencies sake, I may use the term racist and racism as is used by the general public, but I don't like using it because as we have discovered of late, there is a backlash against the term and an ownership of it by people with ill intentions towards black people. See you can turn "racism" around on the accusor but it is an entirely different thing to rebuff an accusation of White Supremacy. When that term is used, the accusee is being dealt a very specific hand. They are being accused of having a specific philosophy that they then have to rebut. See it's hard to accuse say, Senator Joseph Lieberman as being a racist because, as we have shown it is too lose a term. Now if we called Joseph Lieberman a White Supremacist because he has stated that he thinks that certain Arabs are unable to govern themselves and needs America (White people) to impose government on them. Then he has to answer for a specific charge that cannot be swatted away with "I have black friends." and other such convenient dodges.
I hope this post clears the air on the issue.