Friday, August 10, 2012

The Future of Racial Identity Politics

Racial difference was probably the most motivating force of 20th Century history, culminating in many racial genocides, two world wars, the American civil rights movement and the end of South African apartheid. There were various political movements that took place then, such as the Pan-African and Pan-Arab movements, which eventually morphed into a global Pan-Islamic movement, while European nationalist movements such as National Socialism eventually morphed into Zionism.

Widespread popular sentiment has diminished the value of Euro-America and Europe, classifying the former world powers collectively as a dying empire with low population growth. The mystery remains whether race wars will decide the fate of nations, or whether the keys to our cities will be handed over to the non-Europeans in an organized, educational and peaceful manner.

In the 21st Century, Americans have attained a certain legal equality on paper while social reform slowly progresses. However, despite the “code of color-blindness” usually enforced by upper-class liberal academic circles, racial identity seems to be just as important in our time. It is my hope that as our current century progresses, this time our motivation will be towards good not evil.

The two leading global competitors for both population growth and interracial cooperation are Islam and Catholicism, while locally, secular mainstream media’s promotion of interracial dating has resulted in our kindergarten classrooms looking much different than they did fifty years ago. Yet, it is not clear to me that we have moved beyond the Us vs. Them mentality.

Even though American mosques are probably the most racially diverse places you will ever find for human fellowship, I have always been startled again and again that no matter what city I’m in, the second question after “What’s your name?” is “Where are you from?” While I know that God created us into nations and tribes in order that we may know each other, it never c3eases to amaze me how quickly the question comes up.

If I say I’m from Michigan, I’ll be classified as a generic “white” person, so sometimes I want to explain that my parents were immigrants and that I too spent the first 20 years of my life trying to figure out how to fit in with American culture and the next 20 years coping with the realization that it’s never going to happen. But I have found that explaining that I’m Swiss only adds to the confusion.

I have had moments of feeling silently offended by Egyptian youngsters, who identified as Egyptian even if they were born in the US, labeling me as a “white” person, even though they were in many ways more assimilated than me! And I have come to shrink from the typical role of white women in the interracial mosque atmosphere, which has emerged as a sort of backlash against the stereotypical “Monica” depiction of white women in the media.

If you want to know who the white American converts are in any mosque, they are usually the ones wearing the most clothes. They are like the nuns of the Islamic movement. They often make the Asian, Arabic and African women uncomfortable with their exaggerated displays of piety. I was one of them once, and the reason was because I didn’t know what else to do. If the leadership asked me to give a talk in front of the congregation, I’d do it even though I’m naturally shy. If they asked me to visit women’s prisons to do some ministry I’d do it from the love of my heart. But I also realized that the reason they were asking me was because no one else would do it, because it’s not traditionally appropriate for a woman to be doing all this volunteer work outside of her home. It was a very bizarre situation to be stuck in! Why couldn’t I be the woman with the eyeliner and the great shoes who just shows up on Eid? No matter how much volunteer work I did, I’d never fit in because my sincerity just made people uncomfortable. Then I learned the “show a little hair” trick.

This is just a single example of a white person trying to negotiate her place in this confusing world, but even among Christians it has become a real issue of discussion. The white population is simply not reproducing itself, largely due to cultural factors, so those blue-eyes who remain among us are experiencing what it’s like to be a minority in the US.

While race advocates have expressed dismay that because the educated classes of white people use birth control, the only white people who are having babies are the stupid ones, who have babies by mistake, often out of wedlock. Popular media erodes the morality of white women, portraying them as blonde bimbos ready to trade their virtue for an alcoholic drink. Due to such stereotyping, white women face the threat of molestation or worse any time they travel abroad; meanwhile the US invasion of Kosova and Bosnia has resulted in a huge CIA sponsored business of kidnapping and trafficking white women as sex slaves in Israel and elsewhere.

As far as I know, nobody in my family ever enslaved, invaded or harmed black people in any way. Yet it may be hard for a lot of people to even sympathize with innocent white people, especially given the traditional American education, which casts group blame on an entire skin tone for the actions of very specific groups.

Malcolm X once stated that if whites would simply allow blacks to develop self-esteem, race war would become unnecessary. Half a century later, whites themselves have become demoralized and hopeless. Ultimately, what is probably needed is a Pan-European movement to increase the self-esteem of the new minority, which might eventually morph into the Pan-Islamic movement. When white people understand the value of what God gave them in their DNA, they will embrace peace.

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