Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Critical Race Theory and the Intersection of Cultures

The subtexts of every conversation are race, gender and class. (and recently I added gender identity)

We were chatting about this and that, idle conversation, and one of us said, something like we have to remember the Holocaust, one guy replied,” Why do you keep bringing up the Holocaust, if was a long time ago.”, I put myself in the conversation, “I agree, we have to move on, Jesus was crucified 2,000 years ago, why do you guys keep bringing it up?” There was a long awkward silence, and the topic changed to sports.

We can’t erase history; erasing history is rewriting history.

The past is populated by glowing moments and a “dark side.”

Why are some of us calling for erasing and re-writing our history?  

Should we teach that the author of Declaration of Independence was not only a slave owner but felt that enslaved Black people were inferior,

blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time and circumstances, are inferior to the whites in the endowments both of body and mind.

The author of the Declaration of Independence fathered six children by Sally Hemings, an enslaved woman. beginning when she was a teenager.

James Madison, in Federalist 51:  If men were angels, no government would be necessary.

It wasn’t until 1967 that the Supreme Court ruled criminalizing interracial marriage was unconstitutional, the Court wrote,

.Loving v Virginia (1967) Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man”, fundamental to our very existence and survival. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law.

Many of us remember Sidney Poitier, Audrey Hepburn and Spencer Tracy in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1969),” how much has changed?

Did the election of Barack Obama in 2008 preage our entry into a post-racial America?

What does post-racial mean?  Will we live in a world where race is irrelevant?  Or, that the only American culture is White culture? Does that mean we will extinguish Black culture? 

A black journalist writes,

“I’m interested in living in a post-racist world, where being African American doesn’t dictate limitations on what I can do – but I don’t want to live post-race. Our differences are so fascinating and wonderful. We don’t want to all be the same. Who wants that?”

Our nation destroyed indigenous peoples, Native American cultures, Raphael Lemkin writes,

colonization was in itself “intrinsically genocidal” … this genocide destroyed indigenous peoples, Native American cultures, Raphael Lemkin writes, “the genocide_of_indigenous_peoples was a stage process, the first being the destruction of the indigenous population’s way of life. In the second stage, the newcomers impose their way of life on the indigenous group

Are we attempting tp erase Black culture and Afro-American history?

The National Museum of Afro-American History and Culture at the Smithsonian in an exhibit entitled “Talking About Race’ defines “Whiteness,”

Whiteness and white racialized identity refer to the way that white people, their customs, culture, and beliefs operate as the standard by which all other groups of are compared. Whiteness is also at the core of understanding race in America. Whiteness and the normalization of white racial identity throughout America’s history have created a culture where nonwhite persons are seen as inferior or abnormal.

Thinking about race is very different for nonwhite persons living in America. People of color must always consider their racial identity, whatever the situation, due to the systemic and interpersonal racism that still exists.  

Whiteness (and its accepted normality) also exist as everyday microaggressions toward people of color. Acts of microaggressions include verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs or insults toward nonwhites. Whether intentional or not, these attitudes communicate hostile, derogatory, or harmful messages.

The current attacks on Critical Race Theory are a defense of Whiteness,

Critical race theory (CRT) is a school of thought meant to emphasize the effects of race on one’s social standing. It arose as a challenge to the idea that in the two decades since the Civil Rights Movement and associated legislation, racial inequality had been solved and affirmative action was no longer necessary. CRT continues to be an influential body of legal and academic literature that has made its way into more public, non-academic writing”.

Critical Race Theory is not taught in K-12 schools, an excellent blog post exposes attempts to erase the “unpleasantness” of our past  here

Chief Justice John Roberts’ opinion famously concluded: “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” But during oral arguments, then-justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said: “It’s very hard for me to see how you can have a racial objective but a nonracial means to get there.”

Given the fertility/mortality rates and rate of inter racial marriage in a few decades we will be a majority people of color nation.

Racism is driven by the “fear of the other.”

We can overcome our fear of the other, what I think of as a precursor to all the “isms,” with practice. Mingle with the “other” often enough and the fear/anxiety switch won’t trigger. One day you’ll notice the presence of the absence of that niggling sense of anxiety because the “other” will now be just like you.

One response to “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Critical Race Theory and the Intersection of Cultures

  1. Lawrence Block

    There are some who love to hate. A close analysis of what and how you write as opposed to what you fail and refuse to write will be the judge of your intentions in due time. This collection of your carefully selected commentaries does not effectively conceal that the teachers union, an organization in which you have long standing and close association, looks the other way as a segment of its membership is accused of intrinsic racism by virtue of their born with characteristics. Before the establishment of the industrial complex of pro-reverse racism and discrimination, you might have thought that any attempt to stigmatize or make generalisations about a person because of their race, religion or color was an act of racism by a racists – not saying that your updated thinking fits that bill – what do you think unless thinking will get you cancelled. Your union is as guilty as perhaps some of our founding fathers in their held beliefs that was a reflection of the times, culture and practices, not only in this land but across the planet. You also failed to mention that the indigenous tribes of this continent would slaughter one another and compel their weaker opponents into slavery as well as into a sweet delicacy for their own palates.

    “Our nation destroyed indigenous peoples, Native American cultures, Raphael Lemkin writes,colonization was in itself “intrinsically genocidal” … this genocide destroyed indigenous peoples, Native American cultures, Raphael Lemkin writes, “the genocide_of_indigenous_peoples was a stage process, the first being the destruction of the indigenous population’s way of life. In the second stage, the newcomers impose their way of life on the indigenous group – perhaps you can fill in the blanks for Raphael Lemkin if you dare. If you really believe in the last paragraph you wrote about overcoming all of the ism’s you just may want to rethink your positions – actually I have no idea what your positions are – your political instincts do a great job playing tag in the middle of the road.

    Liked by 1 person

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