The current demonstrations and riots in many U.S. cities against the killing of a unarmed black man by an arresting police officer, who knelt on his neck for almost ten minutes, suffocated him, has enraged virtually all members of society in many countries. It also brought out a plethera of black advocacy groups interviewed by the media. They, almost to a person, and in their rightful anger and frustration, started their comments with references to two hundred and fifty years of slavery and they almost all included the term “racial inequality” in their comments.
I submit that, fully justified as their anger is, the term “racial equality or inequality” does not help in addressing the broad underlying issues. Bluntly, it is an unachievable oxymoron. I believe racial equality is a pipe-dream because those two words actually address tribalism. Tribal equality goes against millennia of human history, and is flatly impossible. I would prefer to say that tribalism, of which black/white issues are a small part, should be recognized, embraced and celebrated as positive diversity in a community, not an excuse for division and hate.
We need new words that do not restrict the future by automatically superimposing the past on developmental solutions to basic problems. Not that we should forget the past, far from it. As many wise people have said, “Those who do not acknowledge and understand the past are destined to repeat it”, and that’s the last thing we want.
I would suggest that “Community Equality” is a positive, forward-looking, and achievable term that takes away barriers rather than emphasizing them. The process of defining a better future for all mankind will be hard enough anyway without shooting ourselves in the foot by using terms that reflect a past we want to change.
Equality of opportunity, equality of available services, citizens’ rights and privileges and equality under the law should all be essential parts of a civilized, democratic society regardless of where you live, your ethnic background or your economic status. Addressing black/white issues is certainly important but addressing them using the words black, white, racial inequality is, in my opinion, self-defeating. The problem is much broader than that and we need another term to fully encompass what should be our goal – Community Equality.
What do I mean by community? I mean every grouping that can be classified as an entity whether that means your street, your town, your county, your state your country or your planet. A pipe-dream, certainly, but a positive and uniting one, rather than the inherently divisive and, I believe, unachievable concept of racial/tribal equality.
Community Equality. Think about it!