For centuries, anyone who had any noticeable black ancestry was considered to be black for purposes of hateful discrimination, including slavery. Today, anyone who has any noticeable black ancestry is considered to be some combination of a deserving victim, or simply a cut above.
Both are wrong.
That is the subject of today’s 10 minute episode.
Ugly terms like mulatto and half breed were once used to denigrate the offspring of whites mating with blacks, and whites mating with Native Americans. Both were generally shunned by society, including both sides of their ethnicity. More recently, Eurasian was used to describe the offspring of whites, typically US military males, and Asian females. Again, most of these children were shunned by society, especially Asian societies where almost all of them were born.
Today, the strong trend is to label the lightest skinned black as black, along with observing that the darkest skinned blacks are also black. In other words, you are black or white–no one is a mixture, a blend, and no one is some of this and some of that. For overtly political purposes, all associated with intersectional politics. For intersectionality to work you must first divide people up into sections based on race, gender, sexual preference, money, etc. Then you have to declare which sections are the good guys, and which sections are the bad guys. For example, many people and groups believe that blacks are oppressed and that whites are the oppressors, and that women are oppressed and that men are the oppressors. These people and groups strain to put as many into the oppressed sections as possible, while pointing out who and exactly how evil their oppressor sections are.
Just before the recent Super Bowl, The Kansas City Star ran a several page article featuring Patrick Mahomes, the Kansas City Chiefs’ star quarterback, proclaiming Mahomes to be the “Black man who is the face of the NFL.” Mr. Mahomes has a black father and a white mother. Unlike either Barack Obama or Tiger Woods, who have the same ethnic parentage, Mahomes is very light skinned. With a different haircut and without the goatee, you might very well need to be told that he is black. Not to worry: The media rarely miss an opportunity to emphasize that Mr. Mahomes is black. The very next day, after the underdog Tampa Bay Buccaneers soundly defeated the Chiefs, 31-9, Tom Brady, the 43-year-old white guy who had just won his record-breaking 7th Super Bowl became the face of the NFL.
Perhaps we need to look to characteristics other than race as we seek to praise and honor people and groups. Characteristics like hard work, discipline, focus and, well, being good human beings. And both Messrs. Brady and Mahomes have all of that and more. It is more than likely that the 25-year-old Patrick Mahomes will add to his already stunning on and off field accomplishments and clearly help to lead the way in the NFL. And Tom Brady might continue to burnish his already legendary reputation. And in both cases, their continued successes and recognition should have nothing to do with race.
Mixed marriages are increasing, with the majority of black men of either means or fame choosing lighter skinned women. Will the children of these marriages be designated as black? Mr. Mahomes himself is engaged to a white woman; will their children be seen as black? If this keeps going, and it seems to be accelerating, won’t we need some rules to determine who is black and who is white? For example, Nazi Germany determined that if you had at least one Jewish grandparent, you were Jewish. Seven Native American tribes, including the Fort Sill Apache Tribe, require only 6.25% (1/16) Native American Blood to be considered for inclusion in the tribe. Another 23 tribes, including the Seminoles, Cherokees and Shawnees, ask only that you can show that you are a descendant.
Hey, I am 7.3% black. Am I in?
In a society where more and more children are of mixed ethnicity, whose parents themselves might well be of mixed ethnicity, how can we determine who belongs to which section in the intersectionality game? That’s a tough one, with absolutely no satisfying answer.
“If you don’t like the answers you are getting, ask better questions.” Tony Robbins.
Okay, let’s try that: here’s an alternate question. When are we going to get over this crap? Okay, here’s a more useful way of asking the better question. “How can we use the wonderful differences that we have as individuals and as members of different groups in ways that add to our world, and not divide and detract?” The answer is simple: look for the pluses and emphasize them; don’t look for the negatives and find ways to use them to advance divisive agendas.
We must recognize the power of honoring our differences, including race and gender. Only if we honor these differences can we use the strengths these various differences offer to make everyone stronger and better. Happily, races, genders, cultures, etc., are not the same; they have different strengths and weaknesses.
Only if we recognize–honor–the various differences can we use the strengths to shore up the weaknesses. Only when we do that will the whole be greater than the sum of its parts. Only then can 1+1+1=15–or more.
Today’s Key Point: Let’s all see and honor the wonderful differences that we have not only as individuals, but, in general, as members of certain groups. See those differences, and use them as intended, using strengths over here to shore up weaknesses over there. Don’t pretend the differences don’t exist, and most certainly do not twist them to support self-serving views, whether actually evil or merely wrong.
Segueing from the specifics of today’s topic to overall principles, the core, driving principles at Revolution 2.0, are:
- Personal Responsibility; take it, teach it and,
- Be Your Brother’s Keeper. The answer to the biblical question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” is a ringing, unequivocal “Yes.” There is no other answer.
And we can learn from the two Super Bowl quarterbacks we were talking about earlier. Listen to them as they embraced after the game. “You’re a legend man,” Mahomes told Brady. “Congrats, man.” “You’re a stud bro,” Brady replied. “Let’s keep in touch.”
Yes, let’s do keep in touch.
Tell me what you believe. I and many others want to know.
As always, whatever you do, do it in love. Without love, anything we do is empty. 1 Corinthians 16:14
As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the episodes with comments or questions about this episode or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, @willluden, Facebook, facebook.com/will.luden, and LinkedIn, www.linkedin.com/in/willluden/. And you can subscribe on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and wherever you listen to podcasts.
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Will Luden, coming to you from 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.
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