George Hasara – Columnist
Some have thought that if the entire human race had the same skin color, that would put an end to prejudice, intolerance, and hatred. If so, I’ve already picked a shade from a well-known paint manufacturer that could represent humanity’s new and improved composite skin tone. The hue just so happens to be named “diverse beige.” What could be a more appropriate label in today’s political climate?
Unfortunately, tribalism or “the behavior and attitudes that stem from strong loyalty to one’s own tribe or social group,” doesn’t necessarily need a racial component to exist. It’s not that racism isn’t evil, but rather that those evils don’t need skin pigment to incubate. Even without distinct physical differences, people have a knack to be at each other’s throats, both figuratively and literally. I can’t tell the difference between an Irish Catholic and an Irish Protestant, but unfortunately, there have been those who have made a deadly distinction. The Hutu and Tutsi have the same skin color, language, religion, and culture but that didn’t prevent the mass killings of hundreds of thousands in Rwanda.
In this country, we are told by the soothsayers of societal doom that racism is on the rise. Oh sure, I might not see it, but those with keener spidey sense assure us that bigotry is everywhere. You just need to know what rock to look under. Recently, actress Jennifer Aniston was considered by some to have stepped out-of-bounds concerning her InStyle magazine cover photo. The former Friends star took a burst of social media flak because she appeared too tan. In fact, she did have a “diverse beige” look to her. While the incident can be filed under “cultural appropriation hallucinations,” it nevertheless became a national talking point for a few milliseconds. As silly as it is, the Aniston story is a microcosm of a broader movement to fracture society along whatever lines possible, with race being the wedge issue of choice for many.
However, in race relations 2.0, it’s not so much how blacks and whites relate to each other but rather how white people relate to other white people. Old school racism involved ACTIONS especially centered around discrimination and the denying of services. Today, it’s all a “woke” Rorschach test where racism is seen in every inkblot and spray-on tan. Even holding the opinion that racism is not a significant problem is in itself considered proof of racism.
Liberal – conservative, democrat – republican, blue state – red state, are all labels that attempt to polarize people by corralling us into one of two pens. Though most people hold varied beliefs, that defy pigeonholing, we still find ourselves pressured to align with one end or the other of the political spectrum. We seem to be stuck in an ideological feedback loop and the more we debate prejudice, intolerance, and hatred, the more those traits intensify. Fading to beige won’t save us.
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