What if race was an illusion and what if nobody knew this? What if you could get a pair of glasses that allowed you to the view people without race and everybody looked the same. What color would everybody be? Absence of color: black? All color: white? Neutral: grey? Maybe we’d be a color that has been yet to be discovered. Maybe the glasses only show us what we should see, but refuse to let ourselves see. Maybe we do not see what we really see, but only what our friends, family and society tells us we see. And more so to this point, society repeats this message so much that we believe it, after hearing it over and over and over again.
What if society told you that you are white, but this was something you did not know? Prior to being told you were white, you were just walking around without a race- a drone of self-projected ignorance. You were hidden of group identity to yourself, which made it real. You were able to walk amongst the people on some moral plateau of racial indifference.
“Hey look down there, I see racism- cant they all just get alone, such silliness. Hey friend, look. That race is making fun of that other race. Isn’t it nice to not have to do deal with all that.”
You are then told you have a race and you are white. And you realize that you are part of the group, you are a sub-group of the human group and your group is just like any other group.
But even though you know this and you look in the mirror and understand the difference in skin color, you are still confused, friends and society tell you mixed signals. Some say you are beyond the glass and looking in and examining and judging and having no impact on their environment. But there is still that pesky friend who tries to convince you are white and that is a race and that counts. You can pretend to be beyond the glass and looking in, but your entire world is within another glass room. You have created an alternate reality within reality where you can float through life in denial to your relation to the world because you do not think you’re a part of it. This implicit inferiority is not helpful if we have any wherewithal to break the glass down.
You try to explain to yourself that it’s ok to sit beyond the glass.
“I was born on this side of the glass…it is ok to stay here, how could I have done wrong by being born on one side of glass wall.”
A passing stranger replies, “you know man, they can hear you and they can see you.”
“Wait, what? Really?”, the stranger continues on his way and walks right through the glass wall.
“So I am white and part of a group, like these other groups. But those groups are on one side of the glass and I am on this side. They can hear me and see me. I can see them, but I can’t hear them. This is all very weird I do not understand.”, I mutter to myself.
A young child walks by and proclaims, “You see the problem with your reality is not the reality itself, but the construction of it. You can look around and realize how big the world is and how big this glass room is and the glass room we’re inside of. As the walls of glass go for miles and miles in every direction. You can think it’s ’how it is’, but that presumes we had some goal or destination, but we don’t. You can say it’s The Man and pretend there is some puppeteer or government official pulling all the strings if you want. But these are not walls built by government agencies; these walls are built from ideology. They are built by centuries of repeated ideas, repeated to the point that they become a religion- they became ideology. People think ideology is something that comes from above, from some powerful plane. But ideology is something inside all of us and we all shape it. We are the part of a collective idea and the only way to stop it is to refuse to give in to its power. Believe that it is a lie and think what you want to be real is real. Imagine the glass is gone and imagine that we are all part of one big group and that’s that. Imagine a world where everybody is the same race…and then there is no more need for the word. Everybody built the walls and it is going to take everybody to destroy them. I, my friend, was never told of the walls and I have never seen them. It’s a nice feeling- less stuffy and restricting.”
As I ponder the words of the young sage, “Can I really do this? Is it that simple? I can just wish away the walls and when my friends tell me they really exist, I must persist that they are liars and try harder”
Then a voice is heard from beyond the glass…another young child from some other group says to me, “I have faith in you” he says to me, “we’ll reconstruct this world together and it will be better. This is all an illusion now….go tell your friends” I finally heard through the glass. Soon, it will all melt away.