Sunday, September 4, 2011
I read an article about the rap group Das Rascist today in New York magazine. Das Rascist is a group of three non-pure-white rappers who interject humor about race that is often intended to offend whites. Of course, it ends up working just the opposite and the group is gaining popularity. Their dilemna, is seems, is that they are striving to obliterate rascism, making race an inconsequential issue. Yet they are making a name for themselves by playing on rascism. So, it got me to thinking, is rascism passe? It is indeed becoming more difficult to identify those who are pure white, much to the anger of a few extemist psychopaths and sociopaths. But as "pure white" disappears, fear and anger will not. That is because there will always be "otherness" and it seems to be in the nature of humans to have to distinguish other from self. The more "other" someone appears to be, the more fear it evokes in some. So why is "other" so fear-inducing? It is because "other" challenges our sense of "self." Can an "other" devour us? Can we sustain our personal beliefs, our understanding of how we should behave, of how we should interact with others, who we allow ourselves to love, where we wish to live, how we wish to earn a living, if others approach all of these issues differently, especially if far differently? It is this fear that drives people to cruel acts, whether it is bullying a child in school or taken to the extreme, flying passenger-filled airplanes into occupied buildings. The question that has confounded humanity for millenia is how to erradicate this fear which leads to hatred and violence. The answer may be too simple for many to accept but it may be the answer, none-the-less, one that many great men and women have offered: to respect life above all else and to respect every individual's right to pursue their own happiness without infringing on other's equal right to the same. This is a challenge that requires understanding and compromise and above all, love. It is the foundation upon which every personal relationship is built and upon which this great country was built.