RACE - The Narcissist
Many different images and most notably, people, come to mind when one hears the word "narcissist." Surely you can envision presidents, business leaders, coaches, parents and people from every walk of life that we would "size up" with this pejorative description. And while an apt definition of the term would surely include, people who need to be the center of every conversation, people who interrupt others often for their own purposes, and people who have an inflated sense of their abilities and accomplishments, I also believe "race," the ideology, fits this definition as well. Let's see how.
Like a Narcissist
Think about the most narcissistic person you know. They thrive to be the center of everything that goes on. When in conversation they believe they should be the subject and every conversation should be about them. When a local, community or international event takes place, they believe that they should be interjected into that issue and that it is ultimately about them. And even when something is happening without any particular relevance to them at all, they believe that others want to know how they feel about it and so they offer up their opinion because they think it should be seen from their perspective. This is full blown narcissism and while many of us can be prone to one or two aspects of this broad description, I believe that there is nothing that embodies all of these principles at one time like the concept/ideology of "race."
Don't believe "race" - it is not important
The idea of "race" has plagued our country for hundreds of years. Besides me and a few other people, most everyone believes that "race" is some way significant in our daily interactions. They have been convinced by "the narcissist - race" that "race" is as important as "race" has made itself out to be. Yes, "race" speaks. Every time you turn on the news, "race" is speaking and identifying the skin color of a person who committed an act of violence in one way or another. "Race" speaks when we talk about subjects of education, poverty, pandemics and even climate change and we highlight the "racial" aspect of the issue. Who knew that climate change had a "racial" angle. "Race" speaks in the world of sports and entertainment. Who gets to coach, who gets to play and if that's not enough, who gets to kneel or stand during the National Anthem. It speaks at the Oscars and the Grammy's with many boycotting if "race" is not considered the way one would desire. Yes "race" speaks. "Race" will not play second fiddle to any other issue and "Race -The Narcissist" desires to be, as today's terminology puts it, "centered."
How "race" became the narcissist
"Race" began in the 17th century with a few key events all resulting in "race" being used as a tool for the colonialists to subjugate and enslave personnel for economic gain. One of the most important events was Bacon's Rebellion in 1676 when slaves and indentured servants teamed up to battle the colonial power structure. To prevent a possible uprising of this sort in the future, some indentured servants were given responsibilities that elevated their position over the imported African slaves. "Race" was constructed to divide these people groups and create a hierarchy giving more power to some and less power to others, to the point of the enslavement of those at the bottom of the hierarchy, This is the social construction of "race" that we hear so much about today. However in order for this to work, the people had to be convinced that "race" was significant and bestowed upon people an essential place in society.
The legalization of "race"
"Race" gained its legitimacy when the government, media, courts, and general society began promulgating this idea as "truth." The slave codes began spelling out the significance of skin color when dictating the privileges and prohibitions of all persons. Laws were subsequently passed and organizations, businesses, institutions and churches were all formed with the idea of "race" as truth. By the end of the 19th century, segregation based on "race" became legal for the entire country. In the 20th century it was commonplace to have "white" and "black" churches, "white" and "black" schools and "white" and "black" communities. This segregation and separation convinced citizens of every type that there was indeed a difference between people of different "races." "Race" ruled the day.
The demise of "race"
With the civil rights movement of the 1960's, the idea of integration began to challenge the idea of segregation and separation based on skin color, i.e. "race." The 1970's saw the idea of "race" symbolized in television shows like Archie Bunker's All In The Family and its spinoff The Jefferson's. These shows addressed head-on the idea of "race" and often made jokes about "blacks" and "whites." Schools were being forced to integrate and there was more exposure and interaction between people of different "races." The idea of "race;" that skin color differences were biologically meaningful, was being challenged. By the 1980's "race" had taken a backseat to many other issues of the day and you would find a citizen more concerned about political status than "race." "Race" however, was not going to play second fiddle to any other idea or concept and just like the "narcissist" who says "look at me, look at me," that is exactly what "race" said.
"Race" makes a comeback
In the early 90's we had the Rodney King episode and by the mid 90's we had OJ Simpson. Both of these trials were highly charged with "racial" tension and it was a great opportunity for "the narcissist" to say "look at me." The OJ Simpson trial was perfect for The Narcissist. OJ Simpson, a "black" NFL hall of famer was married to a "white" woman and accused of her murder. The trial took the perfect "racial" turn when a former police officer was accused of using the "n" word. "Race" won the day.
We could talk ad nauseum about every single incident that has headlined the news in this country over the last couple of years and one could easily see that "race" is saying "look at me, look at me." In the recent Kyle Rittenhouse trial a "white" man killed two other "white" men and "race" grabbed the spotlight and positioned itself as the center of attention. The latest iteration of of this self-aggrandizing posturing by "race" is the prevalence of discussions, fights and issues observed over the decades-old idea of Critical Race Theory. "Race - the narcissist" is front and center in America.
"Race" is a liar
"Race" is a narcissist but more importantly, 'race' is a liar. "Race" has to lie to convince you that it is truth in order for you to believe it. "Race" has always been a lie and will always be one. However as "the narcissist," we have been convinced overwhelmingly, that "race" is vitally important. That's just fine for "the narcissist" because that's all "the narcissist" wants anyway; to be the center of attention. In closing I'm sure that many will read this and think of others who act based on their belief in "race." However, the real problem isn't that other people believe "the narcissist." It's that you do and submitted to this ideology every day is how "the narcissist" wins. That's why we have "RACE."