"A lie is as good as the truth if you can get people to believe it." -Wendell Hamilton Gregg
For months we've been hearing about "The Big Lie," the belief by many that the recent presidential election was stolen, but for centuries we've all been living a "Big Lie" and I must say, we've been living a really big one. To be simple and frank, the "Big Lie" to which we have given our heart, soul and mind to is the belief that people can and should be separated based on the levels of melanin in their skin; the idea of "race." Though our social and biological sciences refute any idea that "race" is a meaningful construct, it is still propagated throughout the American mainstream in media, business, education, government and especially communities of faith where it is not uncommon to hear about or participate in "black" church or "white" church. Thanks to "race" we have "black" schools and "white" schools. We have "black" businesses and "white" businesses. We have "black" politicians and "white" politicians and so it is no wonder that we now have "white" police and "black" victims.
To be clear, to subscribe to the idea/ideology that is "race," is to subscribe to a hierarchy of people groups based on phenotype or physical characteristics. This was the creation of "whiteness" as virtue. This was the introduction to "race." There was no case or rationale for "whiteness" being placed at the top of the hierarchy other than the inventors of the idea saw themselves as "white." Of course that was convenient for a struggling economy in the new world that needed low-cost labor.
And with fear that the "white" position at the top of the hierarchy could be challenged, new laws were passed to ensure that social stigmas were attached to miscegenation and even simple socializing outside of the newly designed hierarchy. This hindered any progress for the already mixed "race" peoples in the early 18th century who were now subject to slavery and life-time servitude simply based on the color of their skin. These new laws solidified the hierarchy which remains intact in theory even though not necessarily in application today.
The problem with "race" is not just the word itself, it is the meaning that has been assigned to it. "Race" is hierarchy, plain and simple. It was initially developed as a binary of "white" and other but very soon became more stratified with additional levels for indentured servants as well as mixed "race" persons. Think of it this way; when you say "white race" or "black race," you are automatically assigning placement of people into the hierarchical matrix. Even people who use this language will say "I believe that all people are created equal, whether they are "black" or "white." And of course the ultimate proof of that belief would be the nonuse of terminology that articulates the opposite.
An oxymoron contains two ideas, words or concepts that are contradictory or at odds with each other. With "race," the list of oxymoronic terms could go on forever. "Racial equality" is an oxymoron because "race" by its very definition can not be equal. "White" is higher than "black." "Racial unity/oneness" is an oxymoron because you can't unify something that is stratified to create divisions. "Races" can't be reconciled ("racial reconciliation") unless the reconciliation is to simply accept the inequity of placement in the hierarchy. The cognitivedissonance caused by "race" word use is why so many attempts at resolving "race" issues fall short.
Our solutions or attempted solutions and the failure thereof are indicative that we have been sold The Big Lie and we bought it; so much so that we can see no way to resolve it without doubling down on our use of "race." That is why we have "Black History month," "black" entertainment, "black communities and "White" supremacy, "white" privilege, "white" flight and simply, "white" people. The incorporation of the term "race" is now a part of our parlance and acculturation. Our primary method of personal and group identification is skin color and of course the saddest part about this is that many Americans, even in the face of all that has happened over the last two to three years, don't even see that as a problem. We are living The Big Lie.
The quote I opened with comes from my wife's dad. When he was living he used it often to speak of the gullibility of people and how lies are often proliferated simply because they can be. As I've heard someone say, "a lie can travel around the world twice before the truth gets out of bed." That is the story of "race." The Big Lie of "race" has been promoted, supported, reported, and contorted only to ensure its survival for over 300 years. It is a story that few know in its entirety because if they did it would surely change attitudes towards the concept.
In the era of "wokeness" and "openness" about so many things, the fallacy that is "race" remains alive and vibrant in the hearts and minds of most all American citizens and used by them. In most forums the idea of "race" is not even challenged. It should be. With all of the hullabaloo lately about Critical Race Theory, the obvious question, which is never even explored, should be asked. Is "race" a valid construct? That should be answered before we even begin a discussion on Critical Race Theory. This is the conversation that seldom happens and when it does it is usually passed off as a ridiculous assertion, because those who bought the Big Lie believe "we'll never get rid of 'race.'" Again, the Big Lie rules.
"The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody has decided not to see."---Ayn Rand
These contradictions, confusions and ironies of "race" were recently highlighted by Naomi Osaka when she decided she would compete in the Olympics for her birth country, Japan. Her mother is Japanese and her father is Haitian. She had the disadvantage of being raised in "racialized" America. Here, everything is based on the ill-conceived and I'd say evil invention of "race."
In Japan she would be Japanese and in Haiti, she would be Haitian but in America, she gets the ridiculous label of "black." To whom does that make sense? Part of the backlash that Naomi got for identifying that she would compete for Japan and not for America was to have her "black" card revoked. Imagine the mindset of the person who said that and consider your mindset if you say such things. Are there other countries who have such an idea, a "black card?" This is out of hand.
Ashley Montague writes in the opening sentence of his book, Man's Most Dangerous Myth; The Fallacy of Race,that "the idea of "race" represents one of the most dangerous myths of our time, and one of the most tragic." It is high time we begin seeing 'race" for what it is and for the detrimental consequences that it has wreaked up on our civilization and society and henceforth reject it's use in every way. Will this stop "racism" and "racists?" That is the million dollar question and here is the million dollar answer. We can never stop people from believing what they want to believe. We can only ensure that what we believe is true and not a lie. So those who care about such will embrace the truth that "race" is a lie and that is how we ERASE "Race."