One planet, one race

The Western Star - - EDITORIAL -

Some­body at Me­mo­rial Univer­sity has ev­i­dently de­cided that it’s OK to be white. I hope it didn’t re­quire a cou­ple of years of un­der­grad­u­ate stud­ies to ar­rive at that con­clu­sion.

I thought most white peo­ple, since they first en­coun­tered non­white hu­mans, had more or less as­sumed that their colour was as good as any­body else’s.

In fact, white peo­ple have long be­lieved that their white­ness was bet­ter than other colour, rather than sim­ply be­ing “OK” with it.

Here I am as­sum­ing that the “It’s OK to be white” posters are thumb- tacked or sticky- taped up by white stu­dents, but maybe that’s an un­war­ranted as­sump­tion.

I won­der if per­haps Trinida­dian or Sri Lankan stu­dents are try­ing to com­fort us by val­i­dat­ing our rather ho-hum colour. In which case, on be­half of white peo­ple ev­ery­where, I com­mend their gen­eros­ity. If, how­ever, the posters are be­ing posted by white stu­dents, then it seems to in­di­cate an in­fe­ri­or­ity com­plex.

Are white peo­ple feel­ing em­bar­rassed about their pale skin, and try­ing to coun­ter­act a sort of colour-envy syn­drome? Are they try­ing to re­as­sure one an­other that white is a not re­ally, af­ter all, such a blah colour to be?

Could the fact that white peo­ple have for cen­turies been in­vad­ing, en­slav­ing, raping, mas­sacring and gen­er­ally mis­treat­ing peo­ple of ev­ery other colour be, at last, sink­ing into the white psy­che? Could re­morse or at least self-crit­i­cism, af­ter all this time, be mak­ing it­self felt? I know we can’t undo cen­turies of colo­nial­ism, apartheid, slave- own­ing, slave-trad­ing and slave-breed­ing, but I don’t think we should pre­tend we didn’t do it.

By “we,” of course, I mean Western Euro­pean Chris­tian cul­tures. If we feel re­morse, even vi­car­i­ously on be­half of our an­ces­tors, shouldn’t we try to ac­cept, un­der­stand, wel­come and cel­e­brate peo­ple of what­ever colour they may be?

So I pro­pose a poster se­ries. “It’s OK to be white” … “It’s OK to be black” … “It’s OK to be brown” … “It’s OK to be yel­low” … “It’s OK to be green” … “It’s OK to be blue” … “It’s OK to be red, or or­ange, or pur­ple, or pink with laven­der polka dots.”

Judg­ing peo­ple by what colour they are is silly. Colour gives us only a vague clue as to the geo- graphic ori­gins of a per­son. It tells us ab­so­lutely noth­ing about the in­tel­li­gence, the courage, the hon­esty, the friend­li­ness, or any­thing else, of our fel­low hu­mans.

Pig­men­ta­tion of the skin tells us noth­ing at all about the in­her­ent worth of any per­son from what­ever part of the planet they may come. They are hu­mans, just as we are, and any­thing done to hurt them hurts us all.

I know white su­prem­a­cists don’t like other colours, nor do they want my ad­vice, but if they felt open to it, it would be very sim­ple: spend your youth mak­ing friends with peo­ple of as many dif­fer­ent colours and cul­tures as you pos­si­bly can, and learn to value the hu­man­ity in ev­ery one of them.

As our cli­mate changes and be­comes less hos­pitable, there will be more mi­gra­tions, and we will be liv­ing in a much more het­ero­ge­neous so­ci­ety. Dar­win’s “Evo­lu­tion through Com­pe­ti­tion” the­ory is not the only the­ory of evo­lu­tion.

Py­otr Alek­seye­vich Kropotkin found that Co-op­er­a­tion and Mu­tu­al­ism work equally well, and of­ten much bet­ter.

And I beg you, please don’t feel obliged to fear, or dis­trust, or think lit­tle of oth­ers be­cause of some­thing as su­per­fi­cial as the colour of their skin!

Ed Healy

Marys­town

Are white peo­ple feel­ing em­bar­rassed about their pale skin, and try­ing to coun­ter­act a sort of colour-envy syn­drome?

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