Sunday, 27 May 2007

Is "Race" a "Pigment of the Imagination?"

First posted at the Francis L. Holland Blog.

There are some observations about the natural world that really serve to put things in perspective, because they are based upon facts and logic and employ unquestionably good reasoning skills, even if they sometimes seem cold and callous.

When you say, "race is a pigment of the imagination," it sounds as if you may be doubting the validity of the word "pigment" as well as the fallacious term "race." Now, I know you're not doubting the existence of pigments, because many of nature's processes in all of the animal and flora species depend upon and would not have evolved were it not for pigments.

And so I want to make a clear distinction that I am negating what does not exist, but I am not claiming to be color-blind, which would be adopting a new and easily disproved unscientific fallacy in an effort to discredit a different one ("race").

Defending the Abolition of the Words "Race" and "Racism" in the Revolutionary Fight Against Color-Aroused Disorder: A Response to Field Negro

If a person tells me that they are color-blind, then I will ask them who matches the colors in their clothes for them, since their combinations of colors show a clear awareness of color and shade and hue. I will ask them why they paid more to order a car in the color of their choice. I will ask them why they used a contrasting color on the trim of their house, when labor and paint costs would have been less had they painted the house all one undifferentiated color.

And then they will have to acknowledge that they are not speaking literally when they say that they are "color-blind," but are, in effect, lying for a rhetorical and political purpose.

When you say that you are color-blind only for the purposes of skin-color, you create a new fiction about the natural world that is as absurd as the fiction of "race" itself.

So many lies have been told about skin color that I don't think more lies is the map to the road forward. Science has done quite a lot to undercut theories of "race" and I'm quite content to rely on avid observation of science as a tool in further progress, rather than doing what the white supremacists did: make up lies and fictions about science for a political purpose.

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