Monday, 8 September 2008

Serena Williams Wins 3rd US Open, 'In spite of her "race"'


A white-skinned acquaintance recently told me she believes that Blacks do not reach the highest levels of competitive swimming because our bones are too dense to enable us to float in the water. Meanwhile, the white swimmer who won all of the medals at the summer Olympics did so by swimming under water. So, white people's theories of our inferiority don't make a shred of sense.

The truth is that, while many Blacks and whites believe in a theory of innate "racial" differences, the biological fact is that differences between us are so minor that it is scientifically laughable to say that there are distinct "races" of human beings.

Serena Williams wins at tennis because she has excellent discipline and determination, swings harder, serves faster, and makes her opponents run around the court from baseline to baseline until they tire themselves out. She is much stronger physically than her competition, which is obvious just by looking at her muscles. When she came into tennis, white women were serving at 99 miles per hour. Serena serves at up to 125 miles per hour (if memory serves) and has, therefore, compelled white players to try to learn to do the same thing in order to be able to compete with her at all.

That's not a result of her "innate ability at tennis resulting from her skin color," although being told that she couldn't and shouldn't compete may have encouraged her father to prepare her and her sister Venus to whip white players asses.

Attacking "Race", But Not the "Racists"

Field, thank you so much for posting the graphic and widget in support of the "I Am A Community Organizer" day of blogging today, and the Afrosphere Action Alerts widget. The outpouring of support shows that the AfroSpear really is unified in conviction and action.

That's a great new header you have, too.

As for my continuous rants against your (and everyone else's) use of the term "race" (as opposed to the obvious existence of color and ethnicity-based political, economic and cultural battles), you and I are saying the same thing, except that I refuse to use the word "race" in saying it, for the reasons I've been harping on since forever.

However, I know I'm a political fool to jump on you about your "Race Matters" post on a day when you've done so much that I personally asked you for. Someday, I'll learn to just say "thank you" before going off and ranting against the "race" word. And I apologize for the thunderous rhetorical fireworks that have accompanied my statement of my conviction today. In fact, I agree with everything you said, except the use of the term "race" to say it.

You have been an essential mentor to me since even before you convinced me that the name "AfroSpear" should be the name that all of us should adopt for our international group of Black self-determination bloggers. And so, I thank you for all that you've done and for all that you're doing.

Field Negro and White Supremacists Agree that "Race" Exists

I consider Field Negro to be my blogging mentor and one of the strongest Black self-determination bloggers there is. I of course agree with Field Negro that skin color has played and will continue to play a central role in how white perceive and respond to Barack Obama's candidacy. But, I believe Field Negro is terribly wrong in his stubborn insistence that "race matters".

Skin-color and ethnicity-based battles matter, but the concept of "race" is simply an invented biological fantasy concept that is nonetheless a very successful propaganda tool of white supremacists. Many Blacks like Field Negro are unwitting victims of that relentless propaganda, carrying the word "race" around like animals who walk through animal poison and then bring it back to their dens on their feet, where it kills them AND their families. The word and concept of "race" are just that sort of poison.

I posted the following as a comment to Field Negro's post entitled "Race Matters".

Field, you say, "Well my private opinion is that race still matters . . . " And yet you quote a white union organizer who says, "we're all struggling to some extent with the problem of white workers who will not vote for Obama because of his color." (Emphasis added.) You offer plenty of empirical evidence that white people react negatively to the skin color of Blacks.

But, if the white union organizer whom you quote is convinced that whites are reacting negatively to our skin color, then why do you continue to insist that whites are reacting negatively to our "race"? Is what's going on really so complicated that we need the word "race" to explain it? No! They see our skin color and they distrust and despise us. If anything, they are reacting to their belief in a fundamentally erroneous biological fallacy called "race."

Now, here is why we should stop insisting that "race" matters when it is really skin color politics that matters: Whenever you find yourself agreeing with white supremacists, you've got to check yourself. And white supremacists believe in the biological concept of "race" - that you can look at someone's skin color and tell not only what group they are from but also how intelligent and honest they are, etc., as a result of innate genetic inheritance for which skin color is the primary marker. You and I know that concept of "race" is bullshit, and yet you said above, "Well my private opinion is that race still matters . . . " Obviously, it matters that white supremacists believe in the biological concept of race, but that doesn't mean that race matters, any more than a belief in a flat earth means that "flat earth matters". It's the BELIEF in race that matters, not race itself.

And since you believe in race, your belief is part of the problem. You believe in the same concept that the white supremacists believe in and that motivates their hate, fear and loathing: the concept of "race".

The truth is that "race" doesn't exist, but skin color exists and skin color politics exist. When you insist that race exists, you lend political and cultural cover to the white supremacists who insist that existence of "race" is the justification for the relentless efforts to denigrate, subjugate and exploit us.

Admit it, Field. We would all be better off if we admitted that "race" does not exist and that skin color-based politics is what we are all arguing about. But, if you want to continue supporting the white supremacists by using the word that they created to dehumanize us, I hope that someday you'll change your mind.

The word and concept of "race" are like crack. One you pick them up, it's hard to put it them down. But, if you're among the lucky ones, then one day you realize that you really can live without crack. It's not an essential part of life. It's the antithesis of life.

The same is true of the belief in the existence of "race". It's not essential to our salvation or our understanding of our surroundings. Instead, the word and biological concept it's the very foundation of our denigration and subjugation.

Now, you're going to tell me that although the white supremacists use the word is a biological way that we all know is bullshit, it is still necessary for you to use the word to refer to a skin-color based political battle that we all engage in every day.

But, WHY? Why must you refer to that political battle using the same word that the white supremacists use to signify what they believe to be our genetic inferiority? The truth is that there is no good reason why you have to use the word "race" when YOU are referring to skin-color based political battles.

So, why do you still use the word "race" anyway, even though I believe that intellectually you can see the vast damage that the belief in biological race does to Blacks and to whites?

I think you're stuck in your ways, and your influenced by the fact that the white-news media uses the word "race" about fifty times in any article about Black people. Do you really believe they are doing that to HELP us? It's propaganda that is an essential part of denigrating and dehumanizing us!

When intelligent Black people turn the tables on white supremacists by simply insisting that the concept that undergirds their beliefs - "race" - does not exist, THEN we will have begun a rhetorical war that we can win. But, we cannot compel them to provide empirical evidence that "race" exists while Black people are still confusing race with skin color, and Black people are conceding and, in fact, insisting that "race" exists.

Think about it: If a man comes running down the street and says he's running from the abominable snowman, are you going to tell me, "Well my private opinion is that [the abominable snow man] still matters? It's not the abominable snow man who is causing the trouble, because he did not exist, does not exist, and will not exist. It's the delusional or misinformed man's BELIEF in the abominable snowman that is causing the trouble. Unfortunately, you AND the white supremacists are still declaring that you believe in the abominable snowman, and that not helping anyone.

The problem is skin color-based political war which is perpetuatedby the belief, among white people and Black people, in the existence of "race".

Sure, you can say that you're using the word "race" in a different way than the white supremacists do. That's a linguistic and rhetorical rat hole, a mile-deep mine shaft from which there is no viable exit. It's someone insisting that when he uses the word "bitch" to refer to women, he means it in a different way than is intended by those who mean to denigrate, demean and subjugate women. The fact is that the EFFECT of his use of that word DOES legitimize, propagate and perpetuate the denigration of women whether he means for it to do so or not. When he uses the word "bitch" in a nice way, he gives political cover to those who use the word in a bad way. Likewise, when you use the word "race" as part of naming the battle we're in, you give political cover to those who use the word "race" to legitimize the denigration, subjugation, exploitation and marginalization of Black people. There has so be some other word or phrase you can use other than the same word that the white supremacists use.

Now, there's some strong language in this rant, so I just want to say that I'm arguing with your WORD while still deeply respecting and admiring you. I just wish that with respect to this particular word, you would abandon the white supremacists and join the Black side of the battle by declaring that "race" simply does not, did not and will not exist, and those who say that it does are basically delusional. :) But the concept you're expressing with this misguided and deeply destructive word is something we're fighting everyday: skin color and ethnicity-based politics.