What is true racial equality?

United States
March 24, 2008 9:32am CST
Many moons ago when I was in college, I had a philosophy professor that told us his view of racial equality. I accepted his definition for many years. But in light of recent discussions here on myLot and in real life about Obama and his pastors comments and then HIS own comments about "typical white people", I am rethinking my definition of racial equality. My professor said, "True quality will be a reality only when we can look at someone and not see skin color or gender, but see only another human." Those are nice words but I now think he is wrong. As many of you know, I live in a highly diverse area of town in central Florida. My son's school is approximately 40% black, 40% hispanic, 15% white and 5% everything else. Those are approximations only, but I think they are close. It would be wrong to NOT see my neighbors as Jamaican, or Columbian or whatever. That is their heritage. That is what makes them unique. That is what makes our country so colorful and vibrant. I don't want to see someone devoid of their heritage. That would be a huge lose to our world. But I also don't want to see people as hyphenated Americans; Mexican-Americans, African-Americans, Italian-Americans. That just segments us and prevents us from being equal. I don't want people lumped into groups that separate us. I think we need to see each other as unique people. We need to see each other one at a time, individually. That is much more work for us socially, but I think that is the only way we will ever have true equality. The same principle applies to gender as well. I don't want a world where men and women are the same. Equal rights and priviledges, yes, but not the same. what do you think? What is your definition of equality?
2 people like this
5 responses
@Destiny007 (5820)
• United States
25 Mar 08
We will never achieve equality until we get rid of those things that make us percieve ourselves as unequal. Cultural Diversity training, hate crimes legislation, and affirmative action does nothing other than emphasize our differences. As long as those things are in place, and as long everyone views themselves as anything but American, then we will never be rid of racism, cultural division, mistrust or hate. Anyone who tries promoting any race or group instead of simply promoting being American is part of the problem. As long as it is an US, and a THEM of any form, then the cannot be unity. My idea of equality is looking at someone regardless of race and just seeing another person, where skin color or ethnicity does not matter.
2 people like this
• United States
25 Mar 08
I agree. Even things like Black Miss America or Latin Music Award shows, keep us segregrated as a society. While these things wer once a celebration of diversity when the traditional award shows focused on mostly white achievements, now they only reinforce our differences.
1 person likes this
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
26 Mar 08
Here, here Destiny!!!
@Ravenladyj (22937)
• United States
24 Mar 08
"My professor said, "True quality will be a reality only when we can look at someone and not see skin color or gender, but see only another human." " In a way I agree with your former Prof actually...He's right...to an extent..BUT I think in order to make it MORE accurate adding "without prejudice, resentment or anger" (or something along those lines) on the end of it would be better... I agree that our races are SOMEWHAT what makes us unique but until we can see just a person and NOT feel any animosity or anger etc towards them we'll never truly be racially equal... great topic btw!
2 people like this
• United States
24 Mar 08
Thanks for the reply. I think you are right about adding the idea of "without prejudice or hatred" etc. It just now feels to me that he was trying to wipe away all the colors of the backgrounds we all have. I would hate for that to happen.
1 person likes this
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
26 Mar 08
Hello Guardian, I believe that we can live in a color blind fashion without sacrificing culture. For example: My brother-in-law was Czechoslovakian, yet he so thoroughly embraced my family's Irish culture that many believed him to be as Irish as my sister, his wife. St. Patty's Day & Cinco de Mayo are about 6 weeks apart. Yet, in my state both are celebrated with vigor, and often by the same people. I have a friend who is Hispanic & Irish (yeah, I know -- quite a combination), and he embraces both cultures. I believe the key is to acknowledge that Human beings are layered. The basic insides are the same from person to person: Red blood, whitish bone, identical organs, etc... Which is covered by an outer layer that acts as an intermediary of sorts. It, or our skin, eases us into a recognition that despite the fact that 'parts is parts' and that our innerds may be identical, that we are in fact, each unique. So, the skin serves as a reminder that when we see someone who looks different than our own reflection, that first apparent difference is but one of many. Yet, despite the many differences, 'parts is still parts'! Giving credit where credit is due: "Parts is parts" hails from the Wendy's media campaign of the 1980s.
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Mar 08
I think you hit it right on the head, "Live in a color blind fashion without sacrificing culture." I think that should be the goal of racial equality.
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Mar 08
I'm sorry I can't give "Best Response" to both you and Destiny.
1 person likes this
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
27 Mar 08
Hello Guardian, Thanks! I think that Destiny is quite deserving of the award. He is sooo right!!! As long as institutions thrive off of perpetuating something as insignificant as the amount melanin in our skin, then true color blindness will not be achieved! Shame on institutional racists!
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
25 Mar 08
Your professor had it all wrong. It is not not seeing the color or gender of the person, but what is associated, the stereotypes of that particular color or gender. Well gender you cannot help. Men are better at somethings than women, and women are better at somethings then men. We cannot grow beards, for instance. Men cannot have babies. So one has to have true racial equality. I watch Tv and movies, and when I do, I take note of the characters and the race of them, and except for in the tv series, LOST, whenever someone is getting persecuted, it is the black man. The black woman is portrayed as loud and bossy, the black man is the boss, the one with the moral values. Oh and when you talk about Chinese or Japanese, think of the wise Oriental, the American Indian who is saving the environment, and the stereotypes even extend to old movies about the ancient Roman Empire. You want to portray slavery, show a Negro. You want to show the evil white man, show someone who looks like a Nazi ideal, blond hair, blue or green eyes, and tall. For once I would like to go to watch a movie, other than action adventures, and see that the boss may be some Mexican guy or some one from the Fiji Islands. rather than an African-American. Vary the bosses on the Tv and Movie shows. Stop making up for the past sins. I also do not like hypenated like up here in Canada. We have French-Canadians, English-Canadians, German-Canadians, their original culture is emphasized,and it seems that some races are more equal than others. So get rid of associating characters with race and you will have won your battle.
• United States
25 Mar 08
Interesting take suspenseful. I agree with you about the images we see on tv and in movies. they perpetuate the problem.
• India
25 Mar 08
I want to agree with the prof. I think just because one does not like Mexican-Americans, African-Americans, Italian-American etc she need not disagree with what the prof said. But if one does not like this lebel then why even 'American' or why British? We can just call ourselves as human being... I think being called Mexican-Americans, African-Americans, Italian-Americans etc is ok as long they don't have demeaning connotation. regards, headhunter525
• United States
25 Mar 08
Interesting point. My only concern with my prof's original definition is that it seemed to be saying that we must all be colorblind, which is a good thing, but it also diminishes our cultural differences. It is our cultural backgrounds that make our society much more rich and interesting. A far as the hyphenated-American thing, I oppose it just because it is a label. Labels, in my mind, create preconceived images of things and people. While saying that I am an American or British or Indian or whatever, tells you where I live. But your point is well taken. As our world gets smaller and smaller, we may in fact reach the point where we are all simply humans. Or earthlings? Lol...