Why is it important to raise awareness of a nonexistent trait? Why place a mark of maturity on one who embraces this non-trait and consider that person more developed in his/her multicultural identity?
Imagine for a moment that you lived in the world of an international chef’s spice cabinet. All around you were spices of all flavors, some sweet, others sour, some bland and others hot. However, somewhere along the life of the spices, some brilliant extremist spice said that some spices had Ingredient X in them and some did not. Now, Ingredient X was a completely fabricated scheme within this extremist’s pea-sized brain, and this idea was one that only created dissension within the spices.
A so-called civil war broke out within the spices. Dill thought he was better than paprika because he did not have Ingredient X. Pepper believed she was better than salt because she had Ingredient X. Sweet against salty, bitter against spicy, there was complete and utter discord within the spices.
There was, however, a small group of spices, who recognized the foolishness of this phenomenon. They decided the best way to remove this bigotry was to raise the awareness of Ingredient X within the spice cabinet.
Therefore, this small group of spices addressed the larger group. They began to tell the history of Ingredient X, where it came from, how it has affected the cabinet and the hate it has caused throughout the spice community. Next, they began to stress the importance of raising awareness of Ingredient X throughout the cabinet. Each spice was now to understand their Ingredient X identity by answering questions like, “When did you first come to know about your Ingredient X? What did your parents tell you about your Ingredient X? What did you learn from school about your Ingredient X?”
Once the spices became aware of their Ingredient X, they then were to understand where they were developmentally in their Ingredient X identity. If a spice finally came to the status of fully embracing its Ingredient X and, at the same time, value and appreciate other ingredients in the other spices, then the spice was indeed mature in its understanding of this completely fabricated feature in their cabinet.
Now, tie this parody to that of raising one’s awareness of racial identity? Why not encourage a person to become aware and celebrate his/her true and relevant ethnic or cultural identity, rather than placing such strong emphasis on what scientists have proven to have no biological meaning since 1960. What is race? It is not culture; it is not ethnicity. It is a chalk line creation and defined division rather than the intended beauty and celebration of history that is naturally woven into culture and ethnicity. This idea of raising awareness of a sociopolitical construct and celebrating the awareness of this fictional trait in self and in others is, in my opinion, a rather irrational idea.
We are not curing the oppresion by educating about race; rather we are raising awareness to do what, encourage “racial identity development”? What is the necessity of the development of an identity proven to be invalid? Would that not create discord, even so compromise the development of the individual’s identity as a whole?
PLEASE do not misunderstand me, I do believe it is of utmost importance for a person to understand his/her cultural background. A child born in an Asian American home should understand his/her heritage, culture, history and family ties. The same is true for a child born in an African American home as well as a child born in the home of White European Americans. I am not negating the importance of cultural awareness within the authentic dimensions of diversity. However, the celebration of understanding one’s racial identity was not built on a firm foundation. Therefore, I believe the emphasis should lie in forming a healthy ethnic identity based on history, biology and family heritage.