I am not a fan of Barack Obama or Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton or Bill Clinton or the Georges Bush. I am not a fan of our politicians or our government or of compromising political ideals. When the goal is an end to injustice, we can not be content with half a loaf. And yet, there remains a dilemma. Something must be compromised. (Don’t hate me yet, give me just a minute before I am burned at the stake.) The challenge is to know what can be compromised without compromising the goal — justice.
The question, “What can be compromised” is found in the statement of the problem. The problem is racism. The statement of the problem is, “White people always work to oppress and abuse Black people”. We could add some nuance to the statement. We can change “Black people” to “People of Color”. We can add a qualifier concerning People of Color who side with White people. We can tweak the statement, but the simple statement above is sufficient to understand the solution.
The goal is justice. The goal will be achieved when no White person is able or even inclined to oppress or abuse any Black person. We won’t reach the goal if half of the White people stop abusing the Black people. We won’t reach the goal if some of the White people stop abusing some of the Black people. We can measure our progress toward our goal by measuring change in abuse, but the goal is not partial change. The goal is complete change.
If we consider the goal, a complete end to oppression and abuse of Black people by White people, we can find the answer to the question, “What can be compromised”. In a society where no White people are abusing Black people, and assuming that no Black people are abusing White people, the color of people’s skin will not be a factor in social interaction. “Race” will not determine people’s role in life. “Race” will not have disappeared. People will still have white or black skin, but they won’t be racists. Achieving the goal will not change the color of people’s skin. Achieving the goal will change the way the color of people’s skin is perceived. What can be compromised is the way the people in the process of achieving the goal are defined.
Nobody fighting to achieve the goal can change the color of their skin. No Black person, however committed they are to the goal, can change the color of their skin. Their “Race” will always be in plain sight. They will be identified to every White Supremacist who sees them. Similarly, no White person, however committed they are to the goal, can change the color of their skin. Just as the Black person can not cease to be a target of White Supremacy, the White person can not cease to be a benefactor of White Privilege. The compromise is not to accept 50% more justice. The compromise, the change, that must occur is to accept the incremental change in a specific population.
The goal is to achieve a population where no person judges or abuses or even wants to abuse any other person on the basis of race. We are not going to flip a switch. There will not be some magical day when all of the racists suddenly disappear. The goal will be achieved one person at a time. As the population of people who are not racists grows, the goal draws incrementally closer. So, what’s the problem. Start changing. The problem is two fold. First, the individuals must be recognized and second they must be accepted.
The only strategy that will succeed in the abolition of racism is a strategy that transfer individuals from the populations of Black or White to the population of anti-racists. The only population that can achieve the goal is a population that ceases to define itself by race.(Now you can hate me, burn me at the stake whatever.) The individuals who join that population will never be free of the burden of racism. They can’t change the society around them. They can only change themselves, resist the racism around them and recruit others to join them. This is the compromise. The individual who wishes to see the end of racism must cease to identify themselves by “race” while remaining keenly aware of the burdens imposed on individuals by racism. You can no longer be White. You can no longer be Black. You must be a person without race against racism. If you want to see the absolute and uncompromising end to racial injustice, you must be prepared to reject your own racial identity and fight for the end of racial identification.
The challenges for the population in question are enormous. I will not try to write about them now. The broad strokes are obvious. The process of racism is to impose an identity on an individual with or without their consent. The white person who decides to reject their race cannot cease to be a beneficiary of White privilege. The black person who decides to reject their race cannot cease to be a target of White Supremacy. Each of these people, regardless of their skin color, will be an object of anger, ridicule and hatred by individuals who continue to define themselves by “race”. The anti-racist’s only advantage will be their unity. Racism uses the power of the many to impose its will on the individual. When the population of anti-racists is small, the pressure of racism on it will be enormous. As the population of anti-racists grows, its ability to resist racism will grow. Eventually with sufficient courage and tenacity the balance of power will shift and the psychic weight of a population of anti-racists will impose their will on the racists and racism will be destroyed.
To those who will accept it, I offer my unity.