One simple solution to race relations in America (all of our problems actually) is for everyone to act justly, love mercy, and live humbly. Doing the right thing (act justly) and loving mercy (compassion over wrath) are easy enough to understand. However, the term humility is not. Humility IS NOT how small you perceive yourself to be in relation to another. Rather, humility is how much larger, by an act of your own will, you choose to make the needs of another relative to your own. If we all lived this way then all of our problems just go away. Right thinking always leads to right doing, and wrong thinking always leads to wrong doing.
But that is a pipe dream when dealing with complicated human beings. That’s all of us by the way.
OK … the complicated version.
The late George Fredrickson defined race as ”consciousness of status and identity based on ancestry and color” in his 1988 classic book, The Arrogance of Race: Historical Perspectives on Slavery, Racism, and Social Inequality. Modern conceptions of race and ethnic consciousness include how in group members and out group members recognize this. Our problems are many, but wrong thinking is at the root of every problem we have. In this case, the wrong thinking is letting a flawed concept of race overlap with color and ethnicity.
We need to have a Universal Race Consciousness (URC) that is so inclusive that our humanity is seen as universal and skin color is as mundane as an artists palette minus its potential for mosaic masterpiece. The critical distinction is to stop conceptualizing race as a classification within humanity. We are the human race. Period. Race is an unscientific social construct that has failed humanity thus far in history. Either get rid of the term or define it properly. Science provides an easy answer—THE human race.
We need to have an Ethnocentric Color Consciousness (ECC) that celebrates and educates with humility rather than isolating with incivility. Color Blindness is a doomed piece of jargon that compels one to ignore the rich distinctives of ethnicity by weaponizing a flawed concept of color. Skin color ought to form a kaleidoscope that leaves you awestruck with the same sense of wonder that a toddler has with a cookie. Skin color ought to be a mosaic masterpiece rather than mostly in pieces. When skin color obtains this kind of beauty in all of our minds, the problem is solved.
If we collectively adopt URC and ECC then our combined right-thinking will lead naturally to systemic right-doing. However, understanding complex systems with complex inputs (humans) is easier said than done. For example …
Equality versus Equity. All of the inputs to human systems are unequal. No two people are equal, hence no two people groups are equal. No interaction between people or groups can ever be equal in the truest sense of the word. True interpersonal equality obtains only by suppressing all of the richness in our meaningful differences while ignoring the reality of actual variance. The imbalance has nothing to do with superiority or inferiority unless you insist that degrees of wealth or health have moral import. They do not. Free moral agents have values and duties, not their bank accounts and medical histories. Persons have the potential to cause equity, but are powerless to actualize equality.
We therefore need to ditch the notion of fighting against Systemic Inequality and replace it with working for Human Systems Equity (HSE). Humanity is a complex system and there is no way around it. Complex systems have unequal inputs leading to unavoidably unequal outputs. This is Reality. Systems do not have ideas, people do. People create systems. People work within, through, and for systems. Their ingenuity and their ignorance lead unavoidably to differential outcomes that may have nothing to do with ideology. NO system made by humans can avoid such flaws. Not one. Under the principles of URC and ECC, HSE can flourish because its conceptual foundations are the right kind of thinking. Change the heart and the mind and you will change the behavior. Systems will thus evolve naturally towards equity rather than unnaturally and impossibly towards equality.
One takes a certain risk by bringing up race relations and offering a solution these days. I address the heart and soul of the matter rather than the variance in details that have always plagued fruitful dialogue. It would be a mistake for anyone to read this and think that the author is unaware or in denial of any facts that underly the long-standing and recently enhanced tensions currently in view. It is my belief that our current approaches are doomed to fail because of their societal infeasibility and the extreme length of time it will take to negotiate a final answer. Current thinking will fail us because it operates on flawed concepts polarized by generations of neglect.
A noble cause cannot produce meaningful fruit by ignoble means.
Noble hearts and minds are the systemic solution to ALL of the troubles of any time.