The Past and Present Inform Each Other
According to Edward Said (1993), “. . . there is no just way in which the past can be quarantined from the present. Past and present inform each other, each implies the other . . .” We become heir to the past and all of the negative and positive effects that come with it. The past is never complete, for powerful social forces from the long-ago shape the present and the future. We all need to become aware of who we are and what we want to be, and to distinguish ourselves as more than what political structures have said we are. Social and political structures have always deposited people in boxes or mazes, especially the poor, women, people of color, and other minorities, but no one is excluded. Even the wise have been deceived.
We have from birth to death been told what to believe about the development of the United States and its place in the world. In my life, I observed people of color being oppressed, women being beaten, the poor treated very badly, and the false justifications for these unjust actions. As a witness to the specific patterns of insensitivity, a conscious level of justice was born in my mind years before I ever became an activist. I was not originally aware of the social structures that sustained injustices and only synthesized it later in time, but it was this picture of life , of seeing twisted individuals corrupted by the dominate social patterns, that propelled me to refuse to accept certain patterns of control from those that had little moral authority to impose their will upon anyone.
Of course, many sociologists, political thinkers, and psychologists, some of whom never read the classic work of Fanon in The Wretched of the Earth, have been academically denied works that provide explicit details as to how defiance and distortions are formed within a society that is unjust. We are taught that “race” is a genuine phenomenon, but “whites” were something else before this invented category. “White people” were Irish, German, Italian, French, Saxon, and others before so-called Enlightenment thinkers constructed these lies in favor of an all white designation. For all of their contributions to philosophy and science they ruined the world. Racial inventions were also created for the “others.” Native Americans (Indians as they were falsely labeled) were once Apache, Comanche, Kickapoo, Sioux, Cheyenne, Winnebago, Zapotec, and others before being slammed into a racist box. Blacks were once Zulu, Vai, Hausa, Akan, Shona, Xhosa, Mende, Bantu, and others before being labeled “black” by slave traders.
We must discontinue completely our use of the term “race” and begin discussions about ethnic identity, cultural assimilation, and the dictators of a skin color monarchy. Race, once invented poisoned mankind, and once invented has had serious consequences. Always be cautious of the advice some may have, as it may be good advice, but totally unreliable to explain social issues that were built to protect injustice. It fact, many of those that we are supposed to be distinguished as great thinkers were tainted with racism. Mark Twain, Plato, Immanuel Kant, the writer Jack London, the German composer Richard Wagner, and others furthered the aims of injustice, genocide, ethnocide, and helped to ruin the world with their “intellectual” and flowery gangrene. How such “learned men” (women were mostly excluded, i.e., Madame Émilie Du Châtelet who proved Isaac Newton’s mathematics incorrect and Lisa Meitner who discovered nuclear fission of uranium) could be so hateful of Native Americans, blacks, the Irish, women, and others is really simple; they sought to protect their status.