the myth of racial transcendence

Obama and the myth of racial transcendence

~Minnesota Spokesman Recorder

“The idea of racial transcendence is mired in the philosophy that Black folks can and should rise above their station in White folk’s minds. The effect of this would lessen the necessity for White people to do the rich cultural work that is vital to help bridge differences. Racial transcendence is almost never applied to White individuals because Whiteness is a given societal norm.”

This essay is a cogent summation of white privilege/ supremacy. The writer speaks clearly to why it is insulting and even demeaning to insist on a “color-blind” society. While his focus is on racial transcendence as a problem for African-Americans it can easily be applied to Latinos, Asians and every other person of color in this country.

In a color-blind society everything that I am as a person of color is overlooked in favor of a heterogeneous standard — a white standard. It is this very feeling, this elusive search for a color-blind society that “good, white, color-blind” persons seek, that illustrates how powerful, yet covert, white privilege truly is.

When someone says, “Obama transcends race,” they are really saying, “Obama transcends Blackness and truly makes me and everyone else forget that I’m even looking at a Black man.” This is not a good thing, because what it really does at a deeper level is solidify the normality of White supremacy. Therefore, Whiteness is the gold standard, after all other cultures or cultural ideas have been extinguished.

The very essence of being Black [Ed. or any other poc] to some Americans means, “You’re not one of us.”

I choose not to be an invisible man. I will always celebrate my heritage, my “piel de canela” [cinnamon skin, for the linguistically challenged].

After all, racial differences are a cause for celebration not denigration.

Our differences are what make this tapestry called humanity, this coat of many colors that God has created, interesting. It is our differences that make our church and society stronger.

Let’s celebrate our diversity.

Let’s overcome this myth of “racial transcendence” by becoming a church, a society where we are no longer “color-blind” but instead see all of the wonder that is ever-present in our diversity.

Take off the blinders and see all of the wonderful colors that God has bestowed upon us…

“and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one.” John 11.52