Humanity can't be tied to pigment perceptions, By Goldwin Emerson

Humanity can't be tied to pigment perceptions

By Goldwin Emerson

gandjemerson@rogers.com

London Free Press, October 20, 2017

There are many reasons why white supremacy is an imprecise and imperfect idea. To begin with, it is difficult to define who is white and who is not. In general terms whiteness suggests the skin colour of people of European or Europid ancestry. But there are multiple exceptions. For example, in Spain many who live in Barcelona consider themselves to be white, but if they were to move to Los Angeles the same citizens will likely be regarded as Hispanics. The Nazi concept of whiteness, blonde hair, fair skinned and blue eyed, if applied to Hitler, even he would not have passed the test.

A second reason is that even when using very general terms of whiteness, there exist approximately 1.3 billion whites compared to a general worldwide population of over 7 billion people, and the general birth rates for non-whites increase more rapidly than the birth rates for whites. This increasing worldwide imbalance of whiteness and non- whiteness means that in practical terms the concept of white supremacy faces an uphill battle, and I use the term battle advisedly. Perhaps some day in the future whites will be the ones who need to plead for tolerance, equality and generosity rather than supremacy in their ideas of moral fairness, justice and equity.

It should not be surprising that justice, fairness and democratic principles are not helpful in making white supremacy more powerful or in enhancing their concepts of dominance. Nor are the ideas of free speech and accurate media presentations of daily news likely to assist white supremacy in the quest for dominance. Presently if you are a white supremacist you will be encouraged to think of freedom of the press and media accuracy as fake news and as an enemy of the growth of white supremacy.

In American history, slave trade and slave labour were protected by unjust and undemocratic laws set up to give privileges to powerful white business interests and plantation owners. Supporting laws of segregation in housing, restaurants, schools and even churches, and restrictions in riding on public buses, were commonplace. The injustices of slavery and segregation could not have existed without a system of unjust laws supported by broad public acceptance.

Fortunately, many attitudes among white-skinned people have now changed. Modern concepts of what is just and morally correct have shifted for most white-skinned people. We have slowly come to see that humanity is more basic than skin colour, sexual orientation, maleness or femaleness, wealth or poverty, or formal education. Through a long and difficult journey of adjusting our moral compasses, we have even come to realize that people in high political positions, whether presidents or dictators, are not immune from corruption and immorality. Power and violence and military strength are not good measures by which we can find morally correct guidance.

No doubt most readers will have access to their own moral and ethically correct principles which they presently respect.

In my own case, I recall some Humanist ideas to which I wish white supremacists also had access. Below are a few examples of these principles taken directly from the 2002 Amsterdam Declaration, the most recent world consensus on the definition of Humanism:

* Humanists uphold the broadest application of democratic principles in human relationships.

* Humanists affirm the dignity of every person and the right of the individual to the maximum possible freedom compatible with the rights of others.

* Humanists acknowledge human interdependence and the need for mutual respect, and the kinship of all humanity.

*Humanists advocate peaceful resolution of conflicts between individual groups and nations.

* Humanists affirm that individual and social problems can be resolved by means of human reason, intelligent effort, and critical thinking joined with compassion and a spirit of empathy for all living things.

In summary, the colour of one's skin does not provide sufficient evidence of either morality or immorality. There are no doubt moral heroes and immoral villains to be found among both blacks and whites and within every shade of skin colouring in between. A good starting place in resetting our moral compasses is for white supremacists to consider the humanistic principles stated above.