SweatyK wrote: “For me, instinctively, the difference between races is deeper than merely cultural.” My instinct is to disagree with this so I would ask for clarification.
One result of the dialogue with EOS for me was recognizing, with some delight, that I wasn’t as “racist” as I’d thought. It brought home how much affinity I feel with him, a black man, as compared to (I imagine) 99% of the white men out there. Ergo, race is no obstacle. On the other hand, I still feel less affinity with EOS than some white men, because of cultural differences, and I don’t think you can separate the antagonistic/oppositional relationship we’ve had over the years from our racial differences, especially since that’s the subject we’ve most often disagreed on.
As EOS made no bones about pointing out, my feelings about other races (especially the black race) are heavily filtered through my childhood conditioning, most specifically my father, a liberal and staunch anti-racist who nonetheless ended up in his last couple of decades living in a mansion in Barbados with black servants. He wasn’t a bad guy, at all, and he wouldn’t have been able to see anything wrong with what he was doing. He never considered (I never did, until this week) how choosing to retire to Barbados (never mind hiring black people to take care of things, which would have seemed simply “logical”) was actually a “racist” move: he took refuge in the last bastion of the British Empire. My father’s liberalism and racial tolerance only went skin deep. It didn’t extend to a soul level. He preached tolerance, but really, who the hell wants to be tolerated?
My approach has been the reverse: to acknowledge that I must be “racist” because we live in a culture that discriminates against people for their race, that having an “other” to exploit and scapegoat is essential to the maintaining of civilization, to discharge internal tensions within the group. Racism is both biologically hard-wired into us and culturally conditioned. Getting free of that is no picnic.
I realized yesterday that, because of my liberal background, although there were hardly any black people (or any other color beside white) in Yorkshire when I grew up, I had two (adopted) cousins and a friend who were black, and was even quite close to two of them (girls). So there’s a positive to balance out the above view, because I am sure it gave me an early foundation of “OK-ness” with that particular kind of otherness. Even so, I have never been one to preach togetherness, because it seems to me that those who do preach it don’t really know how to practice it, and that they preach instead of practicing. I’d much rather let my actions speak louder than my words (as I think it has in this recent discussion).
Another reason I am skeptical about the “togetherness” line is that it usually stems from an assumption of sameness, or at least the desirability of sameness, of homogeneity. This assumption I wholeheartedly challenge. It’s unfortunate that, because of the social lowest-common-denominator mentioned above which demonizes otherness, any suggestion that blacks are inherently different from whites is almost always seen as claiming that they are inferior to them.
The statement I made which you question: superficially the statement is self-evident, and so it’s telling that you question it. Obviously the difference between races is more than merely cultural, since it’s also physical. (This wasn’t a deliberate trap, but it does reveal something about how taboo this subject is that you walked into it.) In the past, my view has been quite staunch, narrow even, that what we are is largely determined by DNA, that DNA is like the implicate engine of our existence, the god within that makes us in its image. Insofar as we have any individual existence, my view has been that it begins, and possibly ends, with the body.
EOS expressed his disdain for the Native shaman’s description of black people being more physical, etc. I have no problem with this sort of thing, even though white people often end up being lumped as “intellectual” beings (to me, far more denigrating than being called physical). The point can be made that this sort of categorization isn’t especially useful and can be horrifically abused, in which case I’d agree. But that doesn’t mean it’s not accurate or doesn’t have some merit. The Native’s idea is a fairly common one, that each of the races has a particular “gift”—a piece in the puzzle—to bring and that only through the co-operation of all the “tribes” can some sort of harmony be established.
Maybe EOS is right when he says it has to do with instincts—genetic (racial) programming, which goes a lot deeper than culture. Human aren’t the product of culture, but the reverse. We are becoming the product of our culture, however, and that culture is a homogenized, one-size-fits-all culture that, in my view, is fit only for machines (or aliens) to rule over, not for organic human beings to exist inside. But maybe I am just old-fashioned.
The difference between races could be the result of “root-races” as occult teachings (now forever associated with Nazism, so to be cited with extreme caution) mostly say they are. Or they could simply have to do with different areas of the Earth, shaping the human biological form in different ways. Different biological forms could create different temperaments (as in the animal kingdom), and this in turn would lead to different cultures. It’s still one genus, hence the possibility of interbreeding, but then horses and zebras are one genus too (and can breed. Not sure about canines, which include bears!).
My view on interbreeding (and I know this is super personal for you so I will try and be delicate) is that, just because it can be done doesn’t mean it should be. We can splice all sorts of plant organisms together but we don’t know what the results will be in the long run. By “should” I don’t mean ethically, I just mean that we don’t know exactly what is gained and what is lost by mixing races and cultures together, so, as with all experiments, it pays to proceed with caution. For example, what about the ancestors? Aren’t the ancestors meant to make up a sort of energetic (soul) community? Can we belong to more than one community? Does that make mixed race people ambassadors between soul tribes, potentially?
Point is I guess that there’s a whole lot we don’t know about all this; but one thing we do know is that there is a “party line” about race, a “right way” to think and talk about it, and that it generally lumps together any sort of alternate viewpoints, and even questions, with one group or another that’s already been marginalized as “wrong.” A recent example of this is when EOS responded to some of my points by comparing me to an American republican, even though he knows I have far less in common with those guys than I do with Mayans living in stone shacks in the jungle.
This is a long-winded answer, I know. I had a few things I still wanted to say to EOS, but I didn’t want to keep him inside the ring if he had to go back to work. Your question gave me an opening to make a new post. In summation, what I’m suggesting is that, since race is a physical, not just a cultural, difference, then there may be aspects to it that are being ignored, or even deliberately obscured. Consciousness may not be restricted to the physical (we are more than our bodies), but it is, to an unknown extent, shaped and flavored (“qualified”) by it. The soul can only express itself by being fully embodied, and embodied means in-body. If you think of the body as a kind of ultimate technology by which undifferentiated (eternal) consciousness (soul) enters the material realm, then black, white, red, yellow, etc., bodies are all designed with specific differences, some subtle some not so, and understanding those differences is essential to using the technology right. This might sound a bit New Agey, or overly mechanistic, but it’s the best description I can come up with for now.
And yes, some of these views may just be old baggage which I am going through before tossing out. I don’t know. It’s a good reason to air them, anyway.