Holy crap. Please forgive spelling and grammar errors- if you see some funky Yoda-like structure in my sentences, solo puedo say to you que español raped mi mind. Over and over and over again. Like an old 80’s movie, where all the “girls” are just “askin for it”.
But I’m finally back. So let’s get down to business.
First, thank you Seth R for writing a novel. Its going to provide lots and lots of writing material. First, let me reiterate what racism is:
Racism is a belief that one group of people is somehow superior or inferior to other groups, and is almost entirely based upon physical appearance and perceived intellectual or sociological differences. It has little to do with the manner of dress, amount of capital, or manner of living (although all of those things are used as stereotypes to support racism).
May I also add that “race” is a completely defunct term- it has no meaning in real life, and is completely contrived. Seriously, some Mexicans think that they are a “race” even though you wouldn’t be able to tell a Guatemalan from a Mexican. Or hell, the whole “your host dad looks Chinese” when he’s Japanese makes no sense. (Supposedly, Chinese people have rounder faces. Yeah, okay, sure…)
Racism isn’t always the “let’s go lynch somebody” mode of prejudice. Racism can take many forms, and can sneak into your way of thinking very easily. In fact, the current “omg I’m white and I should feel guilty for slavery” theme running through most liberal education is quite racist. Why? Its still assuming that one race is better than the other, and its still so full of “The White Man’s Burden” it induces strong urges to vomit pea soup everywhere.
This isn’t to say that ethnicity doesn’t exist. And no, I’m not going off on some sort of politically correct tangent. All that ethnicity says is that people are from different cultures and religions, and regions, which would explain why Africans are darker (evolutionary wise, they’d be darker as they’ve lived in areas that traditionally have more heat) and Europeans lighter (when people made the exodus out of Africa, the further North it got, the colder it got, the less people were exposed to the sun. Quite a few generations of *that* and you could possibly develop a mutation for lighter skin color).
However, there lies a huge problem with saying that racism has always existed. It hasn’t. In fact, the sort of racism that we’re used to, the kind that is normally alluded to, didn’t really appear until the 18-1900’s. Gee, that’s an awfully familiar time frame. Wasn’t there some sort of nut case wandering around calling himself a prophet in those times?
This is called “Scientific Racism”
Even if you want to go back all the way to ethnic nationalism, you’re still only going to go back as far as the rise of the Nation States. Even if we go back to the Conquistadors, who were big fat douchey douchey people, you’re STILL not going to find evidence of racism.
Evidence of a sense of cultural and religious superiority? Yes. Evidence of “OMG these people are so dark nobody can stand them”? No. Not at all. That’s why as soon as the natives converted to Christianity, (and I’m using “convert” here in the widest sense possible). In defense of the Church, all I got to say is that any priest making a fuss about the whole “convert or die” thing tended piss off the Conquistadors (read: ded ded ded) , and they didn’t even want the natives converting to Christianity. Conversion generally meant they were religiously obligated to treat the natives better, or to at least stop slaughtering and raping them. But these were Conquistadors. Cortés, you suck.
So, Racism is a fairly modern thing.
Uh-oh. That does not bode well for the BOM. The closest people got in ancient times was to declare “that other tribe” to be full of crappy people who raised their kids wrong. Seriously, check out how the Jews viewed all the pagans. The whole reason there were laws against marrying outside the Happy Jew Circle was not race (omg do you realize your kid could come out with even tanner skin!!??) but culture and religion. The Jews didn’t want people, especially women (Judaism is carried by the mother’s side), to marry outside of Jewdom (heheheee) because culturally and religiously, they were surrounded by people who believed in sacrificing kids to golden calves among other things. And given that the Jews before the Diaspora were pretty localized, it would make sense that they ended up looking somewhat alike….oh wait….
The Jews looked just like the Pagans of their area. Except for clothing, (cultural) and living habits (also cultural) they were no darker or lighter than the Pagans they were surrounded by.
If racism were even ancient, or heck, Biblical, why wouldn’t God have “cursed” the people who decided to have a Pagan orgy-baby-burning-sex-fest while Moses was having a chit-chat with God gone all dark?
And you would think, maybe, possibly, Judas would end up being on the dark side himself. He totally sold the Son of God to be beaten, whipped, humiliated, dragged through the streets, and THEN crucified. If being dark skinned is such a curse, wouldn’t he have deserved it?
Don’t give me that excuse about God’s ways not being our own. That is very true, but it seems to me a much more human thing to believe that people have been cursed to carry melanin. When God said he made man in his image, he wasn’t referring to body type, he was referring to the eternal soul. Otherwise nobody could explain the whole boobs/penis confusion.
Seth R mentioned that one needs to read the BOM as a true historical account. For one thing, its not true. There’s zero archeological proof proving any of it, and a whole lot proving otherwise. Stuff like honey bees, horses, possibly an elephant (have to check that) pop up in the BOM…in spite of scientific evidence proving that none of that stuff was there yet.
Come on now, at least with the Bible you can still point out Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and all those other spots. You can easily find archeological digs (I nearly got to go on one) in spots where there once was a Biblical city, using the Bible as a reference for where it could be. And honestly, if you ask the Catholics in Jerusalem, or even the Jews, or even the Muslims for permission to do an archeological dig, most of the time they will say yes, and they won’t even demand that you already be a part of their religion to do it. Unlike *some* other religions…
I’m going to take the BOM as it should be- a religious text. (And for the record, no, I do not think the Bible should be read as a definitive historical account, like some try to do with Genesis. There might be historical events in it, and there is evidence for it, but its a great ancient example of an extended metaphor.)
Even if I took the BOM as a historical source, I would still declare it racist. It so repeatedly drums into one’s head the mantra of “filthy, dark, and loathesome” that unless one is deliberately blinding oneself to the truth of it, the racism is unmistakable.
Like I’ve said many times- if taken into context, the BOM only gets MORE offensive.
And that is all I’m writing today. I’ll see if I can make a commitment to write twice a week, if not weekly.