The Absurdity of Racism and Ethnic Nationalism
(Abridged version, published in the journal, The Ambition [Vol. 19 No. 8])
By Zeshan Shahbaz
Before we are anything else, we are human. Before we are black, white, yellow, brown, blue, purple or any other shade of colour, we are human. Factually, it comes down to human beings spread across this planet Earth where colour, creed and language are nothing but states of nature. This not only demonstrates the absurdity of racism but also shows the nonsense of ethnic nationalism. Actually, the word Racism is a misnomer itself, because, in the context of this planet Earth1, there is only one race and that is the human race2. Also, by recognizing this reality, labels like "majority," "minority" and "visible minority" become irrational. In a society made up of human beings there is no such thing as "majority," "minority" or "visible minority" – these terms simply aim at pigeonholing segments of human society.
The Folly of False-Pride
Racism derives from self-deluded pride. If someone finds pride in things such as the colour of their skin or what their tribal ancestors did then that's really 'false pride'. Logically, how can one have pride in something, that they personally had nothing to do with, or, that is completely independent of their will3? Rather, logically, one would have pride in what he or she, as an individual, has productively done.
Humanity as One Family
I leave you with the words of the late and great American human rights activist, Malcolm X. This was his response to a question on integration and intermarriage: I believe in recognizing every human being as a human being, neither white, black, brown nor red. When you are dealing with humanity as one family, there's no question of integration or intermarriage. It's just one human being marrying another human being, or one human being living around and with another human being4.
1. Human beings, as a species, are deemed the most capable of higher intelligence on Earth.
2. This argument demonstrates the irrationality of 'racism' and 'ethnic nationalism' in the context of humanity alone, however, we can take this line of reasoning to its logical conclusion. Say, one day, we come across intelligent extraterrestrials from another planet -- how would we look at ourselves then? Answer: Before we are anything else, even before we are human, we are, ultimately, Sentient.
3. One of the greatest hazards to peace, security, equality, freedom, brotherhood and sisterhood, justice and the respect of human rights is the imprudent dichotomy between 'self' and 'others', between 'us' and 'them', to see oneself as being distinct from the rest of humanity. ...'Us' is always good, 'them' is always wicked; 'us' is always noble, 'them' is always despicable, 'us' is always benevolent, 'them' is always cruel; 'us' is always peaceful, 'them' is always violent; 'us' is always faithful, 'them' is always infidel. The crime of 'them' is by virtue of birth: not to be born among 'us'. ...Yet, it is strikingly puzzling, as to how we miss the obvious fact that, whether we happen to be anglo or negro, oriental or caucasian, male or female, tall or short, red hair or bald, beautiful or not beautiful, is completely independent from our wills. What makes me to be what I am, is due to circumstances all beyond my control. Then what is it there for 'us' to be proud of, and for 'them' to be ashamed of, when we had absolutely nothing to do with it?[!]
-Excerpt from "From Facts to Values: Certainty, Order, Balance and Their Universal Implications"
4. The Pierre Berton Interview, January 19/1965.
Zeshan Shahbaz is a researcher and freelance writer. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org