- Jan 19, 2014
I see where you're coming from. I see a lot of non-Americans express confusion at the heavy emphasis on race here in America, and I have to say it is pretty baffling. The whole thing's rooted in history, really. Race, as most Americans know it, didn't get all that much attention for a very long time in human history. Most conflicts were, and still are, cultural-based rather than racial. There's still a tone of "You're different from me, and thus inferior" to both sets of ideals.Jandau said:Snip
But anyway, the heavy emphasis of race really started to emerge during colonial times, in colonial countries like Spain and Britain. And really, it was originally a cultural conflict in and of itself - the Spanish wanted to bring God to the Incas, the British wanted to civilize the Native American "savages." They didn't focus so much on their race, but that these people had a culture that was different - and to the colonials, that made them inferior. However, since said cultures were mostly confined to different races - white people had European culture, Incas had Incan culture, so on and so forth - the lines between "culture" and "race" became sort of blurry between generations. Those cultures started to interact and merge and people of both races would be born into what was effectively the same culture. But they'd still remember and be taught they're parents' prejudices against the other race, and since it was now a person's skintone that was more "other" than anything else about them... well, that's what people latched onto.
So... it's kinda like the reasons behind racism (If you could even call them reasons in the first place) have been lost, but people still kept that prejudice because, well, that's the way things are. They don't question it anymore. Even though the cultures that originally caused the conflict are long-gone or warped beyond recognition... And really, cultural conflicts aren't unheard of, either. I had a friend once who's dad would tell stories about how he immigrated from Ireland and had to put up with a lot of shit for that, despite being white as can be.
And yeah, it's a bit self-perpetuating, how people tired of being put in boxes respond by... putting other people in boxes. It's a big problem I have with American activists. They seem unable to comprehend that other parts of the world do things differently - that by dragging their baggage out of the country, they might be doing more harm than good, and spreading the very attitude they want to combat. After all, America's screwed-up history with race and racism has got nothing to do with you or Croatia. You don't even possibly benefit from it, as a white Non-American who recently moved to America might. But you might get blamed for it all the same, because in America people see things along a racial axis rather than a cultural one. A by-product of being a cultural melting pot, I guess.
But anyway... that's my take on it. Sorry for the long post.