Charlottesville and Race—The Illusion that is Real
Like the rest of America the Unpaid Labor Project has been listening to the "discussion" surrounding Charlottesville. Some say this is the beginning of a new American Civil War. Some say this is the continuation of the civil war that never ended. Trump piles in. Politicians pile in. Activists pile in. Pastors and priests and rabbis and imams pile in. Blacks and Whites and Browns pile in. In no uncertain terms, our favorite owners of the 24-hour news cycle and social media swiftly tell us what to think. Some of it has even been constructive.
In all that we’ve heard, there appears to be a central organizing theme. That is the theme of race. That doesn’t surprise us. It has dogged our nation’s steps from the beginning in 1776. It dogged our steps for 169 years before the nation began. It is so powerful that its impacts have literally dominated the national stage for all of our national life. It’s the water that we all swim in. BUT IT’S AN ILLUSION!
In America, it’s the false idea that whites are superior and that blacks are inferior. It is the way the Unpaid Labor System known as racial slavery was justified. Although racial slavery ended in 1865, the false idea of race did not change and it remains with us today. Today it’s the lens through which blacks and whites view themselves and the disparities between them regarding income, health outcomes, education, housing, policing and politics. In that respect, it is an illusion that is very, very real.
The fact that the idea of race is an illusion raises a question. How can the illusion of race be so powerful that it affects everything and everybody for hundreds of years? The power is in the fact that the illusion is believed! From there, almost anything may be justified as racial slavery was and as racial discrimination is.
The Unpaid Labor Project proposes a better idea. Use the truth of our nation’s history before and after it began to tell the story of Unpaid Labor Contribution. And in telling that story, abolish the false idea of race in our nation’s history that continues with us today. Almost a year before Charlottesville, we touched on this theme in an article entitled Race in America--The Illusion that is Real. We think that it’s worth revisiting.