CBS News asked noted figures in the arts, business and politics about their experience in today’s civil rights movement, or about figures who inspired them in their activism.
Walter Mosley, author (the Easy Rawlins mysteries); winner, PEN America’s Lifetime Achievement Award
Walter Mosley / Marcia Wilson
What needs to happen in the next 50 years for equality to be fully realized in the U.S.?
Equality (which defines freedom in any society) is a complex issue that cannot be achieved by any one action. People who suffer inequality are in many categories, because of their sexual preference, age, nationality, religion, race, gender, politics, wealth (or lack thereof), infirmity, and/or simply for being different.
This being said, I will try to propose a suggestion for one solution that will definitely impact racial inequality and might possibly have ameliorating influence on the other prejudices.
The white race is a fiction created by aggressive colonization and slavery. In the colonies destined to become the United States, the European colonists found themselves pitted against the indigenous (red) people while enslaving Africans (blacks). In between these two colors, the white race was born, creating an antithetical identity that distinguished the supposed rightful owners from the slaves and (so-called) primitives. White was not a racial identifier in ancient Europe. In Britain alone, there was a plethora of races: Celts, Anglo-Saxons, Norse, Scots, Druids, and subgroups such as the Picts. There were as many races as there were languages in old Europe, but when colonization began, they founded an illusory identity where Christian men of European descent were called white regardless of their coloring, features or culture. Florid-faced, pale-skinned, olive-hued, and pink people of every size and build were called white people, and they still cling to that identity today.
If the members of the so-called white race dropped that fallacious appellation, racism in America (the United States) would be over. There is no race, just a whole bunch of people who look more or less alike.
So the next time someone asks you if you believe that we live in a post-racial world, say to them, “That depends, do you believe that you are white?”
Read the article on CBSNews.com.