A Tiny Action in Honor of Martin Luther King

Today in 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.  May he rest peacefully in the arms of the ancestors.  In his honor and in the name of love, I am writing today about a tiny anti-racism action I’ve been taking for years.  But before I share, let me give you some background.

I am a Caucasian woman, almost thirty-nine years old.  I am adopted, so for most of my life I was raised as a mix of French Huguenot, Irish, Hungarian and Scandinavian.  When I met my birth family in my late twenties I learned that my blood lines are English, Scottish, Italian, and Scandinavian.

My family is inter-racial.  My younger sister was adopted from Korea.  My Aunt and some cousins are African-American.  I was raised to ignore race.  No, ignore isn’t right, because to ignore you have to notice first, then discard; and while I do still notice skin color, I do so in the same spirit that I notice hair color.  My folks taught us instead to engage with the content of a person’s character, and in our interactions with others to come from a place of congruence.  We are, after all, each and every one of us, human.

Which brings me to my tiny action: When asked to provide my “race” or “racial background” I simply respond, “Other — Human.”

I do this on surveys I answer, on the U.S. Census, on anything that asks me this question.  At a minimum I’m hoping my action will make some graduate student deep in Census statistics smile; and I do intend to do my research and see if others have responded similarly.  But when I am honest with myself, it’s a maximum hope I’m after.  What if we all simply refused to be self-categorized by race?  What if slowly, grassroots style, we removed race as a distinguishing classification in government studies, in university studies, in marketing studies?

Yes, this may be naive.  And perhaps it is important to still make these distinctions for various enterprises.  In my doctor’s office, for example, I’m guessing blood lines may matter.  Perhaps we do need to isolate racial groups in some studies to identify disparities.  And I am not suggesting that we let go of rich cultural heritages — only that we no longer allow an outward entity to pigeon-hole us by this absurd classification.  After all, my sister is racially Korean, but culturally, she’s a melting pot.  In the end, it seems simple to me — we overcome the detriments of parsing out race by refusing to do that parsing.

But, as I’ve said, I’m Caucasian.  I am also a woman, so I have an inkling of what it’s like to be in a minority, but in America skin color still trumps all.  So this means that no matter the anti-racial views held by me or my family, I have enjoyed privilege in America.  Because of this, and because we can’t often see through our own hegemony, I am curious to know what others think of this idea.  Is it important to classify by race or is this classification part of the problem?  Has anyone else responded to the racial question with the classification: “Other — Human?”

Finally, because WordPress makes it so easy and because it’s Poetry Month and for my two cents lyrics count, I’m going to close by sharing a Buju Banton tune.  After Jerry Garcia died and The Dead stopped touring, my best friend and I found solace in live reggae shows.  Often we were the only Caucasians present and we’d always get some looks until, that is, the music started.  Then everyone could see we were dancing from within.

There is something about music that makes me believe tiny actions such as refusing to be classified by race do matter and can make a difference.  Whether you agree or not, please do take a moment today to listen to the music you love.  That action will most certainly add to the good, the peace and the understanding in our world.

© Jennifer S. and harvestliberty.net, 2012.


15 thoughts on “A Tiny Action in Honor of Martin Luther King

  1. Ive never answered “other…Human” but I believe I shall start, and thank you for reminding me to listen to my favorite music and have joy… ❤


    1. So until I am in a position to halt the addition of the racial background question on a questionnaire, what is there in my power to do except refuse to answer while simultaneously redirecting the entity asking to the narrowness of their thinking?


  2. We all are of the human race, except for racist, and on some days I am guilty of being a racist. The mere fact that ANY form asks a human what his/her race is in itself racist and insulting to me. When confronted with that question on forms, I write in “none of your business”. But I’m evil like that. Very good posy, I will be reblogging this.


    1. I used to do “Prefer Not to Answer,” but then that never seemed strong enough for my feelings about, as you say, being asked the question to begin with. Since they’re going to keep asking, I decided the only way to protest was in how I answered. Then I thought maybe I’m not alone in this decision, and wouldn’t it be cool if suddenly statisticians had to deal with this crazy new Human demographic; and then the people who use stats like politicians in their speeches would have to start talking about the ever growing human demographic . . . .


  3. Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat.Com™ and commented:
    We all are of the human race, except for racist, and on some days I am guilty of being a racist. The mere fact that ANY form asks a human what his/her race is in itself racist and insulting to me. When confronted with that question on forms, I write in “none of your business”. But I’m evil like that. Very good posy, I will be reblogging this.


  4. When we are thinking about race and about people who were martyred while fighting for basic dignity and human rights, it is always appropriate to listen to someone who calls in one of his very popular songs, “Boom Bye Bye,” for gay men to be shot in the head, shot with an Uzi, have acid splashed on them and then to be burned like an old tire or necklaced.


    1. Hi Sam, I am heterosexual, but have friends who are homosexual and I wondered if they would be the ones to bring this up; wondered if I should have brought it up, or not put the song up in the first place — perhaps I did misjudge. Thank you for raising the issue. I find the paradox of Buju Banton interesting to say the least — how can those two songs come from the same artist? In the end I tend to take what I need and leave the rest. And if it helps, Buju is now in jail! Thanks again — it’s this hard stuff from which we learn and you’ve got me thinking today.


  5. Races are subspecies. They are new species in the making. They are evolution that is happening right now. Racial differentiation is part of the branching of life — in fact, it IS the branching of life. Racial differentiation is how God makes new species. So recognizing that your race is special and has its own path is a recognition of Nature and of God.

    The “we’re all the same race” ideology is profoundly anti-life and anti-evolution and anti-Nature.


    1. Fascinating viewpoint. In the end though, for me, what demands celebration is God’s amazing process of evolution that produces such wondrous diversity, not only in human beings, but in every other species present here. What is limiting is man’s classification, the imposition of a static judgment on a fluid and perpetual process. And yes, man is part and parcel of Nature, so our drive to classify isn’t innately flawed, any more than the drive of a beaver to build a dam. However, if we are to truly embrace evolution, we must accept that eventually our current classification system will no longer apply. After all, last I checked, humans are having babies cross sub-racially every day. So by all means dance down whatever path celebrates what you find special and unique about you. But seek not to judge one of God’s creatures as more special than another.


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