Unlearning race


Self Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race by Thomas Chatterton Williams is different. Different in that I have never come across a similar story, and that his argument is thoughtful and highly controversial.Imagine growing up Black in America, attaching a lot of your identity to your race, then seeing your newborn blonde hair blue eyed baby. You are the father, and everything that you thought you knew about race goes out the window.I found that trippy as a reader, and Williams has actually navigated that experience in his life. His powerful reflections show a man transformed into someone that he never could have imagined: a man that no longer gives meaning to race. No one has to completely agree with Williams on this. However, I found it valuable to engage with a thoughtful person who challenged my perspective and beliefs.  Here are my notes and quotes:

“Presumptions to be skeptical of:

  • One’s inner sense of self ought to derive from and even be held hostage by the ignorance or mistaken thinking of those with whom one is fated to be neighbors
  • A flawed paradigm cannot be reimagined and shifted in the future simply because we are dealing with its practical consequences as they exist today.”

\”The United States participates in a unique form of racism. We all buy into the essentialism of the color of our skin, don’t question it, and don’t attempt to transcend its boundaries, even though no one chooses these things at birth\”“I am human, therefore nothing human is alien to me” – TerenceWe all contain multitudes

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