is the direct result of American slavery.

What do I even write after such a statement? Where do I even begin.

It will, perhaps, forever astound me how black people, no matter the nation, remain at the bottom of the human ladder. How much reading must I do to discover the origin? Many these days point to 1619, the year kidnapped Africans were first allegedly brought to North America. I recently listened to a podcast where it was posited that Africans were prized as slaves because they had what is now called the sickle cell gene, capable of protecting them from malaria and perhaps other diseases that wiped out Native Americans. I don’t know if the timelines match; I’m just throwing out ideas.

Did racism lead to slavery or vice versa? Perhaps I don’t yet understand just how prevalent slavery was long ago. Perhaps the pain still surrounding this past is a result of our proximity or even a result of the growing awareness that the clique-ish nature of humans is no longer necessary to survive.

Back when I was neck-deep in the black conscious movement, I believed this problem was a spiritual ordeal, that black people possessed an energy, via melanin perhaps, that aligned them with the universe in a way absent from white people. I believed maybe nonwhite nonblack people possessed a little bit of this energy the browner they were. I even thought Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, may her spirit be where it must be, was right. She theorized, in her beautifully written collection of papers, The Isis Papers, that white people were the genetically mutated albino offspring of black people, cast away by their mothers and fathers as abnormal freaks unworthy of love, and that racism was essentially revenge for that rejection.

And, hey, some or all of this could be true. What do I know. But more and more, I question. I grow further away from the generalized “good” and “evil” and seek understanding of the complexity that is human and the ways in which we are all similar. By doing this, I think I’ll learn to understand differences better. And maybe I’ll even learn to weave the bits of truth that exist in all theories into a tapestry large enough to cover time. At the very least, the attempt is worth it.

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