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Tomi UngererThe basic irrationality of racism is the assumption that there is a pure, unmixed race. Our own mix, as we may know it, may not be associated with color or origin. It may be due to events far back in history, to tribal or national origins that date back to over a thousand years or to the results of invasions and domination and to war. Mix goes back to Abraham and before Abraham, and from him to Issac and Ismael and onward. Mix goes back to Roman world domination and Roman roads and to Alexander and his expansionism. It goes back to the Celts and the Gauls, to all voyagers who left land to cross the seas, to the Mongol invasions of several lands, to the Crusades, to the movements of Christianity and Islam, to all of history. What has resulted is that in one way or another, we all come up “mixed.” We are Jew married to Christian, Italian married to Irish. We are Luo married to Kikuyu, Japanese married to Korean.

Obtaining a pure race grew into a unifying goal in Germany as Hitler came to power, lit by the mythology of a Wagner and fed by a need to dominate someone else. The German people were required through certifying family lists to show the purity (non-Jewish, non-Gypsy) of their roots. This became a manufactured Aryan history, based more on individuals’ desire for survival than on “pure” race. That goal turned into violence: the extinction of 6,000,000 individuals across Europe in the name of purity.

In the U.S. and Nigeria, in China and in England, in Portugal and in Canada, in India and in Iceland, in Hungary and in Japan, in Brazil and in Mexico, throughout the world, every day goals are similar:

Individuals want:
Food for oneself and one’s family
Shelter for one’s family and oneself
Work that does not destroy dignity
Security (from violence, war, crime)
Some sense of community.

These wants and our needs are human wants and human needs. We are not multiple; we are one (mixed) human race.

Dr. Anne Lippert is the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

image: Tomi Ungerer, “Black Power, White Power,” USA, 1967, 71.4 x 54.7 cm. (courtesy of the International Poster Gallery, Boston, Massachusetts, USA)

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