Sunday, August 9, 2009

I Don't Join

It's the time of the year when young cousins are asking me which fraternity or sorority they should pledge.
But I can never give them an answer.
I've never been a member of any group that is set up to exclude others - or which assumes itself
as the standard bearer for any given group.
Sure, everyone says that this isn't the goal of such groups, that their intentions are to further the individual by taking advantage of the existing group's resources.
But I've never seen it this way.

Many in my father's paternal family often thought of themselves as "Better than Black".
When asked of their race, "Creole" was often the answer.
(Since most had been from families that had been free, even before the United States became a nation, many were able to establish some sort of wealth.)
To this day, I still roll my eyes and mock those who take this stance.

But what I've noticed, more often than not, is that it is usually those who've married into the family that take this point of view.
It's usually those who feel that they've missed out on the benefits of having a real sense of their culture.
(Or really, those who have a sense of their culture as being inferior.)

But I can't get with this.
Most of these people assume themselves as inferior and imagine any similitude with "White" as being superior.
But my mother was half Indian and half Mexican (whatever that is).
Like the "White Australia" policy dealing with Aboriginal Australians, my mother and her siblings were forced to take part in the assimilation and acculturation of Native Americans.
Her childhood was spent in boarding schools and academies.
But as these programs were utter and complete failures, the American government abandoned them with great celerity.

If I said that I don't aspire to greatness - that would be a lie.
All I'm saying is that I don't aspire to oppress others or to dictate their way of life.
As we should have learned from prior failures; different people are just different.


FreeMan said...

7 deadly sins was missing one because exclusion is another that is exercised. The whole idea of secret handshakes lets you know it's exclusionary but they don't like to say that.

brohammas said...

exclusivity and racism are not that far seperated, if at all.