A Human Disconnect
The first thing that I do before each semester begins is to look at my class roster. The more last names that I can’t pronounce causes me to be happy. However, if I can’t pronounce both the first and last names, I am delighted. The diversity of the class’ ethnic background provides me with a better teaching modality.
I’m finishing up a world religions survey class, which consisted of a couple of months addressing various religions. By this time in the semester, the class has become used to several of my mantras. One is that there is a disconnect between what religions say and what they do. Additionally, all faiths have been negatively affected by their disconnect with reality.
Case in point. Rakhmatjon is one of my students. I can’t pronounce either his first or last name. In an attempt to be funny, I call him, Rak, which I can pronounce. Actually, he is the first student in all the years that I have ever taught that was from Uzbekistan.
Last week, Rak posted an essay about a religion and mentioned the issue of sexism, which is another of my mantras. He said that men tend to discriminate against females, which is because of male insecurities. Talk about being spot-on.
Rak’s insight was accurate. I have long said that religions can talk the talk but often cannot walk the walk. They discriminate against women as well as people of different ethnic backgrounds. I see no difference between sexism and racism—their status is based upon their birth, which is second class or less.
Finally, another of my litany of mantras is that if a discriminated group, regardless of sex or race, the person or group wants to stop being discriminated against, that group will have to start protesting and not wait for some white liberals to start it protesting for them. White liberals didn’t start the civil rights, nor did men start the feminist movements.
Therefore, if all religions suffer from the disconnect with reality, religions merely reflect humankind. The person’s religion is secondary to that human mindset. The disconnect is a societal one. Whether the issue is racism or sexism, it remains a cultural anathema.
Charlie Rose interviewed Toni Morrison over a quarter-century ago. The following is a short section addressing racism. While sexism wasn’t mentioned per se, what Morrison said about racism parallels sexism. Essentially, both -isms are identical.
When I listened to that interview years ago, these two lines stood out for me. Morrison verbalized the truth, “If you can only be tall because someone else is on their knees, then you have serious problem. And white people have a very, very serious problem.”
Tragically, little did anyone imagine that Morrison’s insight a quarter-century ago would be seen so vividly, especially today. When will America admit to its systematic racism? White supremacy is de facto white inferiority. Morrison encapsulates what racists don’t accept. She is a female, a black female.
Along with Morrison, one other social activist came to mine. Gilgamesh. He was in quest of immortality.
Regardless, he realized that physical immortality isn’t possible. Nonetheless, one can achieve immortality by doing what is correct and noble. In that way, a person will have immortality of being remembered. An individual doing wrong and ignoble things get immortality for being despicable.
Toni Morrison obtained positive immortality after her death in 2019.
Derek Chauvin achieved two things. As Morrison put it, “If you can only be tall because someone else is on their knees, then you have serious problem. And white people have a very, very serious problem.”
Chauvin stood tall for 9-minutes and 29-seconds. However, Chauvin obtained negative immortality by killing George Floyd.
This is NBC’s video remembering Toni Morrison after her death in 2019.
This is the entire video of Charlie Rose’s interview with Toni Morrison.