“It’s really all still Mexico”

          “It’s really all still Mexico” interrupted a man when I claimed that the border between the United States of America and the United Mexican States is arbitrary and quite void of significance. His statement and the accompanying sentiment feel incongruous with a logical approach to the history of North America in the past 500 years.
          In stating that the border is arbitrary and void of true meaning, I am taking the (somewhat) long view of history, not stopping at the history of the past 150 or so years. The man who claimed that “California, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and other areas are really still part of Mexico” is forgetting many important facts. Most importantly, even during the time (1846-1848) when the USA and UMS were at war over Texas and other territories, the native tribes (or First Nations) of the areas being fought over did not recognize the claims of sovereignty over the land of either the Americans or the Mexicans. The Shoshone are an important example of this, led by the great Chief Pocatello, they never viewed themselves as subjects of the Spanish Crown nor as Mexicans; their territory being shown on paper maps as being ruled from Mexico City notwithstanding.
            It is important to remember that Mexicans, and every other extant, internationally recognized nationality in the Americas, are not the indigenous (or first) nationalities. The indigenous nationalities of the Americas remain extant in the form of semi-sovereign tribes with allocated land located within the national boundaries of Canada, The USA, Brazil, and possibly other countries. Then there are groups of people who have an identity, a language, a culture, a religion, or other defining characteristic which sets them apart from the mainstream, dominant culture of their country. If that identity, language, culture, religion, etc. predates the arrival of Christopher Columbus, I would say that those people are participating in the indigenous survivance movements of The Americas. Those who participate in indigenous survivance in the modern-day Mexican territory are landless, and therefore their continued survivance is more precarious than that of the White Mountain Apache, for example. It is my view that the lack of land reserves for the people who practice indigenous survivance in the UMS is unfortunate. I knew a Mexican man, Carlos Balleza, who would rather the practitioners of indigenous survivance in areas such as the Mexican State of Chiapas give up their ways and assimilate into mainstream Mexican (Hispanic) culture. On this topic, I find it derogatory to refer to all the people living in the UMS as “Hispanics”. It is an obvious attempt to coverup and erase the distinct identities cultures which predate Christopher Columbus, replacing them with the Hispanic identity and culture. Doing so is tantamount to calling every person in the USA (excluding foreign visitors) “Anglo” or “Anglo-Saxon”.
           Many, if not most, of the nations we know today are the direct result of European conquest and settlement; and they are the direct successor states to the European Empires. The United States were “The British Crown Colonies in America” before they declared (in 1776) themselves to be a collection of sovereign states, and won (in 1783) their independence of the British Crown. In the exact same sense, there was no polity in the world called “Mexico” before 1810 (declared) or 1821 (won). There was a city, the former Tenochtitlan, named Mexico by the Spanish, and it served as the capital of the Spanish Viceroyalty of New Spain. This vast viceroyalty included more territory than Mexico ever has, controlling the territory of some of the modern Central American countries, in addition to the only modern nation to be named in honor of a Spanish monarch, The Philippines. However, both the USA and UMS took their post-independence shapes by assuming control of the land which had been claimed by the British and Spanish, respectively. In this way, when my former classmate made his claim, he is (probably unwittingly) granting legitimacy to Spanish (specifically) and European (in general) ideas of hegemony over and superiority to the native nations which predate European arrival in America (The Americas). I would have explained this to my former classmate, had our conversation been allowed to continue.
          Everyone who feels very strongly one way or the other about the current location of the USA-UMS border needs to take a deep breath and relax. They all need to recall that both countries are the successor states to European Empires, and as such, out of respect for The Shoshone and other native nations, they should give up feeling strongly that the border “is where it ought to be” or that it “should be elsewhere” or as my former classmate said, that “[the modern southwest of the USA] is really all still Mexico (he began to justify his claim by saying that the SW USA has “a lot of Hispanics”).” In addition, to those who lament that Mexico City no longer controls a territory as vast as it once (at least on paper maps) did, I submit the case of the shifting borders in South America. The issue of whether the Mexican-American War was “justified” (is there such a thing as a “just war”?) notwithstanding, the same border-shifting wars took place in the southern half of the American Continent. Bolivia, currently a landlocked country, had territory along the Pacific Coast after its independence from Spain. It retained this territory before it was “taken away” (Stolen? Won?) by Chile during negotiations to end the war between the two formerly Spanish (but still Hispanic?) countries. These things happen with a high degree of frequency throughout recorded history. Nations are founded, dependencies (colonies) break away, a militarily powerful nation conquers and annexes a militarily vulnerable nation, nations squabble over access to resources and coasts (resulting in border shifts when the peace treaty is signed), etc. It is in the nature of human civilization that borders shift and their location is contentious to those who feel “patriotic pride” toward one nation or the other.

A Critical Analysis of “Brown Girl in the Ring” by Nalo Hopkinson

A Critical Analysis of Nalo Hopkinson’s Brown Girl in the Ring

“I want to know everything, I want to be everywhere, I want to fuck everyone in the world, I want to do something that matters!” – (Reznor)

This novel touches upon the universal human desire to do something that matters, to do something above and beyond the realm of normal human existence.  Hopkinson uses the speculative fiction/fantastic genre to bring the legends and traditions of west African indigenous beliefs, as they exist in the diasporic communities of The Caribbean and other regions of the American continent, to life.  The protagonist, Ti-Jeanne, must overcome many fantastic obstacles involving various spirit-world beings on her way to becoming her grandmother’s successor as community healer.  My way of doing something that matters in this short life of mine is to contribute the propagation of the knowledge that many of the beliefs expressed in this novel are absolute nonsense and serve only to artificially divide our young species.

The first indication of the origin of the fantastic/supernatural traditions detailed in this novel appear in Chapter Two:

Tony had once teased Ti-Jeanne almost to tears about her grandmother: “What’s that crazy old woman doing over there in Riverdale Farm, eh, Ti-Jeanne?  Obeah?  Nobody believes in that duppy business any more!” (Hopkinson 36)

According to an article published by the University of Miami, “Modern historians believe that Obeah originated from the Ashanti or Koromantin tribes of Africa on the Gold Coast, and that imported slaves introduced it to the Caribbean as early as the 17th century.” (Giraldo)  This proves that the main characters of the novel, Mami Gros-Jeanne, Rudy, Mi-Jeanne, and Ti-Jeanne, are practitioners of a culture that is indigenous to a small part of the west coast of Africa but not to the Caribbean, nor to the city of Toronto.  This work of sf should therefore not be considered a work of indigenous science fiction, regardless of whether or not Nalo Hopkinson has or acknowledges having Taíno ancestors.  This work is rightly classified as diasporic sf, since to classify the Ashanti/Koromantin culture as it is practiced by descendants of those people as indigenous to the Caribbean would mean that in the interest of consistency, all contemporary cultures of north and south America and the Caribbean ought to be thought of as being indigenous.  The Portuguese language and Roman Catholicism must then be considered indigenous to the part of South America in which that language and religion dominate, the Mexican people, culture and way of life in the form of speaking Spanish and worshipping the Virgin Mary should be considered indigenous to the modern-day country of Mexico, and so on.  Not only are those clearly preposterous propositions, but the idea of people practicing cultures based on those of Afro-Eurasian cultures in the so-called “New World” being considered “indigenous” to America very much disrespects the first inhabitants of the Caribbean region (The Taíno), as well as every other once-sovereign nation in America such as the Iroquois, the Shoshone, and the Mayan, Aztec, and Incan Empires (to name just a few).

The concept of “indigeneity” and the idea that there are several human “races” are complete balderdash, or as Mami Gros-Jeanne would say, “stupidness” (Hopkinson 150).  Some examples of the foolish belief in this “stupidness” are:

“Is true,” Mami told her.  “Prince of Cemetery promise that when you walk out this door, he go hide your living body halfway between here and Guinea Land.  That way nobody go see you.”  “Guinea Land?”  “Every time a African die,” Mami intoned, “them spirit does fly away to Guinea Land.  Is the other world, the spirit world.” (Hopkinson 104)

Crapaud continued, “One day I leaving here, you hear me?  Going out to the ‘burbs to find a rich White woman to keep me.  Rudy and he posse shit get to be too weird sometimes.” (Hopkinson 112)

“Now, doux-doux,” Mami said, “to start off, it have eight names you must know.”  She ticked them off on her fingers.  “Shango, Ogun, Osain, Shakpana, Emanjah, Oshun, Oya, and Eshu.”  Ti-Jeanne tried to memorise the sounds.  “And explain to me exactly what them is, Mami.”  “The African powers, child.  The spirits.  The loas.  The orishas.  The oldest ancestors.  You will hear people from Haiti and Cuba and Brazil and so call them different names.  You will even hear some names I ain’t tell you, but we all mean the same thing.  Them is the ones who does carry we prayers to God Father, for he too busy to listen to every single one of we on earth talking at he all the time.  Each of we have a special one who is we father or mother, and no matter what we call it, whether Shango or Santería or Voudun or what, we all doing the same thing.  Serving the spirits.” (Hopkinson 126)

Every time an African dies?  Seriously?  Mami is an incredibly ignorant and small-minded character.  Is she really unaware that Africa is a hugely diverse continent with a multitude of religions who do not believe in a place called Guinea Land?  Is she not aware that the location of one’s birth is arbitrary?  Is she not aware that she is not an African?  Does she honestly believe that a person born and raised in Ceuta, Spain will go to Guinea Land after death whilst another person born and raised 19 miles away in Algeciras, Spain will go some other “Land” after death?  Valhalla, perhaps?  Stupidness.

First problem, the word “white” is an adjective, not a proper noun, and should therefore never have its initial letter capitalized (with the exception of when it is used as a surname).  That the author would capitalize the initial letter of the word tells me that she holds the erroneous belief that human “race” is a real thing, and that there is a “race” of people called “White”.

Here we go again with the reference to Africa, this time it’s the “powers, child”.  Mami Gros-Jeanne/Nalo Hopkinson’s belief in powers that are unique to the African continent is easily shown to be complete bunk by pointing to a map and asking if there could really be an imperceptible barrier somewhere in the 45 miles of sea separating Fagal, Djibouti from Al Bahiyah, Yemen which would prevent “African powers” from having any ability to affect life in “Asia”.  Mami Gros-Jeanne/Nalo Hopkinson clearly have no idea who the “oldest ancestors” really are; and anyone who believes that their ancestors help to define them and make them unique when compared to other humans, are severely lacking in knowledge.  The knowledge to refute these antiquated, quaint, incorrect, asinine, absurd, half-witted, idiotic beliefs is contained in the words of the world’s foremost astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson.  Before I get into that though, I need to point out that we need not leave this island to find a professional scholar who knows that “race” is a myth.  Dr. Sheryl Shook, a neuroscientist at Kapi’olani Community College, has given me permission in an e-mail to quote her as stating that “Yes, I believe that the concept of race is a myth.  It is not biological.  It is a social construct.”

Both neuroscientist Sheryl Shook and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson are believers in the scientific method: “Test ideas by experiment and observation.  Build on those ideas that pass the test.  Reject the ones that fail.  Follow the evidence wherever it leads, and question everything.” (Druyan)  To say that “indigenous” science has value is to say that superstition, that irrationality, has value.  I side with Doctors Shook and Tyson in rejecting superstition in favor of what is found to be true using the scientific method (which is the science of the rational mind, not of the “West”, “East”, “Far West”, “Far East”, “Middle East”, “Middle West”, or any other superficial geographic appellation).

Giordano Bruno said of a dream he had wherein it was revealed to him that the universe is indeed infinite:

I spread confident wings to space and soared toward the infinite, leaving far behind me what others [The Gros/Mi/Ti-Jeanne women] strained to see from a distance.  Here, there was no up, nor down, no edge, no center.  I saw that the sun was just another star and the stars were other suns, each escorted by other earths like our own.  The revelation of this immensity was like falling in love. (Druyan)

Later, Giordano Bruno visits London and addresses a (supposedly) enlightened and educated gathering by saying:

I beg you, reject antiquity, tradition, faith, and authority.  Let us begin anew by doubting everything we assume has been proven.  Your God is too small. (Druyan)

It seems to me that almost as many people (as a percentage of the total population) in the 21st century CE are in dire need of heeding Giordano’s 16th century CE call as were in need of heeding the call then (nearly 100%).  Neil informs the ignorant masses regarding the beginning of existence itself and other discoveries made using the scientific method:

Our entire universe emerged from a point smaller than a single atom.  Space itself exploded in a cosmic fire, launching the expansion of the universe, and giving birth to all the energy and all the matter we know today. … A supernova: the blazing death of a giant star.  Stars die, and are born [again] … they condense like raindrops from giant clouds of gas and dust.  They get so hot that the nuclei of the atoms fuse together deep within them to make the oxygen we breathe, the carbon in our muscles, the calcium in our bones, the iron in our blood, all of it was cooked in the fiery hearts of long-vanished stars.  You, me, everyone, we are made of star stuff. (Druyan)

To me, this knowledge is sufficient to blast all superstitious, randomly invented beliefs into utter and complete irrelevance, beliefs such as the existence of human races, spirits who tend to the needs of the souls of “Africans” exclusively, the existence of Guinea Land, etc.  However, the reader may not yet be convinced.  Neil helps us conceptualize the vastness of the time which has elapsed since the beginning of existence (as we know it) by telling us to imagine a cosmic calendar in which midnight of January 1st is the beginning of time and midnight of December 31st is the present moment in time.

Life began somewhere in a place like this [a tidal pool] … three and a half billion years ago.  We still don’t know how life got started.  For all we know, it may have come from another part of the Milky Way.  The origin of life is one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of science. … By November 9th [on the cosmic calendar] life was breathing, moving.  We owe a lot to those pioneering microbes … they also invented sex. … For more than a hundred million years, dinosaurs were lords of the earth while our ancestors, small mammals, scurried fearfully underfoot. … We humans only evolved within the last hour of the last day of the cosmic year. … All of recorded history occupies only the last 14 seconds; all those kings and battles, migrations and inventions, wars and loves, and everything in the history books happened … in the last seconds of the cosmic calendar. … We are newcomers to the cosmos.  Our own story only begins on the last night of the cosmic year.  It’s 9:45 on New Year’s Eve, three and a half million years ago.  Our ancestors, yours and mine, parted ways from them [quadrupeds].  Once we stood up, our eyes were no longer fixated on the ground, now we were free to look up and wonder. … For the longest part of human existence, say, the last 40 thousand generations, we were wanderers, living in small bands of hunters and gatherers, making tools, controlling fire, naming things, all within the last hour on the cosmic calendar. … Moses was born 7 seconds ago, Buddha, 6 seconds ago, Jesus, 5 seconds ago, Muhammad ﷺ, 3 seconds ago. … It was only in the last second that we began to use science to reveal nature and her laws.  The scientific method is so powerful that in a mere four centuries, it has taken us from Galileo’s first look through a telescope at another world to leaving our footprints on the moon. (Druyan)

Allyou who love to take pride in who your ancestors were and where they were from, perhaps even glorifying their names and worshipping them as Gods, what is the limit on how many generations back you are willing to go?  It is likely that allyou don’t have a specific number in mind, say, 500 generations as the maximum.  Or perhaps allyou pretend allyou are able to trace your heritage back to the mythological “first man” named Adam.  Y’all need to internalize the indisputable truth: we are all descended from quadruped mammals, and before them some microbes having sex with one another in a tide pool.  From this vantage point, it is extremely laughable to propose that the extremely slight variations in appearance which appear among members of our species means that we consist of various “races” and that certain individual people and couples having sex with each other can be labelled “multi-racial” or “inter-racial”.  I am certain that our microbial and quadrupedal ancestors did not discriminate when choosing with whom they were going to mate.  It follows, then, that it is an unnatural predilection of some humans to look for a mate exclusively within what they perceive to be a human “race” among many other human “races”.  “It is a social construct”, as Dr. Shook has said, “a myth”.  The idea that any one group of people is “indigenous” to a division of the earth’s land while other people are not is therefore utterly and forever destroyed.  The land simply is; and the descendants of the people who arrived there first and began to establish a culture that we may or may not associate with that particular piece of earth today have no greater right to the land and its resources than anyone else.  No piece of land is intrinsic of and to a group of people, their emotional attachment and ancestor deification notwithstanding.  The settlement of the land and the movement of people from place to place, and the selection of mates, was completely arbitrary as our species colonized the earth’s land masses.

A popular YouTube and television personality, Adam Conover, dispels the popular myth of “pure breed” dogs in a way that I believe is a very apt metaphor for the popular myth of human “races”.

Not only are so-called “pure bred” dogs riddled with disease, but dog breeds aren’t even a real thing; we made them up!  We talk about dog breeds as though nature created them that way, and as though every mutt were just a mix of different pure breeds. … In fact, mutts are dogs in their natural, healthy states, and pure breeding is a form of genetic manipulation humans made up just to amuse ourselves. … In 19th century Victorian England, eugenics was all the rage and competitive dog breeding became a fad among the wealthy. … [two actors converse] Man: “I made a dog with really loose skin.”  Woman: “Well I made one with a super-flat, fucked-up face.”  Man: “Wow, that is super weird.”  Woman: “Isn’t it stupid?”  Adam: “After these Dr. Frankensteins had played God for a little while, they declare their weird little monster a “pure breed””.  Mad scientist: “Behold my newest creation, the corgi.”  Adam: And that’s all a pure bred dog is, it’s totally arbitrary.”  Adam’s lady friend: “Hey, the pure breed, that means like a good healthy dog.”  Adam: “Haha, nope.  When you hear “pure bred”, you should think “inbred”.  [Purebred = Inbred]  Kennel clubs prohibit purebred dogs from ever mating outside their breed, and often, mate them with their own parents and siblings. … One study found that ten thousand pugs had the same genetic diversity as 50 individuals, making this little guy [shows pug], as inbred as an Austrian duke.”  Duke: “My blood is very pure.” (collapses)  Adam: “All of this inbreeding means that the average pure bred dog is sicker than, well, a dog.  60% of Golden Retrievers die of cancer, a third of King Charles’ Spaniels have skulls that are too small for their brains, Great Danes are so huge that their hearts can’t support their bodies … Look, there’s an easy solution, when you get a dog, don’t worry about what “breed” it is, just go to your local shelter and get yourself a little puppy mutt.  He’ll be happy, healthy, and 100% all-natural dog.” (CollegeHumor)

My late paternal grandmother, whom I called Farmor (lit. Father’s mother in Swedish), once said to me in a conversation on this topic “People back in Sweden saw my marriage to your grandfather as a “mixed marriage” because I am a Swede and he identifies his ancestors as having been “Scotch-Irish”.”  It’s amazing, the level of nativism that is necessary for my grandmother’s friends in Stockholm to make such a statement.  A sentiment and way of thinking that is complete nonsense when one zooms out, takes several steps back, and sees the whole picture as Neil does.  Based on the College Humor video transcribed above, I say “Look, when you choose a mate, don’t worry about what “race” it is, just go to your local singles meeting spot and get yourself a local hottie.  Your children are more likely to be happy, healthy, and 100% all-natural human.”

Works Cited

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. By Ann Druyan. Dir. Brannon Braga. Perf. Neil deGrasse Tyson. Prod. Seth MacFarlane. 2014. Film. 03 08 2016.

Giraldo, Alexander. Obeah: The Ultimate Resistance. 02 08 2016. Web Site. 02 08 2016. <http://scholar.library.miami.edu/slaves/Religion/religion.html&gt;.

Hopkinson, Nalo. Brown Girl in the Ring. New York, NY: Warner Books, Inc., 1998.

Reznor, Trent. “I Do Not Want This.” The Downward Spiral. Los Ángeles, 1994. Compact Disc.

The Bizarre Truth About Purebred Dogs (and Why Mutts Are Better) – Adam Ruins Everything. Dir. CollegeHumor. Perf. Adam Conover. 2016. YouTube Video. <https://youtu.be/aCv10_WvGxo&gt;.

Reaction to “Act of War” Hawaiian Film

“Love of country is deep-seated in the breast of every Hawaiian, whatever his station.” -Queen Lili’uokalani

“If you tremble with indignation at every injustice, then you are a comrade of mine.”

– Ernesto “Che” Guevara

Throughout my two summer courses this year, this course alongside an English literature class surveying “Indigenous Science Fiction”, the adjectives I choose to describe myself have evolved.  I would now describe myself as a humanist and probable Marxist.  Ernesto Guevara is famous around the world for his life as a guerilla fighter and revolutionary, and his world view seems to align very closely with my own.  I have always been sensitive to every injustice I observe or otherwise become aware of, and have felt that I must intervene, whenever possible, on behalf of the thing against which an injustice has been done.  I am, then, very truly a comrade of Ernesto Guevara.

The movie Act of War stirred many emotions within my soul.  I have no problem with declaring that I am opposed to the U.S. government in its current form.  Countless FBI agents have tracked me down at home, at work, at domestic airports, and even in middle of Mexico City.  The encounters are different each time, but the overarching theme has always been intelligence gathering.  Because I have been very outspoken since at least 2005, when I was 21 years old, federal agents tell me to “explain” myself when they’ve come around with generally cordial attitudes.  When they’ve come with aggressive attitudes, they proceed to insult me and threaten me with extended prison terms, without trial, using the so-called Patriot Act to make such an action legal.  They are not honorable people, and I doubt that the FBI has ever had an honorable agent in their ranks.  They have, over the years, made it exceedingly clear that they consider me to be their enemy.  It would, therefore, seem all the more natural for me to side with Hawaiian revolutionaries if there ever is an armed revolution by Hawaiians against the U.S. federal government.

“The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe.  You have to make it fall.”

– Ernesto “Che” Guevara

Hindsight is 20/20, as they say.  Looking back on the events of January 1893 in Honolulu, Kingdom of Hawai’i, I believe that Queen Lili’uokalani should have reacted to the unauthorized landing of foreign troops on her lands as most monarchs would – by ordering her armies to engage and repel the invasion.  The organizers of the coup d’état should have been ordered arrested or, if they resisted arrest, killed.  Six of the organizers were Hawaiian nationals, according to the film, and they were therefore committing treason against their own monarch when they proclaimed their “Committee of Safety” and later their “Republic of Hawai’i”.  Of course now it is of little use, in the quest to see justice reign supreme, to merely talk about what could have been done differently during King Kalākaua’s reign or in January 1893.  It is August 2016 and the United States is very firmly in control of the Hawaiian Kingdom.  Act of War is an angry film, filled with indignant speeches by inspirational personalities, and at the end there seems to be a call to arms.  Well, where are Hawai’i’s patriotic sons and daughters?  Where is the revolution that is long overdue?  Since I am here in the occupied Kingdom of Hawai’i, and I would like to stay here, I would volunteer for the armed guerilla fighters of Hawai’i if such a group comes into existence any time soon.  Not only would I be absolutely sure that I am fighting on the side of justice, but I would have a pretty good chance of a restored monarch granting me full Hawaiian citizenship and nationality in recognition of my honorable service.  Fighting on the side of the Hawaiian revolutionary guerillas would also most assuredly greatly increase my odds of winning the heart of a beautiful Hawaiian puupaa wahine (who of course sympathizes with the revolutionaries and supports the revolution either secretly or openly).

“We cannot be sure of having something to live for unless we are willing to die for it.”

– Ernesto “Che” Guevara

Patriotic Hawaiians would die in a revolution against the United States federal government.  There is no doubt that the very same USN and USMC featured in the film would be used to suppress the revolution and the revolutionaries.  Of course the Hawaiian Kingdom would not have been able to withstand an armed assault by U.S. Armed Forces for more than a few days in 1893, something which Queen Lili’uokalani recognized, and today the situation is even more lopsided.  Hawaiian patriots would need to be trained in guerilla warfare tactics, presumably outside the (presently occupied) Hawaiian Kingdom, perhaps in China or Vietnam.  Open war by a uniformed Hawaiian Navy and Army would stand no chance of success and an almost 100% chance of martyrdom for everyone involved.

“He who controls the sea, controls everything.” – Themistocles

A newly liberated Hawaiian Kingdom would face many challenges, and experience much intense internal strife as her people adjust to their new reality.  With U.S. Armed Forces no longer in the islands, a huge military power vacuum would exist.  The Hawaiian Kingdom, being an archipelago, would need to focus on building a strong Navy and Coast Guard in order to ensure its continued independence and uncompromised sovereignty.  The prospect of gaining hegemony over the islands would be very alluring to western nations with large navies such as China.  A formidable Navy is the only way to discourage an annexation attempt by other nations.

Review of Albert Wendt’s novel Black Rainbow (Race is a Myth)

I vehemently disagree with many of Albert’s premises. He believes in the existence of race, but I believe that race is a concept which small-minded people cling to like a child to his blankey. And of course when I say blankey, I mean blanket. When I encounter people like Albert Wendt, Nalo Hopkinson, and Matthew Kaopio, people who are obsessed with keeping track of who their ancestors were and where their ancestors lived, I want to ask them to continue their ancestral line. When they say “my ancestors were so-and-so”, I want to say “fine, but who are the ancestors of those people? And who are the ancestors of those people? And who are the ancestors of those people?” And so on, until inevitably they admit that their line of ancestors disappear into the mists of antiquity, the same as mine do in the early to mid-1800s. Modern science proves that all human beings and indeed all life on this planet comes from one single point of origin. What some people refer to as race is merely the result of inbreeding. It is impossible that a person be considered one fifth this or one fourth that, when we all have a single point of origin. The same as dog breeds are a myth created in the human imagination, human race is a myth created in the human imagination. Dogs which have not been inbred are not “mutts”, or composed of various parts of inbred dogs. They are dogs in their natural state. It is the same for the human species. We are in our natural state when we procreate with those to whom we are attracted, without regard to an imaginary concept such as race. When a man procreates with a woman who does not look physically similar to him, it is not something called “interracial”, rather it is the coming together of distantly related cousins. Two people who inevitably have an ancestor in common, even if that ancestor lived 2000 or more years ago. To believe in race is to be as an ostrich with his head buried in the ground. I just did a Google image search for “ostrich with his head in the ground” and I found that that is a myth. However, I do believe that the analogy stands. People such as Hawaiʻi’s Dr. Sheryl Shook and Neil Degrasse Tyson are able to see the big picture, and know the truth of the matter. The truth, of course, is that we are all one and the same. We are all 100% human being, despite the fact that we have distinct cultures and languages.

I disagree with those who would say that one inbred group of human beings has a greater right to a piece of land than any other human being or group of inbred human beings. The concept of indigenity is logically unsound. Land itself is not a conscious entity, and it does not know the genetic makeup of those who are living upon it. To believe that any group of (inbred or not) humans has a “special connection” to the land is to believe in something which has no basis in reality.

I also grew frustrated with Albert Wendt’s suddenly switching topics from one paragraph to the next. I found myself cursing his random tangents, especially the sexual ones which contributed nothing to the plot. I argued out loud with the text, as if I could convince it that it was mistaken. For example, when he made reference to “otherworlders”, I said “no, you fool, we are all from the same world!” and “we are all one people!”

To move forward as a species, we must acknowledge our oneness, and eliminate the concept of race from our minds. We should not eliminate histories, as in Albert Wendt’s fictional Black Rainbow world, but we should recognize that the achievements of a particular time and place are things which all human beings can claim as their own, not only the descendants of the people of that particular time and place. The Pyramids at Giza are as much a part of my heritage as Stonehenge, Machu Picchu, and Angkor Wat. There is no “my people”, distinct from “your people”, distinct from “his people”. There is only one people. If humankind could grasp this, we would erase national identities and national borders, allowing for the free flow of people around the globe, as is natural. To rid ourselves of the plight of “nativism” would drastically reduce the occurrence of wars, as nobody would jealously covet “their people’s” land. I’m thinking of Japan as much as I’m thinking of Donald J. Trump. Switzerland as much as the Third Reich. The Vatican as much as The Islamic State.

Kind Regards,