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,

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