Saturday, October 06, 2018

"Racism Can End"

There's a commentary by Ellen Reiss, the Chairman of Education, and editor of periodical The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known that is immensely important and needed in our time. She writes about the difference between the idea of racial "tolerance," and the true, exact, wide way of seeing that is needed for racism to end.

She writes, in part:
The big thing people have not known about racial prejudice is that it does not begin with race. It begins with the world itself, and how one sees the world. Race will never be understood and racial prejudice will not end until people can learn the following from Aesthetic Realism: 1) Race is an aspect of the aesthetic structure, the sameness-and-difference structure, of the world. This structure is what we see as we see two different things, ocean and sky, inextricably part of one horizon; as different words join together to make one sentence; as a tree’s trunk and leaves are different yet for each other, sweetly and powerfully coherent with each other. Whenever, Mr. Siegel showed, we see difference and sameness as one, we see beauty. 2) No person would be against people of a different race if that person were not against the biggest thing different from him: the world.
And later,
...for racism to end we have to be against the thing it begins with: contempt for the world itself. Further, racism won’t be effectively done away with unless it is replaced with something that has terrific power. What needs to replace it is not the feeling that the difference of another person is somehow tolerable. What is necessary is the seeing and feeling that the relation of sameness and difference between ourselves and that other person is beautiful. People need to feel, with feeling both intimately personal and large, that difference of race is like the difference to be found in music: two notes are different, but they are in behalf of the same melody; they complete each other; each needs the other to be expressed richly, to be fully itself.
This is some of the most important writing I know. You can read the whole issue of The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known here