What does it mean to be human?
Editorial from August 2020
Recently I watched The School That Tried to End Racism on Channel 4, in which the students were tested for unconscious racial bias (watch it now on demand at channel4.com). In the first episode I learned, along with the children, that all human beings are 99.9 per cent identical in their genetic makeup. I find this fact amazing, especially alongside the knowledge that each one of us has a completely unique fingerprint.
Your August magazine looks at the topic of humanity. In the midst of recent political movements and the use of three short but powerful words you will have seen much of in the past few weeks – ‘black lives matter’ – we asked our regular columnists: What does it mean to be human?
My ex and I were repeatedly asked about our ‘interracial relationship’, as people seemed fascinated by us. Historically, mixed relationships have tended to feature white women with men of other skin colours, rather than the other way around. I sensed some eyebrow lifting that my then husband, coming from England’s upper social classes, could find a match in me, a woman with dark brown skin. Because that’s where the identification for who I was ended. It didn’t matter that we had similar levels of education (mine slightly higher if you’re curious!) or that we were brought up with the same sense of values and outlook.
One of the reasons I dislike the term ‘race’ when referring to people of different skin colours is because we are literally all part of one race. When we consistently speak of our differences, we perpetuate them. But, unfortunately, people are treated according to this singular difference and this is essentially the conversation attempted in The School That Tried to End Racism. When asked about their culture, one of the white children replied with frustration: “It doesn’t really mean anything to be white.” Upon being asked to split into two groups, the Asian and mixed heritage children in the class who identified as neither black or white struggled to find a voice to speak up about this feeling of ‘other’, eventually asking: “Where do we go?” All children were shocked to discover the initial test revealed almost all of them – regardless of skin colour – had a bias towards white people. Where has this come from?
It has taken me a long time to find my identity as a child of God above my identity as a black woman, but these tests show that, despite attempts to show our equality, we still have a long way to go!
I’m curious to know how you’re feeling about some of the topics that are coming up socially and in this issue of Woman Alive. How do you feel about what you may have been seeing in the news and on social media? What do you feel God is saying to us at this time?
Email us at womanalive@premier. org.uk or join the conversation on social media using the handle below.
Tola-Doll Fisher, Editor
Find us on Twitter/Instagram @WomanAliveUK
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