I recently came across an article titled "This Is The Future Of America And I Couldn’t Be Happier."
The author links to a gorgeous series of portraits from National Geographic featuring mixed-race Americans. The photos are supposed to represent what America will look like in the year 2050 as the races continue to blend. I think the author is probably correct about this. To me, the people in these photos look like the New Yorkers of today.
Then the author says the following:
And so, to the question, why is this the future of America? It’s the result of our growing interactions between different communities, heightened understanding of each other and the discovery that we all share the same feelings of happiness, sadness and fear regardless of race. A product of ever-growing interracial relationships and marriages and births that remove the walls of simple checkboxes so that we can finally see other for who we really are. Human beings.
I realize I’m supposed to look at the photos of the beautiful multi-ethnic people and feel a warmth in my heart when I think of racism ending once and for all. Sorry—I guess I’m too pessimistic for that. While I appreciate the sentiment, I can’t buy the idea that achieving the right DNA mix will solve all of humanity’s problems.
The whole thing seems empty to me. It’s mostly about aesthetics. Who cares what Americans will look like in the future? What will they be like in the future? In 2050 will our beautiful mixed-race descendants have any rights left? Will they tell the government they don’t want to be spied on for the sake of their own security? Will they tell them that war is still unacceptable even if it’s by remote control?
If there’s one thing that humans are good at, it’s finding reasons to hate each other. Even if all the races are blended together until they are indistinguishable, all that will do is remove one of many reasons we have to identify our other and put him in the crosshairs.
When I think of human conflict, I think of Dr. Seuss’s The Butter Battle Book. The story is about two conflicting cultures that are locked in an arms race, each determined to destroy the other. Their key point of contention is the way the other side prefers to butter their bread.
I haven’t seen evidence of any in-group in all of human history that doesn’t have an out-group. And I think Dr. Seuss was dead-on when he posited that something as pointless as bread-buttering technique is enough to make us hate each other.
I have no idea what the solution is to our relentless tendency to be hostile to one another, but when it comes to blending the races, that solution is only skin deep.