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Dialogues Beyond the Master’s Map: An Invitation


My journey has taken me past constructions of race,

past constructions of mixed race,

and into an understanding of human difference

that does not include race as a meaningful category.

- From Race and Mixed-Race: A Personal Tour, by Rainier Spencer


Introduction


About ten years ago I invited people who resist the practice of racialization to talk with me about why, when, and how they arrived at a point beyond personal and social identity defined and confined by the dogma of race.


Since then, I’ve had the privilege of being able to write, talk, and teach about the implications of the non-racial worldview in a wide variety of contexts. And all along the way, I’ve heard from folks wishing to gather with others who share an anti-racialization orientation. This is an invitation to such a gathering.


If, despite being told and trained and pressured to embrace and perform a sense of identity that represents a false construct of human differences, you defy racial reduction and seek the company of others who resist racialization, please contact me. About a month from the posting of this invitation, sometime in early February, I’ll contact everyone who expressed interest with a date and time for our first gathering (via Zoom) where we’ll share perspectives and narratives of life beyond the master’s map.


Is this group for you? Three ways to tell: Rob, Racialization & a TEDx Talk


I hope the following three windows into what it means to hold an anti-racialization stance will enable you to determine whether or not this discussion group is right for you.


Rob, Race Transcender


This discussion group is for anyone who feels not only agreement but relief and encouragement after reading the following description of “Rob,” a participant in a study of racial identity conducted by Kerry Ann Rockquemore (published in Beyond Black: Biracial Identity in America, 2002).


Rockquemore was investigating what she referred to as “biracial” identity (meaning having one parent who identified as “white” and one parent who identified as “black.”) Rockquemore went into her study expecting that her subjects would identify as either (1) exclusively “black” or exclusively “white,” (2) being on the border between “black” and “white” identities, or (3) inclined to move between identifying as “black” or “white” depending on the circumstances they found themselves in.


Rockquemore did not expect that any of her subjects would simply and completely reject the idea of racial categorization altogether. Rather than write off the small percentage of her participants who, like Rob, defied racial categorization, Rockquemore documented their rarely recognized bearing on race. Here is part of her account of what she ended up calling the “race transcendent identity.”


“Rob was adamant that race was a false categorization of humanity and did not want to be thought of as a member of any racial category whatsoever. Rob’s greatest desire was to be understood by others as the unique individual he was, to be appreciated for his particular gifts and talents, and not to be “pigeon-holed” into a pre-formulated category that carried with it a multitude of assumptions about the content of his character. Rob was not black, white, or biracial. He was a musician, a thinker, a kind-hearted individual, a good friend, a Catholic, and a hard-working student with dreams and ambitions. For Rob, race had interfered with others perceiving his authentic self, and he could see that it would continue to color how others viewed him, his work, and his personal talents in the future. …he didn’t see himself in any [racial category] and…he resented being falsely stuffed into a rigid and unrepresentative typology or being excluded as an “outlying case.” -


“This group is exceedingly important to acknowledge because their resolution of the biracial dilemma is a refusal to participate in the fallacy of race, whether in its monoracial, multiracial, or biracial manifestations. From their perspective, the system of racial classification, the trinity of color-race-identity, and the hierarchical valuation of racial identities are damaging and fundamentally problematic.”

Rockquemore’s written work and generous conversation with me provided strong encouragement in my journey to validate what I’ve come to refer to as anti-racialization orientation. It provided concrete evidence of people who were seeing and attempting to live beyond the master’s false maps of “racial” difference.


Racialization


This discussion group is for anyone who reads this brief explainer on racialization and realizes that it’s what they’ve known all along, even if they didn’t quite have the words for it.


Charting a Course Beyond Racism TEDx Talk


This discussion group is for anyone who’s already left or is eager to leave the “rotary of racialization” described in this TEDx talk.


If, after taking in all of this, you feel that you identify with the non-race, race transcendent, or anti-racialization orientation, then this discussion group is for you. Please feel free to contact me to express interest and/or with any questions. And please feel encouraged to share this invitation with anyone you think might be interested.

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