E Pluribus Unum: The Perils of Color-blind Racism

‘E pluribus unum’ is not sensible to us anymore. Whether you take it from the beginning of time, life or human civilization, reality has been marked by a constant progression from unity to increasing diversity of forms and ideas. Experience dictates that the ‘many’ emerge out of ‘the one,’ not the opposite.

Everything is essentially unified on both sides by sharing the same ultimate origin and destination. There is no side-stepping this fact or escaping this width of this umbrella. As the universe carries out its behavior, we run into the potential of insulting reality by glossing over its magnificent diversity with a feeble construct of artificial homogeneity. It stands to reason that we can get the most out of life by acknowledging and respecting our real differences and not by feigning blindness to what makes us individuals and groups deserving of unique sovereignty.

E unum pluribus.

On the other hand, the myth of ‘e pluribus unum’ limits the agency of diversity in ruthless system of global capital linked with flourishing inequality and the suppression of national sovereignty. The principle implies that our origins are different while our experiences are the same. Perish this thought. On the contrary, our origin is of course identical while our lived experiences, cultures, genders and ethnicities are different. There does not appear to be any natural or imagined coalescence of beings into a living unity which does not threaten to erase the true diversity which testifies to the glory of the mysterious circumstances of existence.

But why does this matter? The court system pretends to be objective on issues of race and gender thus preventing a defense from bringing up the relevance of these factors before a jury. Because racism and sexism are systemic [built into the momentum of the systems through which society operates] elements relating to the diversity of individuals need to be made salient in order to prevent stereotype-consistent judgments from surfacing in and out of the courtroom. Virtually all recent social science research supports the claim that stereotype-consistent behavior manifests in society regardless of the egalitarian values of the actors and that the best way to combat implicit bias is to make racial and other potentially confounding factors salient during the process of judgement and reflection.

An ethic of ‘e unum pluribus’ allows peoples to recognize their identical common origin while allowing the space and freedom necessary for individual and mutual self-realization. There is a growing need to change the power system and make it more subsidiarity. This process can be facilitated through internalizing and carrying out the principle that diversity is fundamental and cannot be glossed over by un-elected private tyrannies located at the upper echelons of society.



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