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The H3O/Art of Life Blog

  • Writer's pictureThe H3O/Art of Life Blog

"Our Daily Blog" #26

Updated: Jun 17, 2020

"Sticks and Stones and Names and Brands" Part One

By Dr. Gloria Latimore-Peace

"The one constant in the origin of ideas is that they all have an origin." Dr. Josef Ben Levi, "The Hell You Preach", "Our Daily Blog" #16.

As students, we were usually taught, "A noun is the name of a person, place, or thing", i.e, words that refer to the concrete phenomena that constitute our material world. Seldom is it mentioned that nouns also, and most importantly, name ideas -abstract notions- that originate in the image-inations and are expressed via the languages of those who conceive and give birth to them.

While phenomena that are concrete can be validated by the senses, i.e., quantified,  those that are abstract cannot be measured, weighed, etc. Thus, the import and meaning of the ideas of "freedom" and "justice", "race" and "human" are within the "minds'-eye of the beholders". Assuming that not every group views the world from the same perspective, it is inevitable that conflict will arise when the beholders of these ideas, who are simultaneously the holders of the reins of the dominant "culture", persist in imposing their ideas on those who are excluded from the in-group. It is with this in mind that we wish to examine some of the building blocks of the "reality" manufactured by the dominant society to maintain the "status quo", race first.

The idea of race(s), as a hierarchal division of people based on skin cover, was inconceivable among people who have no foundation on which to build such a concept. Thus, it is next to impossible that this notion, i.e., race(s), could have originated with people among whom there were no wide variations in pigmentation. For example, The Gikuyu/ Kikuyu people of Kenya, East Africa, were said, by Jomo Kenyatta [1], to identify people by where they live or what they do, e.g., "the people who live by the sea", "the people who hunt (or fish)" etc. 

The practice of dividing humanity into "race(s)" may have a root or two in Linnaeus' taxonomy, i.e., system of classification. This system classified living things: Plants and Animals. The Animal Kingdom is primarily composed of Mammals, Birds, Fish, Reptiles, and Amphibians- with Mammalia being given "top billing". One of the latter's principal characteristics is "skin covering", i.e., feathers, scales, fur, or skin. Somewhere along the way the color of the "skin covering", which had no currency among the Africans, became paramount among other groups. In the process, black skin was relegated to the "underclass" and white became "best in class".


[1] "Facing Mt. Kenya" by Jomo Kenyatta

Click here to read part two.

Below, please enjoy an episode of Omni-U Presents: The H3O Art of Life television show, produced and hosted by Dr. Gloria Latimore-Peace, entitled "Know Thy Story, Know Thyself", featuring Omni- U board member and faculty member Wayne Sebamurti Gentry and Hunter Havelin Adams III.

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