Last week while scanning Facebook, I came across a flyer the KKK had distributed in Birmingham, Alabama. Thousands of those hate-preaching leaflets were left on sidewalks all over the city. So I did what any other journalist would do: I emailed one of their leaders to see if he would grant me an interview. What follows is the actual email dialogue:
Me: “Sir. I would like to do a story about you for the Huffington Post please.
KKK: Sorry I only talk to white reporters.
Me: I am actually Caucasian.
KKK: Bullshit. Not named Karim. If your white mother named you Karim, you would be the poster child of what our movement says happens when multiculturalism and Liberalism and Miscegenation take hold. What are ya half White and half Arab? I don’t talk to Muslims nor non Whites sorry. I’m a Kinnist, I stick with my own kind.
Me to myself: It’s a lovely world we live in!!
You would think he would go for it. After all, how often would a KKK member get to be interviewed by the Huffington Post? And yes, the Middle East is considered Caucasian. For the longest time, I didn’t know what to mark on forms. The choices are Caucasian, Asian, and Hispanic. Since there was never an option for Arab-Americans, I often marked “Other.” But when I Googled it, I was shocked: The Middle East is considered “Caucasian” and so are Europe and North Africa.
As far as the mainstream culture goes, I am considered “Brown” — somewhere between white and black. But the color of my blood is red like every other human being on the planet.
Which leads me to this: there is only one race, the Human Race.
Sure we carry different skin pigmentation. Sure we attune to various geographical, social, political, and cultural likes and dislikes, but those differences are the key to a rich and colorful life.
We ought to cherish our diversity.
But now in the Trump era, it seems our diversity is making us increasingly hate each other. If you’re different, you must be evil. If you’re different, you must be dangerous. If you’re different, you must be worthless.
When will we realize that while we are different on the outside, on the inside we all share a common virtue we live and die for? Love. When will we only see this gorgeous and loving interior?
When will we regard the intellectual, the emotional, and the soulful aspects of our beings more important than the physical?
When will we accept that which really matters: we all have a beating heart that will eventually stop; what counts is what we leave behind: a kind word, a helpful act, an enduring piece of our empathy. . . of our tenderness. . . of our humanity.
For those who say, “But we ARE different. You’re a fool if you think we’re all the same;” of course we are different. I never thought we were all robots portraying the same words and actions and emotions and feelings.
Here is the deal: despite our contrasts, we all seek the same things in life: food, water, peace, and love.
Our distinctive nature doesn’t give anyone the right to say to me what the KKK member emailed. It doesn’t give anyone the right to hate his fellow human being. And it for sure doesn’t give anyone the right to hurt someone else based on race, religion, orientation, or creed.
Ultimately, it does not give anyone the right to feel superior to others.
We are all different tribes of one race: the Human Race.
The day humans realize we belong to the same race will be the day we have world peace. Beauty pageant line? Maybe. But I have one question for you: when was the last time you heard those words “World Peace?”
Maybe we should think more often about this illusive metaphor: collective human resolve is strong enough to pull the deepest roots of racism.
For more, visit the Huffington Post, and al.com