Tuesday, June 05, 2007

As I ponder the issue of racism, what sometimes strikes me is the historical gyrations that some go through to both make their own race look good, and another race look bad. For example, I remember a documentary from a few years back about Egypt, which included a black activist's complaint about Elizabeth Taylor playing Cleopatra in the movie by the same name.

The complaint was centered around the fact that Egyptians were Africans, and thus presumably black. Casting white actors to represent Egyptians was therefore a form of white supremacism. It's not my point here to debate the true ethnicity of the Egyptians, nor the question of how historical figures should be represented.

Rather, my point is that this same activist, later in the documentary, could be heard lamenting white slaveowners as evil men. However, if the Egyptians were indeed black, then they were some of the most notorious slaveowners in history. Many blacks are religious, and so must be well aware of the story of Moses and the Jews--and, they must believe it, or renounce their faith.

And so, one must wonder at how people can so easily compartmentalize historical facts to support their own positions, even when these facts are contradictory and yet must be actively held at essentially the same time. Certainly, this isn't unique to the issue of racism, but it certainly applies in that context.

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