Humanism is a veiled attempt to silence oppressed peoples, hijacking the discourse for an ambiguous advocacy which thwarts attempts to critique and progress toward necessary change.

Briefly, some phrases you’ve probably seen that are problematic (or in layman’s terms: Humanist).

“We are the same.” – Justin Timberlake

“We are one race, the human race.”

“I don’t see color.”

“All Lives Matter.”

It goes without saying “we are one race, the human race”, just as all lives purportedly matter. You know, like how “all men are created equal” was highly conditional when it was written by homeboy Thomas Jefferson. Acknowledging these generally agreeable statements doesn’t right the wrongs of the taxonomical social construct that is race, created by white European men, which later helped lend credence to racism.

What is not revolutionary is a white person acknowledging that People of Color are in fact a part of the human race. What is revolutionary is acknowledging that their personhood continues to be challenged, directly or indirectly questioned every single day. Learning how far we’ve come from the 3/5ths compromise isn’t enough in this area. Names like Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, and Tamir Rice stand as stark indicators of how far there is to go. People of Color do not need you to acknowledge your common humanity with them, especially if you are a privileged white male.

The next step is listening to People of Color. Doing the little bit you can by reading articles or think pieces written by a marginalized person and then sharing their thoughts to whoever you can (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram maybe?). Share their opinions, thoughts, critiques, holding their intellectualism in high regard. “Post-racial” society would have you ignore their words and read a text-book on race written by white scholars instead. Last but certainly not least partaking in organized resistance as an ally is how you combat oppression.

You almost never hear someone use Humanism as a progressive stance. Humanism is used in opposition to movements that are meant to bring attention to oppression. All Lives Matter as a response to Black Lives Matter. Humanism as a response to Feminism, so as to be inclusive of men… sighs. Egalitarianism as a response to the LGBTQIA movement. When you claim Humanism you become the obstacle towards conversation that needs to be had and systemic change that is necessary.

There are some that use Humanism in a way that they feel augments movements like the ones I’ve listed above. Allyship is the word you’re looking for. Here I’ll leave any Humanists reading this to do their own research on what that actually entails. A good ally educates themselves.

-Paul Sanchez

 

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