Ultimately, no one Wants to Hear About Racism

For a startup entrepreneur there is no business without revenue. You can have the fancy product, you can even have something that promises attractive profit margins, but if you can’t sell it you ain’t got nuthin’.

Likewise, for an academic, there is no stature without “pubs” (publications, that is); publish or perish rules the day, it is engraved into the ivory tower. No tenure committee gives a damn at how amazing it is you teach. Of course, teaching evaluations could ruin you if they are horrible; nonetheless, the prevailing hurdle to tenure is number of peer-reviewed publications.

Ultimately, no one wants to hear about racism.

No one wants to hear about the discrimination that you face. No one wants to be lectured on microagressions. People care only about what you can do for them. In the end, the most effective appeals somehow, some way invoke self-interest.

What value you create is what matters. Historical mixed people like Tjalie Robinson got it. As Benjamin Disraeli said: "Don't complain, don't explain." And Robinson never complained, despite a preponderance of evidence of manifest racism, he never explained either. 

It follows that to negotiate a mixed identity the lynchpin is developing skills, is cultivating valuable intellectual property that other people can tap value from.

There are racial barriers, but there are all kinds of barriers everywhere else too. Indeed, class barriers, educational and health barriers are the intractable ones, not barriers of race. "Social inclusion" is noble, but it is a moot point as a destination. I think of social inclusion as a byproduct. Building bridges, after all, connects things, it brings new meaning to disparate “locals,” and gives people a spectrum to experience that in-between. With a mastery of bridge-building, with a cheap and deployable toolset that is exportable to other mixed people, maybe Japanese-Western people or Black-White or Brasilian-Argentian, or Israeli-Palestinian people can use this “software,” and enough quality and quantity of bridges, maybe the byproducts are even more/bigger than social inclusion. I think about that a lot.

But first things first. Focus. Focus. Focus. Like a startup entrepreneur or a tenure-track professor, there must be a ramen-eating single-mindedness. What time is it? Time to focus. Time to stop talking about barriers, and time to start thinking about opportunities.