As the mob of Trump supporters desecrated Wednesday the temple of American democracy, the U.S. Capitol, the universal idea of "one person, one vote" was undermined.
Underlying the assumption of one person, one vote is the belief that you will be treated equally no matter your culture, race, gender orientation, sexual preference, religion, gender, or disability. The mob was resorting to violence, defying the Constitution and asking for special treatment of a particular opinion of a specific race: the white race.
Much of the problem is embedded in not recognizing that humans in the present day are hybrid. When you observe the practices, habits, attitudes, values, behaviors, institutions of individuals and cultures around the world, one cannot ignore how heterogenous we have been all along. Pick any part of the world, and one will come across the mixing of indigenous groups with other ethnic groups. The intermixing was accelerated in the last 400 years unprecedentedly because of our colonized checkered history.
In whatever way you describe it, one cannot gloss over the mestizaje; no single person can claim solely to be just one thing, white, black, brown, or anything else. Yet the irony is that everywhere around the world, there is a polarization based on claims that we are unique and superior and not hybrid.
In my study of hybrid identity at UA Little Rock, I have shared with my students the hybrid world majestically displayed in the cuisine, music, clothing, language, and much more. I have taken students to India, Trinidad and Tobago, and Argentina to show them the life and stories of hybrid people. My students are transformed by these experiences. To see a sparkle in their eyes is an "aha" moment for a teacher, and the most fulfilling experience for me personally.
Interestingly, there has been an approach to deal with cultural diversity in our country using a melting-pot analogy. President Roosevelt popularized the metaphor and claimed that the newly formed nation as "the crucible [that] turns our people out as Americans." He opined that it would be "an outrage to discriminate against [an immigrant] because of creed or birthplace or origin." He believed "this is predicated upon the man's becoming in very fact an American and nothing but an American."
If Roosevelt's ideals would have been put into actual practice, we would not be immersed in the present-day Black Lives Matter movement. His ideals remained much a dream, as much as Martin Luther King Jr.'s vision.
I took my students to Trinidad and Tobago, and we interviewed Douglas, a group of East Indians from India mixed with African people. The mixed heritage spawned different food, dress, language, and beliefs and truly blended our world. In my class that I led to Buenos Aires, I explained the excellent cultural products of hybridity, mainly referring to the evolution of the tango and drinking mate culture. These examples throw light on hybrid cultures that exist around the world.
As my friend James McMath, an avid astronomer, says, Einstein taught us everything is relative: There are as many perspectives as witnesses, all equally valid and similarly flawed. Carl Sagan shared a philosophy centered on the reality of our collective place in cosmic reality. Humanity is the result of a 13 billion-year process and Earth's existence. All that is here, a billion-
billion-to-one proposition that has only come to be because the vastness of the universe has caused the dice to roll a billion-billion times.
In the current atmosphere of turmoil, it is good to broaden one's perspective to encompass the larger reality of the adventure all humans are born into. It will be a great day when we all come to take up the adventure together consciously. The America of "We the People," the America that held it self-evident at its creation that "all men are created equal," is still needed, and urgently.
Avinash Thombre is a professor of communication at UALR.