You Betta Recognize.

by B.J. Delas Armas on 4/06/2008 11:35:00 PM 0 comments Print this post

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In an information overloaded age here in America where what you see on TV, radio is glitz and glam, I think what people of "minority" status whether in race, age, gender, ethnicity, etc. want for their causes is...recognition. Recognition of the obstacles still faced. Recognition of achievements. Recognition of specific in-roads and actions taken by their people. Ultimately, recognition as legit and equal powers.

The opposite of recognition is reductionism. Reduction is oversimplifying. Oversimplifying, which generally doesn't promote connective thinking and understanding. Oversimplifying, putting blood, sweat, and tears into cheap, digestable, words. Oversimplifying, to put in broad blocks without understanding the curves, grooves, and boundaries. Oversimplifying genocide. Think of how easy it is to dismiss the fact that there were over 10 million American Indians in this land before the arrival of Columbus. It's just as easy to say that Indians had it coming to them and it's their fault. What's worse is that it's easier to spread ignorance and hate than it is to think and debate.


It's easy to oversimplify the impact of slavery by saying that you never owned one. Oversimplifying the impact of years of Jim Crow Laws. Oversimplifying the effects of redlining, blockbusting, and steering, taking out the property taxes and slapping down your schools. Oversimplifying race issues to be just the black and the white. Oversimplifying the effects of the Chinese Exclusion Acts of 1905, The Natonal Origins Act of 1924, the Recission Act of 1946, the Immigration Act of 1965. Oversimplifying a group of unified, diverse people to be mono-thinking because its tiring to think of them as actually having opinions.

Cognition is a way of putting something into your consciousness. Recognition implies that you have thought of something before in your consciousness and now acknowledge it. Were at a point where there's been cognition but no recognition for our communities, no acknowledgment. What makes the difference between congition and recognition is that in cognition, you don't smell, see, hear, taste, feel the process, the patterns as you've smelt, seen, heard, and felt before. What everyone outside the communities sees as patterns is the oversimplified, square clean-cut version of history and as people. The problem is that if they only recognize those patterns of oversimplified, square clean-cut history, they expect only oversimplified, square, clean-cut answers. And when they expect only oversimplified answers, they get mad that when you begin to tell your stories of complexity.

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