The melting pot and a coffee coloured world, dreamy words reminiscent of the 60s, a mantra held by many who believe that through integration and cultural melding the world will become a better place. It is a lovely sentiment, one which I’m sure the majority of the world hopes for, unfortunately, that is not the reality and the truth is a coffee coloured world alone is no guarantee against evil, racism, oppression and other ills based on human differences. The unspoken truth is that a homogeneous country or world is equally apt to create forms of discrimination against the ‘others’ that eventually will be found.
A coffee coloured world will not solve anything and would in itself not be a paradise, in fact, we need not make up examples but can look at the world as is. The most coffee coloured country in the world is Brazil. This nation with its mixture of Amerindian, European, East Asian and African peoples has the highest proportion of mixed people. Almost everyone in that nation, no matter how white can trace some mixed blood in their lineage. This is also the nation which has elected the outrageously racist Bolsonaro who rails against the Amerindian population and uses not so subtle language to demonise blacks.
Brazil is also a land of immense violence and poverty, a land stalked by corruption and inept crony governors. This coffee coloured land which exists, in reality, is in fact no better and no worse than what we currently have elsewhere and is probably a true reflection of what those lovely but naïve dreams would look like. The real world shows us that what is needed is more than looking like each other, rather what is needed is for us to look out for each other. What is needed is not mere melanin similarity but communal solidarity.
Communal solidarity and a sense of society, that is what is needed, but that is what seems to be mostly absent when these starry-eyed dreamers speak of a coffee coloured world.
Why is this, why is it that we hope for some quick fix or a utopia where our troubles will all melt away? Part of it is the longing for homogeneity, for sameness, something we all have, but part of it I think is that while we long for similarity and sameness we also battle the desire to let loose the individual and one up each other. We feel that if we look the same we won’t be as selfish but can still be a bit selfish. If we are all similar it is, we think harder to hold prejudices on ethnic grounds which we believe are at the centre of our troubles, but then the issue of who wields power (class) exists and is not touched.
A coffee coloured world alone won’t save us, we need to also tackle the hierarchy issue in all their forms. This means class, gender, sexuality, religion, issues which are not touched on when persons speak of this utopian world. Rather than striving for this goal which in the end would achieve nothing in and of itself, we should be looking to deal with the previously listed issues. An end of classism and religious animosity would, in the end, lead to this coffee coloured world dreamt of.
A world where a woman is free to make her own decisions (sexual and all) is one marching towards coffee colour. A world where the place of birth is utterly insignificant is a world heading towards coffee colour. Truth be told, until human rights, justice and egalitarianism are the norm the dream of a coffee coloured world is one which is doomed to end like Brazil or Israel, homogenous but still oppressive as hell and most open to reactionary policies.
Brazil and Israel, homogeneous in their own different ways (one ethnically and the other ethnoreligiously) are living proof that sameness alone is not enough. Brazil with its deeply ingrained classism (mixed with racism as many try to flee from their African and Amerindian roots) and patriarchy has historically and continues today to be a leader in violence and oppression against its own people. Israel is constantly paranoid about the ‘demographic threat’ posed by the Arab-Israelis (who are almost always Muslim) and has never been afraid to use brute force to keep demographics in check. Amongst the Jewish population animosity and oppression is meted out to the Russian emigres by the Ashkenazi’s and the non-military serving ultra-orthodox.
Let’s aim for a just society before we start dreaming of a homogeneous society, let us think of a society where the other is treated as the same before, we dream of a world of bland sameness. Let us aim for a world where the stigma of class is abolished before we aim for a world where we all look the same. To aim for homogeneity and not justice and equality is a world similar to ours today and as such not one we should be aiming for. Think big, dream big and aim for a truly changed world, don’t aim for the same world with mere (literal) cosmetic changes.