I need to start this piece by—as is far too often the case—making a disclaimer.
I really don’t believe I entirely understand what Critical Theory is, much less Critical Race Theory.
The actual discussion on which I intend to embark herein, is more about the idea that some folks are better at things like storytelling and others at logical and similar pursuits.
These things are not really questionable, but to argue that one’s race is the thing that makes a distinction in abilities, is.
I’ve recently heard arguments to the effect that folks of African family are inclined naturally to be storytellers, and people of European descent, logicians.
The very first thing I should say about this idea, is that I find it more than a little offensive that someone reached such a conclusion. Totally beside the fact that my family are relatively good creative writers and speakers as well as being reasonably solid practitioners of logic, the fact is, there are exceptional plot weavers among the European community in the United States, as well as all over the world.
I’m more than sure people would recognize names like Stephen King, Leon Uris and J.K. Rowling. I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether or not they’re good examples of what I’m saying here. Even if you decide none of them is, I’ll wager you can think of people who are.
Of course we know that there are no black preeminent thinkers or proponents of the logical process here in America or elsewhere. Wait! What? Anybody who would try to make the argument that such folks don’t exist is extremely confused.
Again, we may disagree as to who should hold a title such as Logician Extraordinair in the ranks of Americans of African heritage. For me, people like Mr Larry Elder, Dr Thomas Sowell and Dr Walter E Williams are certainly on the list, among others. I doubt very seriously you’ll find anybody who has any knowledge or breadth of experience who’ll fail to acknowledge their existence though.
Besides the obvious anomaly, that there are folks of all types who manage to display serious ability in the realms of both spinning yarns and using their noggins to work out problems and deal with issues, there’s another “problem.”
I quote “problem” in this case, because where the thing I’m going to discuss could be couched such, it’s really no problem at all.
As a child, my imagination was pretty good; I had to hone my ability to impart what flew though my gray matter with skill. Fact is, that’s something I strive to improve on daily. I hope I’ve gotten better at this as I’ve grown older and more wizened.
I was not nearly so able to use logic to deal with the problems that plagued me or others as a young man.
To begin with, this flies in the face of the idea that people of European extraction are more prone to be adept at things that involve reason. At least for me telling tales has always been easier than dealing with issues that required thought and discernment. I should let you know, I have no doubt this is commonly true, no matter one’s race.
I can speak personally, and say that I’ve known black individuals who dealt better with things like working out various issues, than with portraying the world through words, spoken or written.
All of this is interesting, and it tends to fall in opposition to the idea that folks are better at one or the other thing based on their race.
Equally important though, is that I pretty much had to learn to deal with both sides of the proverbial coin. Put another way, I had to learn to both think logically and forward ideas and ideals in creative ways.
I’m sure I’m far from alone in that. Though I never sought a degree from an institute of higher learning, I would bet that many folks who’ve done so, would count this a part of their experience.
It’s a fact, that life isn’t about living in our comfort zones. If you want to be successful—regardless your definition of success (with limited exceptions)—you’d probably better learn to do a good many things with which you’re not comfortable. And your level of success will often depend on your mastery of one or more such things.
A good way to look at it is, “If success were about doing the easy things, many more people would be successful.”
Are you a wonderful teller of anecdotes? Great!
Are you a logician of the highest order? Fantastic!
Do you want to have a life filled with success? I suggest, if you’re but one of the two, you seek to master the other.
It doesn’t matter to me which you conquer first; and I don’t presume it will be all that important to others, either. What’s important, is that you become adept at both—and honestly a great many other things as well.
All of this said, I want to take a moment yet again, and make it clear that arguing “black folks are bad at logic,” or much of any other thing, or “white folks can’t tell stories,” or again, anything else, is both condescending and insulting.
That might not be so if I—and people beside myself—believed that the things said were true. I certainly don’t, and I seriously doubt most others do.
We all have lessons to learn. Everybody has skills they ought to acquire, regardless their age, sex, race, and pretty much any other such property.
For most individuals, one hand is stronger than the other; likewise for their eyes.
It can be pretty much anticipated that each of us will have strengths and weaknesses come to character and skills. This is to be expected, and is by no means surprising.
Personally, I don’t believe our traits and abilities are a matter of race. There’re things that are innate, and others that are heavily practiced. Our race, I think, has little to do with that. Want to excel? Work on the important things over which you don’t presently have command.
Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.