Names and things

by Janic Kühner

I grew up in a surrounding in which I was given much time that I could spend according to what came to my mind. Educators of mine, as part of this environment, exerted few pressure to make me learn since they mostly regarded my output as good enough. Different activities were interesting to me at different points. I started some, stopped others after having lost any drive to engage in them or picked up them up again when my interest came back. Today, most of these actives as such would not earn me an instant yaki-soba. However, I believe that there can be meaning and maybe also value in everything we do, even if it is hard to measure with the rulers we used to use in mathematics class.

People with physical appearances that some might easily point back to an origin from foreign countries were as present in my life as there where those people others would or could not tell apart. Reflecting, grouping people based on an idea of valid relations between physical appearances and who these people actually are, was not a trait that would become significant to govern how I behave. Today, so it is, I believe to not only know that establishing such relationships is in most cases imprecise and too generalising but also that I feel it.

Reading scholarly texts about discrimination that focus on skin colour or race pose me questions that stay unanswered. Why IS this person black if we are talking about the person’s skin colour? If we’d copy to a piece of paper various skin “colours”, would any of these “colours” actually ensemble black, yellow, white? Why do authors talk about, let’s say, “Veracruzanos”, “Asian Americans” or “Germans” as if they were single entities? What is a “lower class” and why does everybody wants to get out of it? Why is it valid to measure lives or the quality of live in occupation, income and “education”?

I wonder, are these questions unworthy of consideration?

Post scriptum:

Making sense of this post as a whole might not be easy. However, I was preparing it with consideration and I would enjoy to hear about any advised reaction.

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