fellow Americans who champion a racially segregated, politically
separate Tibetan region of China, tolerate for one minute a racially
segregated, politically separate "Whites Only" or "Blacks
Only" Georgia or Alabama? No? Then please don't wish this
kind of reactionary apartheid state of affairs on China. America
is hardly the only multiethnic and multicultural nation in the
world, nor should it be.
Americans who are admirers of Martin Luther King erroneously compare
the Dalai Lama to King, Nelson Mandela, or even the great Mahatma
Gandhi. This flatters the Dalai Lama and insults King, Mandela
and Gandhi. Gandhi, King, and Mandela were integrationists, not
segregationists. Gandhi opposed Hindu-Indian and Muslim-Indian
segregation and did his utmost to preserve Indian national unity.
King opposed African-American and European-American segregation,
and dreamed of a day when black and white children would walk
beside each other hand in hand. Mandela opposed black, Cape-Colored,
and white Afrikaner segregation.
Chinese oppose Han-Chinese and Tibetan-Chinese racial segregation.
The racial integration of Tibetan and Han is hardly a pie-in-the-sky
proposition. It has already happened. It keeps happening year
after year, even as the Dalai Lama struggles to keep Tibetans
and Hans racially segregated. One need only look at China's astonishingly
complete integration of her Mongolian, Manchurian and Han subcultures
to see how thorough racial assimilation can be. No modern Chinese,
including those of us who matter of factly assume we are "Han"
knows for sure whether we have Manchurian Mongolian, Uyghur or
Tibetan blood in us. Nor should it matter.
Whatever feet of clay Gandhi, King, and Mandela might have had
in real life, these three icons were or are genuine integrationists.
In this respect, the Dalai Lama has hardly anything in common
with any of them. The Dalai Lama is, if anything, closer to militant
separatist oriented religious/political figures such as the Nation
of Islam's Louis Farrakhan, or the Jewish Defense League's Rabbi
Meir Kahane. The omnipresent Al Sharpton is the epitome of this
kind of opportunistic agent provocateur. He is what African-American
libertarians refer to as an "ethnic grievance pimp."
The omnipresent Dalai Lama, always in the right place for a photo-op,
is a Tibetan Al Sharpton. He merely affects a "kinder, gentler"
persona and boasts slicker PR. After all, he has Hollywood's glitterati
doing his image-making for him, gratis.
opinion meanwhile, suffers from selective amnesia. It has conveniently
forgotten "His Holiness" was the plotter and instigator
of a violent armed revolution in 1959. It has blanked out the
fact that this politician forfeited any claim he might have had
to being a pacifist decades ago.
way to move beyond race hatred, and festering grievances about
"who done who wrong" is actually quite simple. Hardly
easy, but simple. The solution is: first integration, then intermarriage.
The solution is exactly what neo-Nazi skinheads and Ku-kluxers
fear and dread: the "mongrelization of the races," the
"dilution" of "racial purity." The solution
is what racial bigots' refer to perjoratively as "miscegenation."
Intermarriage makes it more difficult, albeit not impossible,
for anyone of mixed parentage to hate one side of his family for
wronging the other.
process has an important prerequisite racial integration. In
order for it to take place people must not be deliberately segregated
from each other. It requires that people of goodwill of all backgrounds
refuse to tolerate the establishment of artificial barriers to
individuals mixing with each other economically, socially and
enough, this is also what militant Tibetan and Uyghur separatists
fear the "dilution" of their racial distinctiveness.
The term they apply to this dreaded phenomenon is "cultural
genocide." Their identities are so invested in their biologically-inherited
racial characteristics as "Tibetans," "Uyghurs,"
or in the case of neo-Nazis as "white Aryans," that
they cannot see their common identity as members of the human
race. As the talented African-American singer Pearl Bailey put
it "there is only one race, the human race." It is worth
noting in this connection that recent DNA evidence has confirmed
that Chinese, as well as other Asians, are all of African descent.
chief obstacle to this benevolent process of "creeping integration"
is ambitious political "leaders" whose power is built
on racially-defined constituencies. These "leaders"
ability to lead their followers around by the nose is threatened
by any dilution of "ethnic purity" and any blurring
of racial lines. This means they have a vested interest in keeping
apart individual human beings who otherwise would have traded,
formed friendships and intermarried.
to say, the Dalai Lama ranks not among the Gandhis, the Kings
or the Mandelas of the world, but among those charismatic "leaders"
who abuse their stature and authority to keep these racial lines
sharply drawn by fanning the flames of primitive ethnic resentment.
The Dalai Lama indisputably does it with tremendous flair and
finesse, so he doesn't come across like a Louis Farrakhan, in
other words, as a raving lunatic, but make no mistake, he does
it. This misuse of his personal charisma arguably makes him worse,
not better than his peers.
the state of the world today it is clearly unrealistic to expect
existing sovereign nations to completely lower their guard against
once hostile foreign nations. I am not urging that existing nation
states adopt naively Pollyannaish foreign policies. But is it
too much to demand that anyone with humanitarian pretensions at
least refrain from aggravating internal racial tensions within
currently existing nations? For China as well as for America?
individuals of goodwill the world over can gradually increase
the porousness of international political boundaries via free
trade. Stable, mutually beneficial trade relations increase human
to human contact across existing national boundaries, and contributes
to the eventual diminution of irrational xenophobia.
spiritual leaders of global stature do not speak only for their
tribe. They are not nearly so petty and narrow-minded. They have
hearts which encompass the world. They speak for all of humanity.
Whom does the Dalai Lama speak for? Does he speak for global racial
integration and the universal brotherhood of man, or only for
his narrow tribal constituency? The question is rhetorical, and
the answer should be obvious.