Yes. Thank you for this insight.
The Gulag Archipelago contains a famous quotation — ‘the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.’ This quotation, for good reason, is embraced as wise and true.
However, when it is used to obscure dominance completely such that there is no pragmatic forward movement, it is obviously being used as a weapon against oppressed people. I believe that this notion — that we are all ‘equal’ in the sense that we all contain elements of good and bad — is being grossly overused and effectively transmogrified such that it supports color blindness. By shifting the attention to ‘all humans,’ white people such as this effectively erase the fact that, from a pragmatic standpoint, there is a difference between being in the oppressor class and the oppressed class.
This is a Macchiavellian tack meant to maintain power, regardless of whether or not the individual feels proactively overbearing as an individual. This tack — ‘we are all really the same, so let’s not pay as much attention to differences that make people like me look bad’ — is more white supremacy. It supports the same cause.
To make another comparison, this approach is like the rapist sitting on trial for rape and using, as his defense, the notion that every other man is capable of rape. This makes it seem like the potential is as important as the reality, when the actual lived, pragmatic reality is more important. Who cares if every man is capable of rape when you are the one who actually committed it?! It’s the commission of the crime that matters.
Interestingly, I’ve read — and heard! —this defense of Amy Cooper come from both white people and men of color, all of whom seem to justify her behavior with some variant of ‘the line dividing good and evil…’
The notion that ‘we are all the same’ cannot fix a problem in which the very philosophical motive is dominance — the erasure of that similarity. It simply distracts and distorts reality.
A. Cooper meant to underline the difference between her as a white woman and Cooper as the black male, as a way to leverage her white female power, as evidenced by her actual, spoken words.
As a society, we need to deal directly with the fact that people with power underline difference in order to maintain dominance, and then erase the very tool used to maintain that power — difference — by pretending it doesn’t exist.
Philosophical notions have no value if they aren’t supporting eventual equality and dignity.