You have the afternoon off work. You’ve special glasses to protect your eyes. You’ve locked the kids inside. You’re all ready for the 2017 North American solar eclipse … but there’s still that one burning question.
Is it racist?
Certainly these are trying times, and the world is coming to grips with a lot of social issues, so it’s fair to wonder the racial implications of watching an eclipse.
The answer is not quite so easy.
An eclipse is a natural celestial occurrence, and lacking emotion, an eclipse cannot be racist, or even indirectly racial.
However, with one round object (the moon) moving in front of another round object (the sun) and blocking its light, washing the world beneath it in a momentary monochromatic display, eclipses have been celebrated for years by racial supremacists, segregationists, and separatists.
“It’s really beautiful to watch all the colors become one in the middle of day, when our light should be brightest,” said Phil Silbarr, a noted astronomer and occasional rally racist. “Generations of racists from all backgrounds have looked forward to eclipses as a momentary glimpse into the world as they’d like for it to be seen.”
“In total, or even near-total state, the prominence of the sun around the rim of the moon creates a halo effect. This really adds to the religious significance that many race-motivated groups are looking for. Everything is one color and there is a halo in the sky. It speaks to these people, tells them that this moment is preordained by God, which is just what they want to hear.”
Silbarr pointed to an eclipse over North America in the early 19th century. “Most of the people who watched that would have been generally racist, or at least holding a much different view than the modern world, or even myself, have about race.”
Asked if he believed that watching eclipses is racist, in practice, Philbarr replied, “The evidence says that it’s not necessarily so, but the odds are remarkably good that your desire to watch the eclipse is seeded from some deeply ingrained dislike or distrust of, you know … whomever you know to be inferior.”
“You’ll be watching this eclipse with racists. You’ll be supporting what they’re doing, which is essentially saying you condone it. I think it’s important that you know this. You’ll be participating in a silent ceremony that has been long heralded and held in ardor by everything from garden variety racists to all out separatists and supremacists. Celestial bodies aren’t racist, but — and the numbers back me up here — if you’ve gone to all the trouble, you’re probably a racist for watching the eclipse.”