Cannot Return To Normal

by Luis Quiros

The American way has been to take the natural and simple and then find the language to cover up its fascist tones. On January 3, 1919, Roosevelt announced that one becomes an American by assimilating themselves because there is only room for the American flag and one language.[1] The consequences from the social disparities imposed between what makes one naturally normal against us, is that we Others inherit an unwelcomed sharing of resources and suspicion. Again, deconstructing these occurrences takes us to an arm’s length from fascism.

What my university students recognized, for the most part, was the inequality inherited in sameness,[2] (H. Arendt 1998). Now, a COVID-19 lockdown, and possessed with a restlessness for social justice to making lockdowns extinct,[3] I am curious how each one of my students is, or is not, reflecting upon our understanding that this nation’s survivorship depends on our journey away from any call to “return to normalcy”, i.e., sameness. Will our deconstructed history from 1492 to the present return to its problematic pattern where Others were recognized as such and kept in lockdown? Where does our present insight rest against the metaphysical thinking of the Western philosophy?

I only know that through volumes of literature, evidence and critical thinking we had reached an epiphany about sameness; possessing “enough social poison to make fascism the master narrative”.[4] In the classroom we captured the historical privileged colonized mind and witnessed the impulse of self-interest from owns own kind. However, addressing sameness to non-students, as in those refusing or kept away from consciousness and learning, means limiting dialogue that pierces the politics and religion that influence and shape the public and private spheres. Embedded into every fabric of society are the non-Others who define who should be civilized. Bentham’s axiom principle, “that the greatest happiness of the greatest number was his measure of right and wrong,”[5] has become those with the greatest power. Such conditions when one is in public requires dancing around words such as colony, colonized or colonization.

Experience speaks to me loudly. The uninformed do not admit to the acceptance of their colonizing language and minds. Why? Because being colonized allows agents of supremacy to successfully demonize and dismiss the most marginalized from their communities, further instigating divisions among us—idolizing one preferred model or answer.

Ivan Petrella provided a place, Vita, a liberation philosophy, to showcase the disease in normalcy. “Vita as a place in Southern Brazil near Porto Alegre; situated on a hill of absolute misery, overcrowded, with tents, a wooden chapel, and an inadequate kitchen, and no hot water or bathroom facilities.”[6] Many know this place as a ghetto. I knew such a place and it made me “streetwise” and “life smart.” For me and Others, the ghetto is a place that for whatever reason, one cannot get out of. As such, it includes the unhappy wealthy wife and all normalized minds stuck in a mental ghetto.

Colonialism’s math calculates the price of a commodity on one side, and on the other side, the required distance preventing the Other from acquiring the same. One side consumes, and the other side produces. Their laws, Bill of Rights, rule in that order and were constitutionalized. The math makes careers out of separating people from the same nation into marketable imperfections, including the poor, Non-White, and undocumented.

For this, and many more social economic reasons it would benefit Non-Others to learn that we Others survive naturally by uniting with those their language defines as “strangers”, to expand our worldviews and networks. For us, the more another is not like us, the more we desire to know that person. It explains why we use hybrid thinking models for ethical wisdom and why despite it all, we are still here—precisely because we are the antidote to their normal.


Luis Quiros, M.P.A., M.S.W.

Author of An Other’s Mind (2011) and Justice Unplugged (2020)


About the Author: Luis Quiros learned early in life the value of forming a strong partnership between “street smarts” and scholarship. Quiros used this partnership to expose historical and sociological myths, as well as how fiscal policies and systems have plagued and affected the lives of those viewed as Others. Within classrooms and through writing and social commentary, Quiros goes beyond the research and captures narratives with a mentoring and community-building intention. Through his roles within non-profit and proprietary institutions, Quiros has brought expertise to challenge levels of service models that measure impact and how diversity and inclusion are defined.

[1] Luis Quiros. Justice Unplugged, Authorhouse. 2020. Introduction.

[2] Luis Quiros. An Other’s Mind, Authorhouse. 2011.pgs. 72, 199, 222.

[3]  Q’s Justice Unplugged: Episode 49, 11-28-2016, start at minute 19:10.

[4] An Other’s Mind, 142.

[5] Jeremy Bentham, An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation. Chapter 1: Of the Principle of Utility. 1781. An Other’s Mind, pgs. 43-44.


[6] Ivan Petrella, Beyond Liberation Theology: A Polemic, SCM Press, 2008, 8–11.

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