Black. White. Yellow. Brown. Mixed and the list goes on.
My co-worker and I just spent 15 minutes chatting about if these terms should ever be used to describe someone. It started with her asking how I would describe E for example, and if using black was “Ok?”
So I was honest and said if I was pointing out E in a photo or something, the easiest describing way would be to say he’s the black guy. And since we’re not in the USA, it seems beyond weird to say he’s the African-American. Well what if there are more than one “black guy?” she asked. Well then I’d describe him using any other distinguishing feature ie. clothing items, glasses, hair style etc. The same way I would do with anyone of any skin colour.
I personally don’t feel that skin colour has anything to do with who a person IS. Yes, it can help identify where they are from, as well as perhaps their race, but ultimately, for me, that is not the deciding factor on WHO someone is. It doesn’t tell me what radio station they prefer or their political views. It won’t tell me the hobbies they entertain in their spare time. Skin tone won’t help me know if they’re a vegetarian or meat eater, nor will it help me know if they are prankster or Mr. Seriousness.
I believe people create themselves. From the time they are born, based on their likes and dislikes we form our own selves. All personal choices we make each day, form us into independent individuals. We use our reactions to certain situations to form thoughts and therefore opinions on everything, and based our next decisions on those. A race, or colour is not WHO I am. All my skin does is hold my body in place.
It’s not like skin that comes in different colours should be valued more or less like Gold/Silver/Bronze medals. It shouldn’t even be compared. It shouldn’t automatically place me in a certain category in life, except that the majority of peoples opinions and thoughts and therefore decisions on how we react to certain individuals has somehow along the way placed so much importance on skin tone than necessary.
No longer do people care about intelligence or kindness or even how you tie your shoes. For some reason society today chooses to judge human beings on something equally irrelevant as shoe tying. which is what colour your largest organ is.
As for me, if I were to describe myself, I’d say white or Canadian depending on the way the question is phrased. I wouldn’t feel the need to go into detail about how I’m one quarter Japanese, part Irish, part…. and it goes on and on. I also don’t have a huge connection to any of the countries my heritage comes from. So I don’t feel the need to protect the culture of… anything. So I would just used the simplest description: Canadian.
Sometimes I feel like African-American/Canadians/Blacks are trying so hard to maintain their individual culture, which has slowly been being invaded by others, that they don’t recognize that by secluding themselves this way, they might be in fact creating a situation that they fought so hard to get out of for too long.
Their ancestors fought so hard to diminish segregation, and the whole idea of keeping certain people classed certain ways because of race/skin colour seems a step back to me. I feel that society had reached a point (a very shaky unbalanced place, but we got there) on the ladder towards equality, and now individual races may be working against that. Perhaps even taking a step or two down the ladder.
Case in point, I saw a story about how a large University in the states was holding a separate Graduation Ceremony for it’s black students and for some reason the black student body felt that was great. How? When you’ve been fighting to be seen as equal for so long, how would you see being viewed in a separate light as a win? I dunno, to me it just seemed like a step back, that for some reason they were so proud of.
I have no idea the thinking or reasoning behind it, but to segregate a group of students from their classmates based on skin colour to celebrate an achievement that they reached together seems like a downgrade. 4+ years of hard work together, studying, partying, growing friendships across cultural boundaries, only to be told that come Graduation you’d be celebrating apart because of your skin?
What a pity.
As for myself, yep my skin is white. In the summer it tans and in the winter I look like a pale ghost. But I’m still me. I’m a mother of two who is doing her best to find herself in this confusing world. And in doing so, I will do my best to not judge others over something they have no control over.
Do I judge others? Of course.
If you make a stupid decision or act like a fool, in my head I will judge you. But that’s your life and those are your choices. As for me, based on what I see from you, I will either choose to either associate with you or not based on your CHOICES. Never on skin tone, or lack thereof. I chose my friends carefully, not because we were born in the same country or even the same neighborhood, but because our thoughts aline and we make similar choices and decisions.
I don’t care what colour your largest organ is. I’m more concerned about the hypothetical colour of your heart.
-Michael Jackson/Black or White-