Not Normal

For kids of different colors. Slogan "It doesn't Matter if you are black, etc.. or normal"

This is a response to Putting the white into multiculturalism

I hate when people say they are colorblind. You do too see color, quit lying! It’s a damn shame that many people would rather make things homogenized than celebrate the diversity of the human experience.

I personally love being in spaces with people from a multiplicity of backgrounds. I feel like when people see all kinds of different people around them they become more humble, more open, and more likely to be receptive to each others experiences.

I am going to admit to feeling a little-bit of that hurt feeling of exclusion when I hear the term POC or WOC, because it is a word that does exclude me. It makes me feel like I must be colorless, blank, clear. But I try to just acknowledge that feeling and move on, because I know how important those terms are–as well as my exclusion from them–to people who need to feel proud of their identity and heritage.

I think it’s a damn shame that white people tend to be so ignorant of our heritage(s). If they did a little research, they might learn that most of Europe was once a collection of Pagan tribes living off the land–until they were brutally enslaved and stripped of their culture by the Romans. Thousands of years of religious and cultural oppression can twist people badly. (Serfdom, enforced Christianity, Witch Trials, etc…)

Those with Irish heritage, in particular, might learn how Saint Patrick “drove the snakes into the sea”. (Thousands of pagans committed suicide rather than convert to Christianity.) How marriage was illegal without the lord’s sanction, leading to the tradition of “jumping the broom,” a tradition that they shared with their fellow black slaves: after the Potato Famine (which would not have been a famine if the British weren’t shipping all of the edible food overseas) forced many into debt-slavery in the New World.

Understanding that my heritage included such abuse helped me deal with my feelings of white guilt. Seeing slavery and institutionalized racism from the context of a (mentally) enslaved people perpetuating their own oppression, I could compare it to a child abuse victim duplicating their own abuse.

Still NOT OKAY. But maybe something that can be understood and healed.

I hope.

10 Comments

  1. I see where you are coming from on this. But to tell you the HONEST truth, I AM colorblind, and it’s no lie. I swear when meeting someone, or even just looking around, what I see is PEOPLE. Humans. It never occurs to me what their color or nationality or heritage might be. It just doesn’t register with my brain. I see what is in their eyes and not the shape of them, I see beyond the skin to see the soul, I don’t notice what color it is. I am an American by birth, and my birth record says causcasian, but I can trace my lineage of record to Native, Irish, English, Dutch, Mexican and African, so really, what color does that make me?

  2. That makes you a mutt, my favorite breed of human 🙂

    It also sounds like you are someone who is assumed to be white by society. As such, you can afford the privilege of calling yourself colorblind–turn your soul-o-scopic vision down and ask your brown-skinned friends if they are ever allowed to forget that in this country they are considered “black” (or whatever race they are pegged as.)

    As for me: I can’t see souls, but I sure can read expressions.

    • I don’t understand why I am seen as “white” by society. I have as much, if not more, “red” and “brown”. A white woman I know (of German descent), married a black man and they had children. She says her children are considered “black”, eventhough they are fully half black. They see themselves as black, but yet they live and socialize in a white society. So you’re telling me that my brown-friends look upon the world in terms of what color they themselves are as well as what color others are as well?

      • I told you to ask them lol! Without knowing your friends, I would say that color is probably a facet of how they see themselves, others, and a lens through which they gauge others reactions to them. The thing about privilege is that you don’t notice it from inside it, but from the outside , it is glaringly obvious. I don’t know a POC who hasn’t been pulled over for “driving while black/brown” or given that extra stare in the store like they’re going to steal something, wondered if race was a factor in not getting that job or that promotion…
        By the same token, when I go into POC spaces I am faced with a wealth of judgements of me based on my appearance, while the people I make friends with are the ones who take the time to try to see my soul.

        Having no idea what you look like, I can’t speak on why you are taken for white. My daughter is part black, and I believe that she is taken for white by whites, while blacks see her African heritage. Everyone falls in love with her curly red hair.

        The origins of why your friend’s children identify as black–have no choice other than to identify as black, really, in this culture, lie in the slave ships where the crew would rape the women and then sell their own mixed-race children into slavery. Race-based slavery was the most evilly brilliant idea–a white slave could run away and blend in, but a black slave would stand out wherever he/she went. With Jim Crow and more subtle forms of racism still institutionalized into society, it’s pretty hard to escape.

        For many years POC who could “pass” for white would to gain white privilege–although it often meant they would lose their communities. And then even within communities of color, what shade you are is a big deal. For years people who were more “light” were considered more beautiful–and then with the black power movement it swung the other way to some extent–but light skinned folk are still given more privilege in American Society as a whole.

      • I apologize for any assumptions I may have made about you.
        It’s just that the weight of our history lays heavily on the present. You forget your past at your peril.

  3. No offense taken or noticed. I admire your raw honesty and your conviction. By the way, I asked a friend who is hispanic about the whole white privilege thing. Her answer was “the reason others don’t forget about it, is because often people of color don’t forget about it themselves. There is such a thing as reverse racism.” So there you have it. Her views probably aren’t common enough, but she’s an amazing person.

    • Thank you 🙂

      Oh I definitely believe in reverse racism.

      I’m not sure that I see the value in “color blindness” Yes I want people to approach me and judge me by the content of my character, rather than by the color of my skin, but I would find them to be disingenuous if they didn’t notice it’s color. My race, both as it’s percieved, and as I understand it, is a part of my identity, and I don’t think that you could *see* me, without including it in the picture.

      There’s a big difference between: “I don’t judge people by their race” and “I don’t see people’s race.” One acknowledges that you do, in fact, notice the color of their skin and have some awareness of the cultural ramifications and history that they most likely bring to the table, while still not passing judgment on that person. The other denies that background, denies the need to have that understanding. When you say: “I don’ see color” that last sentiment is what I, and many others hear, although I think you mean the former.

  4. I see, and I guess you’re right, otherwise I would not have been able to tell my white german friend married a black man. Gotcha.

  5. 🙂

  6. … hey, enjoyed reading this on a long aimless surf … thought you might dig these thoughts on the word “mulatto” …

    http://ackeeloverchronicles.blogspot.com/2009/10/brown-babies-and-beasts-of-burden.html

    One Love


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