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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Flying above racism

My whole life I have been saying that I do not see color I see people. In fact, if you ask me to describe someone I do not include skin color unless you ask me. I thought I was doing the right thing. I thought I was doing the right thing until today when I learned in my social psychology class something different. Not simply taking the word of a fellow classmate, I did some research and found something very interesting. I read an article called Racism in Retreat by John McWhorther at He advised that when I say that I do not see color that I am negating a person's identity. What he actually wrote was Say to someone,"When I look at you, I don't see color" and you "deny their ethnic experiences."

Give it some thought. It makes sense. I mean, if I see the person, I see their skin, right? When I said that I do not see color, I meant that I do not differentiate between people of different colors. But I do, don't I? It is natural. I discuss hair and other specific cultural issues with my African American friends and other things with my other friends. I do pay attention.

It is, if nothing else, an interesting topic for discussion. You do not have to agree with me. Just know that from now on, I will admit that I see color. I see color for what it is a beautiful thing that reflects the tapestry, history, and experiences of the world.


Anonymous said...

It's been a long time since I've been on the blog, but when reading this, I really wanted to ask a question I have always wanted to ask, but have been afraid to... If you are a person of color(what I grew up being taugh it was black), is it correct to say that all people that appear black to me are African American? What if they are British, or Hatian, or from the Dominican Republic or someplace else, is this the correct reference? Is it ok to say black? I'm afraid to refer to anyone's color these days because I'm not sure of the political correctness of any term I may use. So I stay neutral and don't meniton it.

Is this wrong, I don't think so. I like people, and it doesn't make a difference to me of the ethnic backround. No on asks if I am Italian or Polish? Well, I'm both, but does it matter? I don't think so. I'm also brought up Catholic. Again, who cares? What I do care about is the individual, and I do care about thier ethnic backround because I do value their history, no matter who they are, but it doesn't affect if they are a friend of mine or not.

I don't want to offend anyone with my comments, but I truly don't understand what the correct way to refer to someone of color is. Don't judge me because of my lack of knowledge about each individual I meet. I'm still getting to know them and I'm interested no matter what color they are on the outside.

doretha said...

Thank you for your question. It is not correct to say that all people of color are African Americans. Some people get offended if you call them Black. The key is to call them by their names, get to know them, and inquire about their heritage later. I used to think that it did not make a difference, but it does. It is important to recognize a person's ancestry. And I agree, it is difficult to know what it is by outside appearances.

I guess in general conversation you could refer to someone as a person of color. Fortunately or unfortunately, people have their individual preferences.

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