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Earlier today, I came across a video on my Facebook feed, where Stacey Dash stated that TV channels like BET and celebrations like Black History month should be eliminated. She stated she felt this only helped to further segregate our nation and ultimately only perpetuated a battle that has been waging in our country for decades. I have to say I am inclined to agree with her.
One of the reasons race continues to be a factor, and as I have told Alecia several times, is because of the constant conversation surrounding it. Rather then being able to look at an image or overhear something that’s been said, often times the individual immediately analyzes the content to determine if it’s appropriate or not, and if they deem it inappropriate then they feel the need to raise their voice about the issue, regardless of whether the meaning they perceived was what was intended.
Frankly, it’s getting out of hand, especially when you have people who decide they should be offended for the supposed target of the image or conversation, disregarding completely that some wouldn’t find it offensive it at all, and thus the conversation continues, and we continue to elevate the matter of race, instead of de-elevating it so that the conversation switches to other, more important matters, like poverty or integration. Our society will never truly integrate as long as we choose to place importance on the color of skin, and use it as an excuse or a tool to rationalize the outcome/choices that we disagree with.
At the end of the day, racism will never truly vanish from the world, until we decide to stop making it an issue. We all know that internally we are the same. We have the same parts, the same organs, and the same blood, and yet we still insist on focusing on the outside, on the color of skin, despite knowing why varying skin color exists, and worse is we decide to make that a reason to justify the things we do or try to use that to rationalize and blame other individuals for their actions and choices.
Race isn’t a conversation we should be having anymore. It’s integration, and the abolishment of the negativity associated with varying skin types that should be our focus, but instead we have things like BET, affirmative action, and Black History Month to name a few that perpetuate segregation and feed into the importance of race. And while it is true that BET does recognize and give awards to candidates that aren’t black, the very reason it exist was in response to another network refusing to air music videos created by black artists, again, perpetuating segregation and not integration. And while several would say it was merely a means to fight back in response to oppression, can we really sit here and say that two wrongs make a right? No, I don’t think so.
Tell me, at what point will we stop the conversation about race? When will we stand up and see that things of importance are deemed important because you make it so?
Honestly, with the history of our nation, and our current situation, my bet, is never.
Despite the fact I was born in the mid 80’s and racism wasn’t as prevalent during those times, as a child I still faced it every day.
My sister and I had to walk to take a bus to school which meant waiting at the bus stop and dealing with the Mexican children who thought they were better than us because we were black. Add that to the fact that I was mixed and had a hard time identifying with either of my racial backgrounds, being happy with my racial and cultural background was quite difficult, so difficult in fact that most days I wished I was white.
It’s true growing up during those times was significantly easier than what they were in the 70’s, but having to deal with kids throwing rocks at you because of what they perceived you were racially, made it difficult to be proud of my heritage.
It didn’t make it any easier to know that I just wasn’t black enough and I was considered ugly to my Asian relatives because my skin was too dark. As a result I spent the majority of childhood trying to fit in and desperately wanting to be accepted, even if it meant kissing ass or committing heinous acts because one of the “cool” kids told me I should.
Half of my childhood, I can say I don’t recall and I wonder if it’s due to the fact that my mind needs to repress memories that hurt too much to think about.
Now as an adult, while I can understand that as a child, mentality, I would never have been able to grasp that I was selling my soul and trading my dignity for a fleeting moment of bliss, I can’t help but be ashamed of who I was.
In some ways, I wish that I had been stronger and more courageous, but in other ways I know those trials helped me to be who I am today: strong, resilient, unwavering.
I can’t say that if I have children their trials will be any easier nor can I say that things will be different and the racism I faced will no longer exist. I can’t even promise that they won’t face the identity crisis and racial shame I experienced, but what I can say is that despite how they feel, what they think, or what they face, they are not alone.
I only wish there was someone who was around to make me feel the same.