Today I filled out an application in which I had to choose my race by filling in a circle next to whichever one I am. I decided to choose "other." I am not sure what compelled me to do so, but sometimes I just want to be “other.” I have always filled in the "Caucasian" circle, but today I felt different.
I am tired of being defined by the color of my “white,” sometimes “red” or “tanned,” skin. We are all taught to not talk about those things. Yes, this country is filled with racist people. People who have prejudice based on preconceived opinions not based on reason or experience. Those people fall on all sides of the color wheel.
After doing further research, I found that it has been determined by others that only “white” people can actually be racist. The definition I read explained that "prejudice plus power" equals racism. It is said that white people yield the most power and thus they are capable of racism.
I think everyone is capable of racism and prejudice. Adding who controls what into the equation just furthers racism and prejudice. Let’s take responsibility for our actions instead of defining who has the most power. If we continue to distinguish between skin color, we are all in fact prejudice.
The desire to turn us against one another is done so often, and in the slightest ways, that we as a society have perpetuated this debacle. I call it the “circle factor.” You know, those circles I referred to above that are on every application that you have to fill in or mark with your race. I often look at the circle and wonder what would happen if I filled in Hispanic. My married last name could be Portuguese. What if I filled in the circle for Native American? I am sure some percent of me could be Native American. I wonder if my life would be different, if doors would have opened for me, instead of me having to push through them. What if all it took was filling in a different circle?
I wonder what it feels like to color a circle that may give you an advantage based on nothing more than heritage. I know when I fill in the circle for gender, I wonder if I'm getting the job because they have a quota to fill, or because my resume was better? I wonder if these circles aren’t cementing a philosophy that needs to be erased.
You see, we are constantly reminded of race. It is something that divides us because we are still identifying it on every application we fill out. If I have white skin, does that mean that I am going to pay my bills or that my life was easier? If you have two people that have the same resume, should color determine who gets the job? Does color count more than ability and drive and who this person is? Does the circle set you up for failure or success? I frankly think it is time to erase the circle. It should be what people see when issues are engaged in. Your resume should speak louder than your race. I think that circle should be removed from the application. While we’re at it, let’s also remove male and female. It should not be a contributing factor.
The proof is in the pudding. As a society we are still divided. We are still giving one group something over another based on what? We still define one another by race. Not what makes up the person. The proof to me was in one of the first comments I received on my article, "A Flag Worth Burning."
I wrote about the flag being defaced. The commenter said that I was racist because this specific President's face was on it. I would have written the article if my mother's face was on the flag. I do not want a face on the flag unless it's on a t-shirt. I honestly wasn't sure how we went from; I do not want someone screen-printed on the American Flag to I am racist. I still do not see the connection between a flag with an image, and me wanting to preserve our flag, to me not liking people. I didn't agree with something that had to do with the President, and all of a sudden I was a racist. How about I am just a person that didn't agree! I am frankly tired of being accused of racism because I disagree with the President.
Why does the fact that the color of our skin matter so much? Why can't I just not like something without someone pointing a finger and saying you do not like people of different races? I guess perhaps that is their issue and not mine. I am often a victim of what I would call “reverse racism.” It got me thinking, how did we get to a place of "us and them".
It is not the color of our skin that defines us, it is the content of our character. If people continue to make such judgments of others, then we are furthering our divide instead of increasing our cohesiveness. We are more than circles on a paper, and we should be appalled that we are still characterized by society continually placing us in those groups.
On our minds:
- Unorthodox Portrays Religion in an Uneven Light
- Raising Biracial Children in an Increasingly Interracial World
- Is Octavia Spencer's Oscar Win a Win for Black Women?