Dear people, this is new and out of my comfort zone. But when you know you’ve been pushed along to share your story you must obey and do so. So here goes…. I hope this starts a new conversation between you and I. I hope it helps with opening discussion amongst neighbors, co-workers, family, and friends. We all can learn from one another, and unless we have an open race conversation, we will continue to have hatred, harden hearts and hurt. It’s ok to talk about race issues, and it’s ok to SEE COLOR. I SEE SKIN COLOR EVERY DAY!
Now, do understand something. I do NOT speak for the entire black race. I can only share my stories and my views. So, let me begin….I SEE COLOR! Yes, I see you are a white woman or white man. I see you are a black woman or black man. And I see you are a brown woman or brown man. And yes, I categorize you in one of those three. No, I don’t mean anything racist by it, it’s just facts. I may not know your exact Nationality or Ethnicity, but I can identify your skin tone as one of the three.
I’ve told you before that I meet and love meeting new people. It’s part of my life as a military wife. When I first see you, I see a white lady. I don’t know you; I don’t know anything about you. All I know is I’m standing at the bus stop with a group of white ladies and one brown woman. As time goes by, we begin to chat, and introductions begin. Hmmm….I’m not going to remember ten different names. It’s just not going to happen. But, what I do remember is…..white lady that said she’s from Texas. White lady with blue hair and a bit edgy. White lady that loves yoga. White lady that I kept trying to figure out how much she worked out cause I kept looking at her arms and back (most definitely my pre workout days. lol). Ok, got it! And yes, this is a real encounter here. Stay with me.
Me identifying these ladies as white does not make me racist. These ladies identifying me as the black lady with big hair doesn’t make them racist. But so many people are afraid of color. So many people are quick to say, “I don’t see color. I will beg to differ. We ALL see color; it just DOESN’T Matter to most.
Look, let me be real with you. Most of the time I’m the only black lady in the group (and I’m going to talk about this in an upcoming post). And I always wait to see the responses and reactions when race comes up, cause it presents itself in many conversations.
And yes, I’ve brought it up purposefully at times. Why? I need to know your reaction. Will you be comfortable if you’re out with me and someone says something? Do you have my back if some uncomfortable situation arises? How open are you? I don’t have time for friends that are afraid to have open and honest conversations. It baffles me when people try to identify someone. In my mind I’m thinking…..just say, “black lady or black man.” We can narrow this down so much quicker if you Just Say It! But it’s rare that I find someone that’s just that comfortable.
That was until meeting one of my best friends(well, I consider her, she may want to throw me off a cliff). I met this lady during one of our many military moves. Boy oh boy. I didn’t like her when we first met. It had nothing to do with her being white. She just talked to darn much. She talks more than I do and I can talk. But, I love this chick. And I don’t think (ok, I know) she wasn’t a fan of me when we first met either. Two talkers at the same location, trying to meet others. Man oh, man.
But I can say that I’ve learned a lot from our open conversations, and I hope she’s learned a lot from me. We can ask questions, share experiences and not worry about offending one another. And no, it’s not like race comes in our conversations all the time, but we know we can ask one another questions and have candid conversations with one another. FOLKS, we NEED more of this! More open conversations, more listening to understand and not to try to up one on a race issue.
And parents, it’s ok that your child notices their little friend’s skin is darker or lighter than theirs. It’s ok for them to ask questions, it’s ok for them to talk about getting a tan and their skin getting dark like their little friends. When you hush the innocent conversations, and I hear you quieten it, my mind thinks there’s more said at home that is indeed racist talk. In most situations I do know it’s you just being uncomfortable, but why be uncomfortable about race?
Children are curious and mostly innocent. Hatred is learned. Which in today’s society means at home, school, playground, and media. If you are not having discussions at with your children about race and about accepting all people, then someone else will. This could mean them seeing racial tension unfold on TV and around them, someone else talking to them about hating or excluding others because of the color of one’s skin, etc.
Just because you wouldn’t tolerate it, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be a discussion. We talk to our kids about drugs and sex, right? So, why be afraid to speak to them about race!
Stay tuned, click subscribe in the sidebar, like my Facebook page or all of the above to be notified of future posts. One being about ways to open up race conversations with your kids. Cause we DO have this discussion in our home.
Know You, Be You, Love You
These are all my views and my opinions. I am not here to have a debate, just to share my 2 cents. I look forward to reading your comments rather you agree or not. Just be classy and respect my and other’s opinions as I will respect yours.
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Originally published at mamasandcoffee.com