Racism

The days we live in seem to be heated with accusations of “racial profiling,” of “racism,” and the many uses of “racial slurs,” and “race terms.” It’s enough to make me want to race in the other direction.

I’m so tired of hearing about “race.” Why is it so friggin important what “race” any person is? How does that make a difference in who or what I am, but to differentiate how you want to perceive me based on stereotypes created by narrow-minded and ignorant people throughout history. And no matter how hard people try to eliminate racism, we will always have it to some extent.

Have you looked at almost every application and form you have to fill out? Almost every single one of them asks for your race. It frustrated the hell out of Hubby the other day when he called a doctor’s office to make an appointment. Through all the intake questions the woman was asking him, the one that stymied him was the question about race. This was (and I kid you not…) the conversation on the phone:

Secretary: And what is your race? White? Latin? Black? Asian?

Hubby: Latin.

Secretary: And would that be White-Latin, or Black-Latin?

Hubby: Neither.

Secretary: Well, the form asks if you’re a white Latin, or a black Latin? Which would it be?

Hubby: Well, I’m certainly not a black Latin; and I’m not a white Latin, either. You know that color of coffee when you put cream in it? That’s me. I’m more of a “Caramel” Latin.

Secretary: We can only choose White-Latin or Black-Latin. There’s no Caramel-Latin… Uh… What color are you in the winter?

Hubby: *sigh* White.

Hubby and I were discussing this conversation the other morning. He couldn’t get over the use of the terms “White” and “Black.” He said they should properly be labeled “Caucasian” and “African American” to be politically correct. But I couldn’t quite agree with him, because though “Caucasian” is a race, not all “white people” are Caucasian. Caucasians (also known as Caucasoids) are from Europe, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and Western, Central, and South Asia (as opposed to Mongolians). And technically, “African American” is not a racial type – it’s more of a nationality. Then again, “American” isn’t just a nationality, it’s also a race if your speaking about Native Americans (which would be considered Indian; but not Indian to be confused with Eastern Indians [from India] because they’re considered Asian… are you cross-eyed yet?).

But then, using the terms White and Black? And Yellow? Perhaps it would be better if we more specifically identify ourselves by Pantone numbers!

I just can’t understand why any racism exists anymore. My parents taught me to look at people – not the color of their skin. It’s 2013, for crying out loud, not 1013 (and I often wonder if they really were racial at that time, because they didn’t get around as much).

So I thought about the whole situation even more when I came across an article on Ebony in which a Black [sic] woman wrote to her White [sic] woman friend on facebook when her friend mention she “was a little ‘sensitive’ on matters of race.”

Then it dawned on me. The issue is not (or should not) be about race. The issue is much larger than that – it’s about “differences.” But let me explain a little further.

The poor are looked down upon by the rich (even within race), gays are looked down upon by straights (and sometimes the other way around – the “straights” referred to, with disdain, as “breeders”), Protestants and Catholics look down on each other, different religions look down on each other – each one supposing they’re the correct one, and the healthy look down on those with “disabilities.” Do you see the commonality?

As a gay man, I’m no stranger to discrimination in the past (and still experience it in the present), but it’s not because of race. It’s because I’m seen as someone who is “different” (FAAAAbulous, but “different” *snap*snap*snap*).

People need to realize that there are differences in the world, be it in the color of our skin, in the way we love, in the state of our health, in our fiscal solvency, or in the way we worship. We can’t change it. But we can label it properly. Let’s stop calling it “racism” or “homophobia” or “sexist.” Let’s call them (and all the other words we use) by their right name: Ignorance. Plain and simple.

This world would be a much better place if we just embraced the differences in each other (as well as ourselves). When you look at another person, look at them for who they are (on the inside – not the outside). We were all taught the old adage when we were little – we’ve all heard it. “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” Perhaps we should begin living those words as a Truth.

<Stepping off soap box…>

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