November 10, 2015

The slant of everything these days

I am pretty sure I am not going to articulate this in the best way. I suspect it will take a writer smarter. And more talented than I to express these thoughts clearly. Please bear with me as I try.

My identity, my sense of self, has absolutely nothing to do with the color of my hair, my eyes, or my skin. When I look at my mug in the mirror I don't see a white guy, I see me. I don't think of other people in that context either. I met a dozen people yesterday. I cannot tell you the color of any eye I looked in to. I'm not positive I could tell you the color of customer two or three's hair -- dark. I will not lie and tell you I am color-blind to skin tone, but I saw various shades and hues from pasty white to tan to mocha. So what? Some had on white shirts, some blue.

I am not defined by being white. If asked to describe myself I would say American, father, husband. My skin pigmentation is far down on the list. I suppose that is why I find the intense focus on race in every political and social discussion so distasteful. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Similarly, not everything has a racial component. Little Billy's cowboy costume on Halloween does not mean he secretly desires to wipe out Native Americans. Maybe, just maybe, criticism of President Obama could be rooted in his policies not the color of his skin.

People say we need to have a discussion on race. I think that is all we talk about. I maintain that if melanin is the basis of every thought, interaction, and discussion you have, then you have the race problem, not me.

I'm sickened by those who claim to revere MLK, yet do everything in their power to keep his dream of a colorblind society from coming true. Tell me how hiring a person just because she is black-skinned is any different than giving that job to someone because they are not.


Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

There is a big difference between what MLK preached and what his successors have wrought. I doubt that MLK would have been a fan of what affirmative action has turned out to be.

Dan O. said...

(again, as it is more often than not, I am behind in reading & therefor commenting beyond the expiration date of blogosphere relevancy, but it's never stopped me from dropping my $0.02)

Couldn't agree more, Joe. I respond to the person not their skin color.

A few months ago a co-worker & I were talking and she started saying something about imagine being the only black person in our company of about 50 employees. Even as she was speaking I was trying to picture who the hell she was talking about. When she finished, I even asked her, "Who are you talking about?" After she told me, I said, "Oh, yeah." I think of her as a co-worker. Not a black co-worker.

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