I am a Caucasian woman, or “White” as it were. I have always found the term “White” mildly amusing. My skin is not actually white. It is more of a pink/peach hybrid. Except for in the dead of winter. Then I am the whitest and pastiest person that you ever did see.

My friend Kelly over at Mocha Momma (She is beautiful, no?) wrote an interesting post about race and people of colour. In email/Twitter conversations, I told her that I was befuddled at the whole “racism” thing (Hello! It’s 2008, you ignoramuses!), and that I had been stewing on a post about it. I promised her I would write one, so here I go.

As I stated above, I am White. Fair skin and blue eyes. I have brown hair, so I am not as pale as some white folks.

(Side note: Organizations that exclude people (and torment people) based on their skin colour? “In the name of God“? MAKE NO SENSE. Jesus (Son of God) was a Jewish man. No blonde hair or blue eyes to be seen. Maybe read the Bible that you claim to be doing things in the name of.)

Based on the white skin and blue eyes, I have never felt the brunt of racism. I have felt excluded from social circles due to the fact that I was chubby, and brainy, and a little clumsy, but never due to the colour of my skin.

I had friends, however, who did go through this unjustifiable judgment.

I grew up in Small Town BC (Small Town = Small Minds? Sometimes. At least in my experience). I was one who would befriend anyone who would hang out with my awkward self. In my youth I heard racial slurs against people in our community who came from a wide array of backgrounds. Native Indians (First Nations), Portuguese, East Indians, African Americans (African Canadians?). I did not partake of such slurs, but did not really stand up against them either. Which makes me just as guilty.

As I grew up, I met God (Lover of ALL), and distanced myself from people who spewed racial crap. My good friends in high school were a collection of beautiful people, with an large spectrum of different family heritages. I did not pick my friends based on the colour of their skin. I picked them based on the character of their heart.

In my early twenties I headed to Ontario to visit with extended family. Shortly after I was born (in Ontario), my parents moved to BC. My cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents were all Back East. I spent a week or so at my aunt’s house, then headed out to visit my Nana and Papa.

Nana and Papa were Good People. Always encouraging, always supportive, always full of love for me. They are no longer living, so I mean them no disrespect when I say that they were Racist with a capital R. It was how they were raised, I supposed. What was “normal” to them.

In the few short days that I spent with them, racial slurs and derogatory comments rolled off of their tongues as easily as their encouraging comments about their pride in me did. I will not relay what they actually said, as I do not think those phrases and terms need repeating. I was young, and naive, and stupid. I also had not seen them in ten years, and was really just getting to know them.

All I could do when they made such comments?

Was *blink* in shock that they actually said what they just had.

One point that I think is safe to share has a bit of irony to it. My Papa was from England. He was gruff, and LOUD, and had a rowdy English accent. He would get all riled up about “the immigrants”.

Um. He was from ENGLAND. WHICH WOULD MAKE HIM AN IMMIGRANT.

Seriously.

I spent the first half of my twenties in Vancouver, which is a great melting pot of cultures. Before meeting Matthew, I went on dates with guys from various backgrounds. Some were white, many were not. My criteria was simple. 1) Do they have a great heart? and 2) Are they HAWT?

I am so deep.

I guess what I am trying to say is that skin colour does not really register with me. I am not “legally” colour blind so I (of course) notice what the skin colour is of people I meet. Just as I notice their eye colour, their hair colour (and style!) and the shade of their lips. Also? Their shoes.

The external pieces all come together to form the unique and beautiful PERSON who is made up of all those parts.

I think the world would be a better place if people where no longer judged based on the colour of their skin, but rather judged on the character of their heart.

Don’t you?

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Comments:

  1. The Over-Thinker May 1, 2008 1:12 pm edit

    Fabulous post, Angella. And I think you should refrain from calling your skin pasty and instead call it PORCELAIN. (This falls into the same category as “women do not sweat, they glow”)

    And I never thought about the label of African-American working in other areas. Is it acceptable to say African-Canadian? I guess I would think so, but I don’t know.

    Also, your criteria for who you dated is AWESOME. You and I need to start a club called “Deep Women”–I’ll bring the margaritas and you bring the shoes.

    The Over-Thinker’s last blog post..Remind me to tell you about my accidental enthusiasm about a Strip Club…

  2. metalia May 1, 2008 1:35 pm edit

    Great, GREAT post. (Why am I not surprised?)

    metalia’s last blog post..Metalia: Setting Feminism Back Since 2008

  3. songsinblue May 1, 2008 1:36 pm edit

    AMEN Sista! :P

    songsinblue’s last blog post..Famous Last Words

  4. Hannah May 1, 2008 2:02 pm edit

    Yes, I do.

    Hannah’s last blog post..9 years ago

  5. Sharon May 1, 2008 2:03 pm edit

    Awesome! And I completely agree.

    I totally notice the eyes too. And oh my lanta are there ever some beautiful eyes out there in the male species. Yowza! ;)

    Sharon’s last blog post..More about South Africa

  6. mp May 1, 2008 2:10 pm edit

    Great post! I agree with so much of what you wrote ( I came over from Kelly’s blog)
    Things of note:
    African-Canadian… LOL… That in itself is beautiful. I’m always screaming..”how do you know their ancesters came from Africa???”..
    You were mentioned “…Native Indians (First Nations), Portuguese, East Indians…” and my thought was…Portuguese? In my town they would be considered “white”.. Then I thought about it. How come people from Europe are considered “white”.. automatically? Why isn’t there an Italian American, French American, Spanish American?? You can be half Italian and half British..live in MO and be considered white.. or heck, even Greek..who may times have darker complections..
    My parents are like your grandparents. My dad has a horrible issue w/ people from Japan, since he fought them in WWII. I can understand that and give him some liberties and don’t call him out.. but then he lumps the entire Asian community in a ball… and I just shake my head. At 88 though it’s REALLY hard to teach an old dog new tricks. I just keep my mouth shut or say, “DDDAAAADDDD that isn’t very nice”..

    mp’s last blog post..Photo A Day for May – Day One

  7. witchypoo May 1, 2008 2:19 pm edit

    African-Canadian, Native Canadian, they all work, although Native folk generally refer to themselves as Indians. They are a humble sort mostly.
    My people come from an island culture, and I think xenophobia is more pronounced in insular communities. I was faced with the dilemma of not being allowed to question my elders and still be silent when they mouthed racist comments. Now, my son uses the N word to rebel against me, because he knows how much it offends me.

    witchypoo’s last blog post..The Art of the Kamikaze Visit

  8. Melissa May 1, 2008 2:41 pm edit

    great post angella…if only more ppl would think that way :)
    i live in an area that is very cultural…much like that of vancouver and like you i don’t even see a difference anymore. i think it is good for our kids to grow up not thinking they are the only ppl (race) out there. my one issue is that for me, when my daughter starts school, because of the area we currently live in, she will most likely be the only ‘caucasian’ kid in her class. and for me i’m not sure that i am okay with that. is that wrong?

  9. Kami May 1, 2008 3:01 pm edit

    Seriously?

    I couldn’t agree more.

    My husband’s family sometimes makes comments that make my blood boil that would certainly be considered racist.

    What you said about ignoramusus! I second that:-)

    Great post!

    Kami’s last blog post..There’s a BUZZ around here

  10. margot May 1, 2008 3:05 pm edit

    Absolutely! Amen! :)

    margot’s last blog post..ARGGHhhhh!

  11. Shalet May 1, 2008 3:20 pm edit

    Totally agree. Totally.

    Shalet’s last blog post..Love Thursday

  12. Mrs. Wilson May 1, 2008 3:44 pm edit

    AMEN SISTA!

    When I was growing up, my mom was EXTREMELY racist toward the natives. I guess you know exactly what I mean since you grew up around here too and know the attitude of a lot of hoity toity white people. I have to admit I gave in to it for a bit. When it’s all that’s shoved at you, and your whole family is that way, it kind of rubs off. Horrible, I know.

    Now? I have my own thoughts and ideas. They are quite similar to yours on this topic. And Jesus DID NOT look like Brad Pitt! haha

    Great post!

    Mrs. Wilson’s last blog post..Um

  13. Michele May 1, 2008 5:56 pm edit

    Amen! Awesome post!

  14. Robyn May 1, 2008 6:04 pm edit

    So true. Can you hear my standing ovation??! I was blessed enough to grow up with friends from a very wide variety of ethnic backgrounds and so coming back to Australia and hearing racist comments from my extended family, people who I loved was horrifying. Good post :)

    Robyn’s last blog post..Anzac Day 2008

  15. Robyn May 1, 2008 6:05 pm edit

    Oh, and my particular brand of “white” is more of a yellowish tint, with lots of freckles……your porcelain sounds much nicer! ;)

    Robyn’s last blog post..Anzac Day 2008

  16. Fred May 1, 2008 6:13 pm edit

    Thanks so much Angella, for writing about this. Agree absolutely. We need to open up on this.
    When people call themselves Christians and sound clearly racist, there’s something very wrong. I sometimes wonder what choice story Jesus would have told to show up the inconsistency. What a gift he had – for those of us who can afford to feel comfortable with him!
    I grew up in a thoroughly Christian family which was not racist although Mum could sometimes sound rather paternalistic – in her times that was quite common. I hope we “whites” also become less racist in time.
    In Oz, the lie of the land is a bit different from North America, with the original Aussies having HUGE problems and few other minorities that worry many people, We’re slowly (too slowly) working with them to chip away at their issues, but a long way behind where you folk are, as I understand it.
    As followers of Jesus we want to show the way here, not be part of the problem.

  17. christy May 1, 2008 7:27 pm edit

    Indeed I do agree. I feel so angry when I hear of the injustices done in the name of Christ. I’m so glad that He is our judge. I remember as a teen watching an episode of Ricki Lake about racism and I was literally yelling at the TV. I was shocked at the attitudes of some people.
    owell.
    All we can do is stand up for the Truth and show people the ture love of Jesus.
    I hate when I get in the way of that though.

    christy’s last blog post..huh?

  18. joyce May 1, 2008 7:43 pm edit

    loved this post.

    and seeing as i’m asian…i just have to say…

    1. i suck at math
    2. i don’t own any Hello Kitty paraphanillia

    p.s. i call my husband “round-eye”

    joyce’s last blog post..must be true love…

  19. Mocha May 2, 2008 4:56 am edit

    Oh! I first have to comment on the hilarity of Joyce’s comment. She’s brilliant.

    Since I’m black and white:

    1. I do own Hello Kitty paraphernalia
    and
    2. I like silver jewelry
    and
    3. I am obsessed with sushi

    Now, how’s that for not putting me in a box?

    Someone actually asked me this question which I answered in today’s post. Wouldn’t it be great if people saw the “chubby” or the “brainy” instead of colour first? (See, I can put an extra U in that word when I want to!) I asked a friend if she saw me as Black first and she said the nicest thing: Heck no! I see your pretty eyes and want to pull them from their sockets and keep them for my own!

    Wasn’t that nice of her?

    Thanks for writing this, Angella. So glad you did.

    Mocha’s last blog post..Hi, Can of Worms!

  20. Holly May 2, 2008 6:08 am edit

    Excellent post and I couldn’t agree with you more. Sometimes the world is 2008 and sometimes its 200 BC. Sad.

    Holly’s last blog post..Praying for a Miracle

  21. Mom Next Door May 2, 2008 7:18 am edit

    i was raised by my grandmother who grew up in the 30′s and 40′s and she, too, was Racist with a capital R. seriously, i would get in trouble for having friends of a different race than I (caucasion)- but, i quickly learned that i could be friends with anyone i wanted to at school! the only downside to that was- i couldnt invite those friends to my birthday parties. :( anyhow, it took a long time for me to understand that that was how my grandmother was raised as well. i dont think she ever meant any harm by it. but, she did what was normal for her. unfortunately, we see a LOT of that in the South. (here in America). luckily, however, i am strong-willed and stubborn and never listened! :)

    Mom Next Door’s last blog post..back to training

  22. slynnro May 2, 2008 8:04 am edit

    My grandparents were all uber Racist as well. Which makes you uncomfortable because a) being around racism is uncomfortable and b) it’s a bit difficult to call out your family members on their racism, especially grandparents. I’m from small town Texas, so ya know….

    And oddly enough, because of my unique name, if people hear my name before they meet me, they sometimes assume I am black. I’ve actually had people say “Oh, I was expecting you to be black!” Bad enough to make that assumption, so much worse to verbalize it.

    slynnro’s last blog post..A Collection of Things.

  23. Indygirl May 2, 2008 8:12 am edit

    I bow to your brillant writing and exquisite manner of expressing things. I’m joining Robyn in her standing ovation. Amazing amazing post. And yes, I agree 100%.

    Indygirl’s last blog post..Turbulent Thursday

  24. ali May 2, 2008 11:40 am edit

    great, great, great post Angella!
    i don’t know, i guess growing up Jewish…and learning about how the jews have been persecuted… (and having two grandparents who survived concentration camps)…i grew up believing that people are people. no matter what they look like. to the point where i don’t even notice. i have friends of all colors and cultures…and skin color doesn’t register with me either. :)

  25. Kerri Anne May 2, 2008 12:57 pm edit

    YES, indeed. Having grown up in a fairly small town, with plenty of fairly small minds, I saw my fair share of racism, and I’m sure it won’t be the last time I do. That being said, throughout my life I have also been consistently amazed at the compassionate and generous way people can treat others, without any regard to the color of their skin. The fact is, it shouldn’t be “amazing,” because it should be commonplace. Here’s to hoping one day it really, truly, is.

    Kerri Anne’s last blog post..Sisterhood Of The Traveling ‘Stache, An Update

  26. Lisa May 2, 2008 6:51 pm edit

    I do.

    My father knows better than to say some of his words in front of me….and moreover, my children.

    I have a bit of a temper and a big mouth. Which means everyone hears about it :)

    Lisa’s last blog post..Happy Birthday to me!

  27. Carolyn May 3, 2008 10:35 am edit

    Standing O from me. Great great post. I live in Vancouver, so I really know what you’re saying about being “colour blind”. I’d like to think I just don’t see the colour of a person’s skin. The only thing I care about is whether or not you’re an asshole! (Kidding). Oh, and amen on your criteria for dating men. Mine too. Good heart? Check. Hawt? Check.

    I think we should take a cue from our kids. My three-year-old was watching Yo Gabba Gabba the other day and I asked her what the main dude’s name was. I said… “you know, the African American guy.” She looked at me confused. So I said, “You know, the black guy. Er, the dark skinned man. Okay, the one who isn’t a fuzzy monster at the start of the show.” She still looked confused and then she said… “Ohhhh. Do you mean DJ Lance mama? He’s not Black! He’s Orange!!!”

    How much more pure does it get? DJ Lance always wears orange clothes. She didn’t even notice the colour of his skin. Now THAT’S colour blind.

    Great post Angella. Thanks for sharing.

    Carolyn’s last blog post..stop. signs. redux.

  28. Danica May 3, 2008 5:41 pm edit

    Good post. I’m always amazed at the number of racist jokes and comments I do hear these days – against natives.
    I had a very, very brief encounter with racism. I went to a school, for only one year, where the majority of students were east-indian. And well-off. In that school, all people who were white were regarded as “white trash”. Of course, we weren’t really being discriminated against in a real way. It never went beyond name calling. But I’ll tell you – it did not feel nice, or safe. My heart aches for all the people through history who have faced horror because of their race.

  29. Kristabella May 6, 2008 2:06 pm edit

    Amen!

    I have this same problem in my family and with my sister-in-law’s family. It was so bad one Xmas that they made me cry because they kept using the N word. And I got pissed and walked out.

    And I don’t understand how my mom could NOT be like that, and teach us to love everyone, yet her sister is the opposite and teaches her kids that. It is just so sad and wrong that people can be so ignorant.

    Kristabella’s last blog post..Good Times Guaranteed

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