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.
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.