Jul 9, 2016

Skin Tone

When you look at me what do you see? 
Do you guess my age?
Wonder where I'm from?
What I'm like as a person?
My ethnicity?

The last thing you would guess would be me being biracial.

My mother is white and my father is black.
I grew up in an Air Force home and would always see my parents with diverse friends. I was in girl scouts, mom did daycare and I was always surrounded by a diverse group of kids. I never judged people on their skin tone. In fact, I was oblivious as a kid growing up to the issues with people profiling someone for their skin tone. With my mom and dad being an interracial marriage I never thought of it being an issue for others to judge someone on their skin color. Let alone think of them as a threat to my safety while walking past them day or night if I'm alone or with friends.

I used to live in Upstate New York in middle school before moving back and was bullied by kids online sending me racist comments saying things about my ancestors picking cotton and being hung up a tree like apples. I was in 5th grade. I moved away after 7th grade and moved back to Upstate New York to start High School. With a majority of the students in my High School being white I would sometimes get mean comments from my peers saying I'm not black enough to even be considered half black because my skin color is so light. 

I've had numerous jobs where co-workers would say racist comments about black men, in particular. Many would say things not knowing my father is black. I would let them continue to say these mean comments enough to show me who they are as a person before I would tell them about my ethnicity and family.

When I do tell them I typically get these annoying responses. 
Oh, really? I didn't know...
I don't believe you, do you have a picture? 
But you don't look black.
You're too light to be black.
I used to work at the drive-in theater around town there and my boss at the time who knew my father was black would actually say to my face racist comments about men and kids who are black. His reason for hating them? He was beaten up by them in High School.
Hmmm. Wonder why sir. 

With people not knowing my background I quickly learn how racist or judgmental some people are. They unknowingly let it be known within the first few times I meet or conversate with them.
Here's the most recent incident.

I was told by a white female coworker who I was just starting to know and wanting to befriend.
She was talking to me about a defense class she was taking and what tips and tricks she learned from the instructor. She then said, "Even with knowing these moves, how am I supposed to protect myself from a 250Ib black man coming after me?"

I'm pretty sure my facial expressions said WTF lady.
I instantly lost respect for her. Why of all things would you feel the need to say a black man?
I hear this so many times and I'm always disgusted by the person.
Why not a 250Ib white man?
or any weight?
Why not a woman?

Let's go to Google. 

Google image male serial killers and look at the ratio between blacks and whites.
Google image female serial killers and look at the ratio between blacks and whites.

If you think about it, society has taught us how interesting serial killers are in their methods of being a serial killer. How they chose their victim, why they kill them a certain way and how they dispose of the bodies. They make movies and TV shows about them or inspired by them. We know they're dangerous but we think with the shows and movies that it's cool and people have become desensitized to it.

Society has also taught us to first think when seeing a 250Ib black man or any black male in general as a threat. This mindset is wrong and causes judgment that doesn't need to be there. Young black men grow up being taught to be careful when walking near cops so they won't get into trouble compared to a white man who doesn't need to give it a second thought about walking past a cop.
I have family members who have experienced this discrimination growing up being falsely arrested, looked down on for dating the opposite race as them and many more things they have faced.

Do you have Netflix?.... Yeah, you do. Sign into your account, use your friend's account, I don't care how you watch it but go watch Chelsea Does on Netflix and watch the episode on racism. A lot of what she talks about shows you how stupid and narrow-minded people still are today.

My message with this is that I want you to be more open-minded and less judgmental of the person sitting next to you. I want you to look past skin tone and see them for who they are as a person. not what society has labeled them as. They have hopes, dreams, fears and goals just like you. 
Why not just say, hello? 

Sade' Paige

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