Not White

Race issues and research has long piqued my interest.  If you asked me why, I’m not sure I could really tell you. Not in any way that could justify my deep sensitivity to it.

I am, after all, considered “white”. Maybe privileged. Definitely, untouched by things that people of color must deal with constantly.

Maybe, I just answered that question right there.

Because, I’m not white.

In fact, my Sweetgirl, at all of five years old, will proclaim that for all the world to hear. You can count on it.

Just a few weeks ago, in fact, we were filling out a form at the doctor’s office. She was very interested in what the questions were.  “What does that one say?” she repeatedly asked.

“This one is asking if you are black or white or…”

She interrupted me to ask, “What am I?”

That threw me for a loop!

“You are white.” I replied.

“No, I’m NOT!” she practically shouted.  “I am peach-ish!”

Yes.

Exactly.

And when you, census people and questionnaire creators, insist that I label myself as color-less, I don’t like it.

Why can’t I just be… human?

The US Census Bureau, in fact, asks those of us who live in the United States, to define ourselves as to our origins.

I don’t know about you, but my “origin” is in sin.  And, thank God, I don’t have to identify myself that way any more!

And when you, academics and activists, label my neighbor from India, and my small group sister from Vietnam, and my fellow soccer mom who’s skin is the color of coffee as a “person of color”, I don’t like it. Because, you imply that there is a social relationship amongst all of them that excludes me.

When I message my friend “of color” to ask her about the new book she’s reading, I’m pretty sure we already have a social relationship. And, it has nothing to do with my pale skin and her dark skin.

Friendships are not an either/or arrangement. They are a both/and.

Humanity is not either/or. Humanity is AND.

Labeling us European or African American, Native American or Asian, Alaska Native or Native Hawaiian, draws a line in the sand. It makes delineations that certainly hold value for some demographic reasons. But, really?  It seems more to serve the divisiveness than to serve unity.

I know you have your reasons. Some of them make sense to me. Most of them, though, do not.

You, over there, have color. You, right here, don’t.

Because, let me tell you, I have plenty of color! My neck is red in parts, my thumb can be green on occasion, and just ask my Sweetman about my language in my less-than-stellar moments. Colorful.

I am never white.

Even when I see a ghost.

Which I never have.

If I did,though, I’m fairly certain I’d be a very pale shade of peach. Maybe even cream.

But not white.

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “Not White

  1. I’m laughing a little too much to type on my phone… Your opinion is right, you’re peachish, and you’re funny as …heck. And I bet when you’re mad you’re Crimson ☺️

  2. My thought exactly, Missy. I too am peachy and in the summer I become a little darker peachy or sometimes pink (or bright red if I’m not careful). I think that qualifies me as someone WITH color, anyway. And by the way, black people aren’t black, they are brown (varying shades) mostly, with black hair. Our race…the Human race! Just saying…

    • Becca Jo… Sisters from another mister, I tell ya. Yup. Read as a tomato when working out and waaayyyy spotty when in the sun. 😉

  3. I’m peach with brown spots, so I’m not sure what that makes me. On paper, it sounds a little like my neighbor’s dog. 😦
    I grew up in NCY and my friends were divers; let’s just say that. As a child, I never realized our whole country wasn’t quite so ethically hodgepodge. If you look at pictures of me and my childhood friends, it looks like a meeting at the UN. My husband thinks I grew up on Sesame Street.
    Like your daughter, the whole race question never made sense to my kids, because no one is really pure white and there are so many shades in between. I love that we have a God that enjoys color.
    ~FringeGirl

  4. About a year ago I discovered a blogger friend, Redneck Garage, who declared that on every form he fills out that asks for Race, he writes Human. Ever since I read that, I do the same thing. — or leave it blank.
    I love the outrage of your little one! 🙂

  5. thank you for sharing your thoughts in a lovely clear way…our day to day lives go so much more smoothly when we don’t differentiate and decide about a person based on outside appearance… but rather living willing to view only the inside. The bottom line is if God viewed us on the outside only, what a mess he would see, but rather he looks at the heart, the true essence of his creation and smiles. And we as his children can certainly do the same, and when we do…. miracles happen 🙂

Your Thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s