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Colorblind: Racial Ignorance in America

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Though she knew she was breaking the law, Rosa Parks, a simple, elderly, hard working,
housemaid, one day decided she would not give up her seat on the bus for a white man. And with that small act of defiance, she became, unintentionally, a Civil Rights icon.
Parks never intended to be a popular and respected leader of this movement. She only wanted to be comfortable after a day of being on her feet. Parks was arrested, and with the media outrage that followed, America’s eyes began to open.
Sadly, that is a lie. America’s eyes have yet to open. They have steadfastly remained in darkness.

Being the youngest child of an interracial marriage, I am often asked if this relationship has affected me in any way. To be honest, I am rather offended by people who question me about this.




I am simply a teenage girl who chooses to ignore her parents' heritage, racial stigmatism, or any of the myopic, stereotypical prejudices one wishes to impose. That's their problem, not mine.
To be frank, you could not pay me enough to care what slave ship brought my fathers family from Ethiopia. Nor can I feel a pang of sorrow when relatives tell me of my ancestors' hardships when they immigrated to America. I know it sounds harsh. And yes, in a way, it bothers me. But, it is the truth.

I did realize that my father was the same color crayon in my crayon box, brown. But it hadn't occurred to me that he was African- American until the age of seven when a classmate asked, “Why doesn’t your daddy look like your mommy?” My initial reaction was to shake my head and argue that my father looked just like anyone else's father.
How could it could be possible that he was different. He coached my biddy ball team, sat through my two hour Christmas concerts, cooked when mom was away. At that age, some children have yet to learn the difference between doing and being.
That night, at dinner, I saw my parents differently. With my recent discovery, I slowly began to understand that I was biracial, and supposedly different, just like my dad.

As I grew older and went through Catholic school, teachers asked if I celebrated Kwanza. Some classmates called me cookie dough, and parents asked me about Black History Month.
No, I do not celebrate Kwanza, nor does my dad. In my opinion, Kwanza is a recently created black Christmas to build more of a barricade, to separate, not for reasons of heritage, or being different in a positive way.

I did, at one time, let people nickname me because of my skin color. My own mother even took the
liberty of calling me peanut butter. But now, since I have been questioning and thinking, being called peanut butter, Reese cup, and mocha bear, offends me. Or when people say that I am mixed, I feel like yelling. I am not a beverage, so how can I be mixed?

I believe Black History Month, along with other months dedicated to a specific group, should be prohibited. There is no need to focus on a particular group for an entire month. Instead, parents, teachers, and media should discuss historical interests throughout the year.
Historian, Carter G. Woodson’s original Black Awareness Week ,was intended to help others envision a better future through an identity of their past. But now, his vision has become a pop culture phenomenon, which corporate America has been quick to exploit. During the last Super Bowl, for example, several corporate commercials specifically mentioned Black History Month, and how much they honored it.
Another injustice of our nation is affirmative action. On September 24, 1965, the executive order number 11246 required federal contractors, “Take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, color, religion, sex, or
national origin.” With affirmative action, employers are being asked to hire less qualified workers and in some instances for more money. Title II of the Act prohibited discrimination in privately owned businesses and facilities opened to the public. In Title VI of the Act, it prohibited discrimination in federally funded programs. Title VII prohibited discrimination by both private and public employers. During the Civil Rights Era, affirmative action was created to abolish racial imbalances in hiring policies. Affirmative action was later extended to include college admissions and governmental contracts.

Today, affirmative action is a controversial matter facing our equal rights status of individual rights. As I have just recently explained, the idea and hope that affirmative action implemented was that America would truly become equal. So far, this hope and dream of equality has lasted thirty years and has yet to resolve any of our current problems concerning equal rights-it has made things worse. This act was created with intention of using reverse discrimination to resolve discrimination. With this, minority groups are being chosen over qualifications of other workers.

Affirmative action is also influential in the educational system. In some college admissions, minority students who may have never been accepted into a decent college, are now getting accepted. With this, the American people believe that this will end all racism on school campuses, creating diversity among students. The United States constitution states that all Americans are created equal. Therefore, I believe if we are created equal, shouldn’t we all have the same opportunity as everyone else?

Finally, Black Entertainment Television, commonly known as BET, creates a stereotypical outlook on the African American culture. Founded by Robert L. Johnson in 1980, the network showed movies, television series, and music to target an African American audience. BET justifies racism by pressing personal and broad generalizations about African Americans, affecting how many young viewers see the African American culture. Many generalizations include being womanizers, promiscuous, nuisances to society, and opposing integration.

This network contributes to the stereotypical diet of African Americans: fried chicken, cherry Kool-Aid, and soul food. BET also neglects the fact that most African Americans do not find people of Caucasian heritage as the bad guys or the nerds. Also, BET would like to portray the ‘injustices’ of being an American citizen who happens to be of African descent. For example, if one were to create a new television franchise called White Entertainment Television, or more commonly known as WET, people would assume it would be promoting white supremacy. BET exploits and manipulates the depiction of an African American’s daily life, which is why the network should be renamed or taken out of your basic cable lineup.

Why do Americans feel that they have conquered racism and prejudice? Granted, from that spark that Rosa Parks lit, to the election of Barrack Obama, is one giant leap for mankind. However, we are not even in spitting distance of erasing racial bigotry.

I notice it among my peers when they say, “I would never date a black guy.” Or, “They only like your dad because he’s the only black man they know.” Even, “I’m going through a black guy phase. I have to date one.”

When people mention things like these, intuition tells me it starts in the home. Where else would one learn behavior and comments of that nature? Social prejudice is not innate. It has to be predisposed. If one truly wishes to stop the idea of seeing race, it must start within themselves.



Join the Discussion

This article has 139 comments. Post your own now!

OniTennyo said...
Oct. 2 at 2:22 pm
I feel the exact same way, but I couldn't put it into words. It's nice to know that someone is out there who shares the same ideals as me.
 
NightVoiceThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
May 13, 2013 at 12:05 am
The problem with taking away cultural identity is only worsens the root cause of racism. We can't solve for discrimination simply by forcing everyone to see us as simply "human." It just not realistic. Besides, maintaining our culture, heritage, and all other things that come along with being "different" is necessary to have a greater sense of individuality. Like you say, it's "their problem" if they decide to single out your race. But I think that race and ... (more »)
 
joanna said...
Oct. 11, 2012 at 2:14 pm
so true this is still aproblem today in school and the sad part is that its not just agrainst colored people but its also with gay lesbian students talking behind other peoples back i just hope one day they realize the damage that they are doing to the person.
 
MiaUnwritten said...
Jul. 7, 2012 at 1:28 am
I believe your writing is beyond awesome to adress such a cause that is so true. Nobody has yet moved on from racism, there are still many discriminations that still takes place. I believe one day, I have faith tha the day when racism will be gone, I will still live to see it.
 
GABSALOTT96 said...
Oct. 13, 2011 at 6:21 pm
Right now, I'm getting more generalizations from this than anything. People have definitely wronged you and offended you before, and I'm not excusing that. But I think you've then placed these people in a group of those who just recognize and speak on the differences in culture. There's a lot of gems in everything, and from being around "Shaniqua's" and "Tyrone's" I can say that there's a difference between them and "Doug". Just because someone has the courage to have a question about the differ... (more »)
 
Pisforprofessor said...
Jul. 21, 2011 at 5:01 pm
And please excuse the double writing at the end of my comment.  I don't know how nor why it appears that way.   Again, continue with your writing!
 
silence21 replied...
Jul. 21, 2011 at 8:39 pm
Thank you very much for insight, and I will check my facts again. I believe this was written out of anger towards a teacher and ignorant friends at my school. Again, thank you.
 
Pisforprofessor said...
Jul. 21, 2011 at 4:58 pm

Young lady, continue with developing your writing by supporting your thesis with additional Concent Detail rather than commentary.   Concentrate on researching your thesis topic to the fullest in the areas of cultural and social injustices, American History outside of your Unified School Districts book company of choice,  and Civil Cases pro or con Affrimative Action so that your writings show substance to your opinion and/or stance. 

... (more »)

 
Rubio said...
Jun. 15, 2011 at 11:35 pm

Hi, 

I was very confused about the messages you put out in your piece. Some were black pride and some were very negative toward the black community. And to be honest boo, it hurts me so deep inside, when black people are not proud of their race.I'm reading the comments and I see you bringing up Polish people. Honey, native polish people look white. And let me put this in, being black isn't only about the color but the experience and the understanding of what it means to be black. ... (more »)

 
silence21 replied...
Aug. 8, 2011 at 5:15 pm

I myself do not have much, and I know people who are less fortunate, and yes, it is hard for people out there, I understand that. But,  the people I know have had horrible childhoods, and brought themselves out of the situation on their own.

Thank you for your comment, it is much appreciated.

 
andrewh93 said...
May 1, 2011 at 12:34 am

I agree with almost every point you've made here, and I think you're right. It's not often I see an article so convincing about reverse discrimination, but even rarer do I see one that seems like it's got some good, solid facts behind it.

I think, however, that many of the discrimination problems in today's society come from the media and "Political Correctness", and I do think that there are some people out there who take advantage of that to be downright racist to whites. (Racisim is... (more »)

 
M.Tizzle said...
Apr. 28, 2011 at 11:14 am
I can relate to it to im mixed black dad and a white mom but because im so dark they say that i cant be mixed that im mexican or indian but i always hace to explain my ethnicity to people and i think that it doesnt really matter becasue im still a human being and i dont have to prove anything to anyone about my Race it just gets me so angry sometimes when people are just stupid and say stuff about someone because of their race and it just needs to stop.
 
silence21 replied...
May 1, 2011 at 11:11 am
Thank you for commenting and its nice to know people can relate to this =)
 
Veronica replied...
Aug. 23, 2011 at 12:02 am
I'm so glad that someone else is experiencing this, too. I'm Hafrican (white mom, deceased black dad) in a predominately white and Asian town. People are constanly asking me what ethnicity I am and accuse me of lying when I say I'm half black. Several people have assumed that I'm hispanic because of my "coloring." In fact, I'll never forget when my freshman Spanish teacher singled me out in class and said she was shocked that I had never been to Mexico. People who can tell that I'm half bla... (more »)
 
shewrites22 said...
Apr. 12, 2011 at 9:49 pm
While I thought you article was well-written and there were certainly good points (how you are percieved as "other because you're mixed, that black history month is exploited), I also have to echo some of what others have said. Honestly, this article makes it seem like you have some deep-rooted issues with the black race in general. You highlight only the negatives of black culture and seem to cite it as being the main cause of racial ignorance in whites. I agree that at this point, BET is ridic... (more »)
 
silence21 replied...
Apr. 14, 2011 at 8:06 pm

Thanks for commenting =)

Black History Month is 28 Days

 
morethanunusual said...
Apr. 1, 2011 at 10:11 pm
i think people try so hard not to be racist that they become racist unintentionally. 
 
PrettyGirlMia said...
Mar. 17, 2011 at 11:59 am
i think you should take pride in being black, when people look at you they dont see you as mixed they see you being black,
 
silence21 replied...
Mar. 17, 2011 at 8:12 pm
Thank you for your opinion, but I feel that advertising being black is very pointless. I'm also Polish, and Polish people have been through hardships too, but you don't see Polish people getting scholarships for just being Polish. Why should a minority group be picked over a better canidate?
 
PrettyGirlMia said...
Mar. 17, 2011 at 11:56 am
b/c im fully black (not mixed) , i guess i have a different persepective on our culture. its like you take the negitive aspects on being black and you put them in a group all together , i didnt like the part about black history month. As african americans we have come through alot of adversity and hardships in america , back in the day people used to say we were good for nothing and worthless and black history month is a time to show that they were wrong we are educated and have been big contrib... (more »)
 
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