Colorblind: Racial Ignorance in America

November 21, 2009
By silence21 GOLD, Terre Haute, Indiana
silence21 GOLD, Terre Haute, Indiana
11 articles 0 photos 58 comments

Favorite Quote:
I hope to change someones life one word at a time. Hopefully, it's a positive change and it's for the better, but any change at all is a step to an amazing new future.


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.


The author's comments:
Growing up I've realized the world is colder than it used to be. People still hate people for their race and religion, so how can we say we've come so far?

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This article has 139 comments.


on Feb. 16 2011 at 11:28 pm
Willful_Destruction, Chicago, Illinois
0 articles 0 photos 6 comments

To the "according to the Constitution. . ." comment -- I believe there is an amendment to that, and you should also be aware that that was added to satisfy the Southern plantation owners in early America who depended heavily on slavery to run their plantation. The Southern states woud have refused to sign the Constitution if slavery was banned at that time, and so they decided to postpone that decision until 1808 (I believe that is the correct year, but if not, I know it is sometime in the early 1800s).

Also, they were included as 3/5 of a person in the Constitution because the Southern states weren't as populous without them, but since they were considered slaves there was controversy about whether or not to include them in the population count. That was the solution they came up with at the time. 

As well, I would like to say that it appears the most discriminated type of person in America (or the world) is a white man. There are lawas here protecting all "minorities" from certain mistreatment, and then there are laws that protect white women from certain mistreatment. However, there are not laws to protect the white man. 

(This is what I have heard, and, from vague background research, have found to be true. However, if I am wrong and there is proof to back it, would someone mind telling me?) 

^^" 


silence21 GOLD said...
on Jan. 23 2011 at 8:51 pm
silence21 GOLD, Terre Haute, Indiana
11 articles 0 photos 58 comments

Favorite Quote:
I hope to change someones life one word at a time. Hopefully, it's a positive change and it's for the better, but any change at all is a step to an amazing new future.

Thank you for you comment. I don't really agree with you, but thank you.

on Jan. 23 2011 at 7:25 pm
PurpleFeather BRONZE, Canton, Connecticut
1 article 0 photos 124 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The pen is mightier than the sword." - Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Trust me, no one is glorifying black people. We are the lowest race on the totem pole of minorities. The affirmative action plan helped matters a lot at the time, but didn't do away with the problem completely. And it certainly didn't cause people to glorify people of color.

And there is nothing wrong with racial pride. TreyAmazing likes being black because, as do many black teenagers, it is both because of the cultural aspects AND because it was the race he was born into. You can't do anything to change who you are, and you have to live being you your whole life. So why not love it? I do, and I don't really appreciate this article because it makes me feel like loving the black part of myself is wrong.

It's dangerous not to see race, at least when it comes to seeing yourself as one race or another. Because in the end that's how the world will see you, so it doesn't really matter what you think, does it?


on Jan. 15 2011 at 10:37 am
Dragonscribe BRONZE, West Lafayette, Indiana
4 articles 0 photos 303 comments

Favorite Quote:
"A Person's a Person no Matter how Small"
and
"A Rose by Any Other Name Would Smell as Sweet"
and
"God helps those who help themselves"

I've never, ever heard that about Rosa Parks before.

on Jan. 15 2011 at 10:35 am
Dragonscribe BRONZE, West Lafayette, Indiana
4 articles 0 photos 303 comments

Favorite Quote:
"A Person's a Person no Matter how Small"
and
"A Rose by Any Other Name Would Smell as Sweet"
and
"God helps those who help themselves"

I agree with you! I'm a white child of white parents, but I can understand how you feel. And I have to say that while I was reading your article and advertising for "African dating" popped up on the screen. Huh.

on Jan. 4 2011 at 2:32 pm
EmilytheAuthor DIAMOND, St. Francisville, Louisiana
55 articles 20 photos 10 comments

Favorite Quote:
Be who you are and say what you feel because those that mind don't matter, and those that matter don't mind. -dr. seuss

I'm also "mixed" (Hispanic Dad, "white" mom) and I get some of what you are saying. I, personally, want to celebrate both sides of the family by embracing their cultures, but that's my choice. When I had a Quince Anos (sweet 15) party, I would invite friends and they'd laugh at me. If I had a dollar for how many times someone said "You're not Mexican" or "You're white, why are you doing this?", I'd have a ton of money. I am a 2nd generation immigrant from Colombia on my dad's side. I love my family and their culture, but that doesn't mean I ignore my mom's side. I know you said you don't care about where/when/why/how your ancestors got to America, but to me, it's fascinating to know who left you as their legacy.

I live in the south, in a small town. My best friend is "black". I don't think race should affect the way anyone looks at you, but sadly, it does. Race is a delicate topic in today's day and age, but if the adults of our world refuse to acknowledge that racial sterotypes, racial ignorance, and racism still exist, then it's up to us, the teens, to remind them. Maybe if we do, they'll finally do something about. Or maybe, we'll just do it ourselves. :)


Kay34066 said...
on Jan. 2 2011 at 1:53 pm
I can relate to article in many ways but I do disagree about some things. In my school it is very white. I am a "mixed" student and I am very proud of that. Once I had a boy argue with me that I am not partly colored. He even had the nerve to tell me that my own mother was not black! I find that offensive, but that doesn't change me or my family. Your right there shouldn't be total months devoted to entire races, we should only learn our mistake in the past from not only teachers but communities. In this world there are many people, and no human is a part of a race, they are apart of families and all families are connected so we all one family and they shouldn't treat any one different. That's my opinion but we all have them and yours has been heard, I hope you have the chance to listen to all of ours.

silence21 GOLD said...
on Dec. 21 2010 at 9:42 pm
silence21 GOLD, Terre Haute, Indiana
11 articles 0 photos 58 comments

Favorite Quote:
I hope to change someones life one word at a time. Hopefully, it's a positive change and it's for the better, but any change at all is a step to an amazing new future.

Thank you so much. I know how you feel about the people 'not being creeped out'. It's dumb, it really is.

Thanks so much


silence21 GOLD said...
on Dec. 21 2010 at 9:35 pm
silence21 GOLD, Terre Haute, Indiana
11 articles 0 photos 58 comments

Favorite Quote:
I hope to change someones life one word at a time. Hopefully, it's a positive change and it's for the better, but any change at all is a step to an amazing new future.

I think plenty of people care about the race, and BET exploits the race

silence21 GOLD said...
on Dec. 17 2010 at 9:49 pm
silence21 GOLD, Terre Haute, Indiana
11 articles 0 photos 58 comments

Favorite Quote:
I hope to change someones life one word at a time. Hopefully, it's a positive change and it's for the better, but any change at all is a step to an amazing new future.

Thank you fo your views, however I believe that you feel like this because you are centered on protecting your ethnic background, seeing that your profile says your favorite hobby is Being Black. Do you like being black because of the cultural aspects or do you like being black because it just happens to be the race you were born into?

You said that I blame my father's heritage for things, and I can see how you would feel that way, but I feel that it is wrong to glorify people just because I'm listed as a minority. Glorify me because I am an AP student, or that I am a good athlete, or even because I am a young woman who has a family that allows her to speak freely. Don't accept me into a college because my father happens to be black.


TreyAmazing said...
on Dec. 17 2010 at 8:34 am
TreyAmazing, Florida
0 articles 0 photos 4 comments
You have great articulation, and this was a well written article. However, i do believe you are taking it out of proportion. The way this article is written would lead one to believe you have an unconscious loathing for Black people, and you blame your father for making you that way. You never once speak about your caucasian half. BET is way for black to stay intouch with black culture. They do not portray white people any sort of way, just broadcast television programs and movies with a predominantly Black cast.

silence21 GOLD said...
on Dec. 9 2010 at 5:50 pm
silence21 GOLD, Terre Haute, Indiana
11 articles 0 photos 58 comments

Favorite Quote:
I hope to change someones life one word at a time. Hopefully, it's a positive change and it's for the better, but any change at all is a step to an amazing new future.

I'll try to find out. May I ask why

soc-mikal said...
on Dec. 9 2010 at 1:19 pm
would you mind telling me the date that you published this article? it would help me a great deal thanks!

silence21 GOLD said...
on Dec. 2 2010 at 8:14 pm
silence21 GOLD, Terre Haute, Indiana
11 articles 0 photos 58 comments

Favorite Quote:
I hope to change someones life one word at a time. Hopefully, it's a positive change and it's for the better, but any change at all is a step to an amazing new future.

Again, thakn you =)

on Nov. 28 2010 at 2:44 pm
Anaise11 SILVER, Randolph, Massachusetts
6 articles 0 photos 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
You know you've found the right one when instead of falling in love, they are holding you upright~ Past love experiences

No problem, it was a great article :)

silence21 GOLD said...
on Nov. 27 2010 at 12:48 pm
silence21 GOLD, Terre Haute, Indiana
11 articles 0 photos 58 comments

Favorite Quote:
I hope to change someones life one word at a time. Hopefully, it's a positive change and it's for the better, but any change at all is a step to an amazing new future.

Thank you so much for the comment. I understand your views on Black History month and BET. I aslo appreciate that you talked about other monts dedicated to other people.

Again, thank you so much for comment. It really means a lot to me =)


silence21 GOLD said...
on Nov. 27 2010 at 12:41 pm
silence21 GOLD, Terre Haute, Indiana
11 articles 0 photos 58 comments

Favorite Quote:
I hope to change someones life one word at a time. Hopefully, it's a positive change and it's for the better, but any change at all is a step to an amazing new future.

Well, thank you for reading this, and I'm happy you like it. You'd think we would have grown out of that state of mind, but hey, he's just trying to do what he thinks is best for kid =)

on Nov. 26 2010 at 2:39 am
Anaise11 SILVER, Randolph, Massachusetts
6 articles 0 photos 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
You know you've found the right one when instead of falling in love, they are holding you upright~ Past love experiences

To Maryon, not all of the other 11 months are focused on white people. September is commonly celebrated as National Hispanic Month. And March is Women's Month too, focusing on women of all races and ethnicities. 

And I don't think that Black people have had their freedom, justice, and equality taken from them necessarily. I mean, we have a Black president now so I think that we have a lot more to stand behind than drugs, crime, and ignorance. And honestly, I think that now, with all the opportunities we have, the only people that can hold us back are ourselves. 

Which is why I can understand silence21's frustration with BET because they do promote the stereotypical image of Black people. I mean, as a Black person, I'd like to see more people of color in more feature films as more than just the comedian or funny, outspoken supporting role. I'd want to see them as the spy undercover or playing the vampire next door. And it doesn't help that many Black actors (besides Denzel Washington) can only receive roles as those characters or in movies made black producers like Tyler Perry. 

So I think that in those terms, it's more of a deal with what you can get sort of thing. I do appreciate BET for giving those Black actors a place where they can be recognized for their talent however they could broaden the range of talent a little better. 

As for the matter of Black History Month, I do appreciate the fact that our ancestor's actions are specially recognized. I don't see it as a way to segregate people, I just see it as a way to honor the struggles that Black people had to overcome in this country. Not to say that other people had not struggled, but in terms of an entire people, Blacks along with other groups, have had to struggle a lot more than others. Their accomplishments have happened throughout the months and the years so I'm not sure why February was so special lol.

But I see where you're coming from silence21 and your post reminds me of something my Ethics teacher said. "There is no race other than the human race." So I hope that you and I can one day see the day when people open their eyes and don't see stereotypes or images or inferiority but just human beings :)

 


on Nov. 2 2010 at 4:24 pm

Hi! My dad and I had an argument about different races marrying. I'm white and I really wouldn't care if a guy was black, what does it matter if you're in love, right? And he was all like Well the kids of interracial couples are always picked on and blah blah blah...so I guess he was just saying that we have to plan our lives around other peoples bigotry? Ugh.

So anyways, I love your article, very well written


silence21 GOLD said...
on Oct. 15 2010 at 9:21 pm
silence21 GOLD, Terre Haute, Indiana
11 articles 0 photos 58 comments

Favorite Quote:
I hope to change someones life one word at a time. Hopefully, it's a positive change and it's for the better, but any change at all is a step to an amazing new future.

Well, thank you and than you for listening to my story


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