I am amazed at all the different reactions I got here on my blog, in personal emails or speaking to people about my feelings towards race labellling.
Thank you all for participating and offering opinions! At the same time I am a little frustrated with how my - adimittedly slightly long winded - point of view gets reduced to a reluctance to call my children black because I have an issue with their race or skin color (???). I accept that most people still think in traditional categories of black and white and I do not automatically see it as an insult to my girls if someone refers to them as black - depending of course on the context.
But why is it so difficult to accept for some of you that I simply want to move forward and away from labels that have historically been used to suppress and humiliate people (or set "white" people apart as superior) and into a future where we see race and color as something as individual and natural as eye color or hair color. Something you can refer to when describing a person but not their foremost outstanding characteristic.
I understand that centuries of dividing most of the human race into black or white make it somewhat difficult to move away from those stereotypes - but why the reluctance to do so? Why not describe people as caramel color or dark brown or light brown or whatever applies to the individual? And my question again: Why automatically call a person with mixed heritage black? Only because this is the traditional definition of a not "purely white" person with "black" genes? And do we really want to carry on in this tradition? Or can we give our children the opportunity to be freed from those stereotypes and simply see themselves as unique and a part of many different cultures and races? As one of you suggested: how about we simply say "human race" when describing ourselves? (ok, maybe a bit too Rudolf Steiner ... but an alternative)
I want to ask you this again (everybody who feels it is important to be calling each other black and white): why this reluctance to let go of these labels and firstly describe somebody as a human being, man or woman instead of a black man or white woman?
Hey, and sometimes let's even see the funny side of us struggling along to be politically correct when it comes to race and color: How about, when you need to point out the little boy with brown skin who is standing in line with 15 little pale swimmers in costumes and swim hats (as happened to my friend the other day), and the swimming teacher clearly struggling to come up with a suitable description...
After many a stuttering attempts (hair was out because of swim hats, no clothing items to describe by except for uniform swimming trunks) my friend finally rescued him by saying: Oh, you mean the little boy with brown skin.
Relief and Yes!
So here it is again: The reluctance to say the little black boy. Some of you might consider this a bad thing. I think it is a big step in the right direction. People start thinking before they label. So what if we come across as awkward and sometimes even make idiots of ourselves in the process? At least we are trying. Change is always more or less awkward and hardly ever easy.
The swimming teacher did not say the little black boy, thereby avoided labelling him or making assumptions about his racial identity. And it did not come naturally to him. So? In my book this is a good sign. The whole awkwardness of the situation is simply our residual baggage from a long history of racism - which we need to overcome one way or another.
And I see it happening everywhere amongst children (of all colors) already: My friend's 14 year old daughter (who goes to a school in Germany with many children from different countries) told me what happened in her class the day after Obama was elected president:
Her teacher came into the classroom all happy and excited and made a little speech about how the world has changed for the better now that a Black Man was in The White House. One of her classmates stood up and said: The world will really be changed for the better if nobody notices anymore that there is a "black" man in the White House. (everybody cheered and clapped).
And no, I don't think her classmate meant for us to be color blind nor was he embarassed by or in denial about his own brown skin - he was simply fed up with people being labelled according to race stereotypes.
I don't believe in miracles - I rely on them
I don't believe in miracles - I rely on them
You found my blog and as I am experimenting with the weird and wonderful world of cyber publishing, let me explain what a gunna is: it's a word for all things desirable, something that makes us happy and warm and comforts us when we feel tired or sad or lonely. a gunna is the best gadget in the world! it was leah s first word for all things she wanted. Or you might also know it as: dummy, schnulli, pacifier binky, schnuller...... and so on. So this is for my beautiful