Just a Little Bit Race-y

*whew* All this race talk! It’s exhausting, right? But lemme ask this:

Do we really understand what RACE is and what it is not? 

Based on the ridiculous amount of articles (and comments and Facebook posts and more comments) I’ve read in the past few days (thanks Rachel Dolezal), I can say for certainty, many people have not the slightest idea what race truly is. *sigh*

In light of Rachel: 

In the grand scheme of things, what is anyone going to actually DO about the Rachel Dolezals of the world? I’m just asking. I mean, so she gets her name dragged through the mud all over various forms of media. Ok, cool. We’ve made it so that EVERYONE on the planet is aware of her. But…is that really going stop her from continuing this life? Is it going to stop others from trying it?

Eh. Probably not. Who knows?

So what’s Rachel’s next move now? Go back to being white? Probably. *lol* (where’s the crying laughing smiley face when I need it!?)

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Moving on…sorta.

So, I think the universe is trying to tell/show us things and I don’t think we’re doing a good job at listening. For example, the climate. Look at all the rain that various parts of the country are getting, while California is in desperate need of it. I mean, places are FLOODING and Cali is getting “drip-drop, drip-drippity-drop”. I mean, poor Cali. In the words of Cedric the Entertainer, “What IS we gon’ do” about this climate?! *shakes fists at the sky*

Ok, so these racial issues. What IS we gon’ do!? Is the universe trying to tell us something with all of these racially charged situations? Lately, it seems like we are on the brink of no return with these incidents. Or maybe we’ve passed the brink, fallen off the cliff and are plunging deeeeeeep into the depths of, dare I say, hell!? #toodramatic #sorry

Perhaps, it’s really time for some real conversations about race and ethnicity. Perhaps it’s time we try to figure things out with each other.

My solution? Education. Always education.

Schools don’t do a good job AT ALL with teaching children about different groups of people. How do I know? Um, I was a kid and I do not remember at all learning about people of different ethnicities. I mean, we breeeeezed right over Native Americans. Breezed.

If our children are lucky, they do learn a teeny-tiny bit some things in elementary and/or high school (depending on the school), but they don’t really get more in-depth education until college. However, as we know (if you’ve been to college) students choose to take classes that deal with race & ethnicity. So more often than not, there are LOTS of people that complete their education, from kindergarten to college, without having learned anything significant about other cultures. This is why on Faceplace Facebook, I commented that anthropology would be an excellent mandatory high school class. I learned so much when I took my first anthro class in college (and such a shame I had to wait until college to take such a class). I was so fascinated by it, I decided to major in it. As part of my curriculum, one of the requirements called for classes from three various regions. I chose: Japan, India and the Caribbean. These were some of my favorite courses in my program. I wish I could’ve studied more regions (omg, we had SO many classes), but of course, I had other requirements to fulfill. #bummer 

Personally, because of the type of education/upbringing I had, I tend to have a different perspective when it comes to matters of race/ethnicity. This doesn’t make me special, *lol*, it makes me informed! It makes me more understanding. It helps me gain another perspective and see other’s sides of the story. I grew up in Detroit, a predominantly Black city. But for junior high and high school, I went to a predominantly white school in the ‘burbs. And when I say predominantly, I mean I was one of 5-6 black students in the high school (it was a small school though, about 200 kids. But still…) While there, I met my best friend (and still to this day) who is Arab. In college, my freshmen year, I became friends with a group of Asian girls. A few were born in Hong Kong and later moved to the US then they were young, while others were international students. Later in college, I started a multicultural sorority, which grew to include women of a variety of ethnicities. Today, my group of friends (not acquaintances, FRIENDS) represent a multi-ethnic rainbow! #UnitedColorsofBenettonLife

As we continue to see racial tensions rise (e.g. unarmed Black kids vs. White cops), I keep thinking about how LITTLE these particular groups know about each other. Think about how maybe things would be different if they did understand each other’s backgrounds. And you can insert any number of groups above because when it comes down to it, we really only learn about our own group. It’s funny how we learn about who we are as a group, and then instead of learning about others, we make assumptions about them (hello, stereotypes). This is terrible and gets us nowhere as a society. I think we will continue to have problems with race/ethnicity in our country if we never seek to learn about one another. But perhaps, it’s too late? #fallingoffthecliff #pointofnoreturn

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Just think, if Rachel D had some GOOD, CLOSE Black friends before she decided to umm, try and “blend in” to the Black community, maybe this situation wouldn’t have happened. In fact, I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have. Now, if she DID have some good friends and they were OK with this, then that’s other story all together!! #yourfriendssuckRachel #maybe #wedontknow

We see people do things like this all the time though. Usually it’s a one-time thing and not a full-on, 10-year farce. For example, think of the white people that go out in blackface for Halloween EVERY.SINGLE.YEAR (why ya’ll, WHY?!?) Would they do that if they had close Black friends? Doubt it. Unless they didn’t value those friendships, I doubt they’d try something like that, knowing very well their actions could offend their friend(s). Because most of us don’t want to do anything to upset/offend a good friend, right? Right. #youknowImright

As I said above, there are so many people that keep only to their own ethnic group. Once you’re out of school completely, the opportunity to befriend people that are different from you is greatly reduced. (Of course, this is if you lived in/moved to an ethnically diverse area to begin with.) But, what about at work…you can still make friends at work, right? Sure, there are opportunities to befriend coworkers of different ethnicities. However, let’s be real: once you’re of a certain age, are you really all that keen to bring in other people into your trusted friendship circle? Noooope. At the very least, most of our coworkers become acquaintances. #wompwomp

I’m not saying you can’t become good friends with coworkers, just that most people don’t TRY to add to their friendship circles, particularly the older they get. BUT…if they do…usually those friends are in their respective ethnic group, not outside it. Are there exceptions? Absolutely! But look this up, there are studies on it. In fact, do your own research on FB. Go through your friend’s friends lists. I’ve done it. 🙂 Yeahhhh, not a whole lot of ethnic diversity amongst friends. Sad. Not judging you…. well, maybe. In a “good” way. 🙂  Hey, it happens! Like I said, we stick to our own. Is it good? Ehhh, I don’t think so, but that’s just me. #doyou #liveyourlifewithyourownpeople #kidding #getoutsideofyourgroup

Just saying… after this Rachel situation, it’s CLEAR we need MORE education about race and ethnicity in this country.

-t

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