UNITED STATES—The recent scandal involving NAACP leader Rachel Dolezal’s race has a ton of people in uproar. Here is a woman that from most standards of the American eye appears Black on the outside, but happens to be White. She could indeed pass for Black, but many have argued why? This brings up yet another issue regarding the question of race in America.
We are a culture that dictates a lot of our behavior on what we see. We SEE things, we speculate on what we SEE, we stereotype based on what we SEE, we are shaped by what we SEE. Notice anything; we see more than we know. Gosh, if I would go through my life history it might stun a ton of people who were to learn things about me that they never knew. For starters, if you saw me on the street, you would say he’s an African-American, but there is so much more to tell.
My mother is extremely light-skinned so much to the point that she passes for being White all-time, people suspect that she is and sometimes say the stupidest and most ignorant things that I can imagine. Just shows you when people think they know they really don’t know. My father is Black; my mother is bi-racial.
I have a White grandfather which seems to astound people every time I tell them that. They say, “well wait you’re black.” And my response is always, “And…” I hate when people think of themselves as a pure race, we’re all mixed with something we just don’t necessarily know it.
I have Irish in my blood that really blows people away because they don’t see it, but my grandfather was White and Irish and if I tread even further into my family tree, I discovered I had a great, great, great, great grandfather who ran for Vice President in the 1800s. I actually have a lineage in my family tree on my mother’s side where a great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather was a slave owner. That might be the biggest revelation that blows people away.
While my grandfather, great grandmother and great aunt are no longer with us, I still have White relatives who refused to claim me as a part of my heritage. Am I upset or bitter about it? No, it’s their loss not mine. I’ve always been told in life that you don’t get to choose your family, but when you do a bit of digging as Ben Affleck did; you could learn things that may blow you away.
We need to stop basing our reactions on the color of others skins, we need to stop judging on color, we are selling ourselves short. What is worse, we’re continuing to allow this cycle of hate, intolerance and inexcusable behavior to continue to fester in America. We have made strides, but until we change the mentality of people about the discussion on race and how we see, perceive and understand it, nothing we do will push us in the direction that we need to be.