Colored people. Do we really see beige, black, brown, red, yellow, and white people? By this, I mean, do you see persons who’s skin is physically colored this way living with you, walking past you, standing in line or behind the counter at the grocery store?
If the answer is no and I assume that it is, then what are we seeing really? What has race done to our minds in that we are not able to see people as they really are? And how do we get our sight back, this race-less vision?
How are we able to see it? How do we really know that it’s there? What informs our stereotypes if not pride and prejudice? How else do you see it?
22 thoughts on “Race: How do you see it?”
We are under a system of racism/white supremacy. Racism/white supremacy is the dominant force influencing people interactions. People are socialized by the dominant white society to relate with others in certain ways based on the racial classification the person(s). The question is not, “What has race done to our minds…?” The question is, “What are white people (collectively) doing to our minds?” — as they have the most power and influence over how people are educated. Our stereotypes are informed by the system of white supremacy that controls most of the media that the general public consumes.
Just because a some non-white faces are put up front doesn’t mean beauty trumps race. One’s beauty doesn’t rival the overriding system of racism. The suggestion that beauty trumps race only diverts attention away from the problem, which is racism, and causes confusion.
While I disagree with you, I do understand what you are trying to convey. Again, I believe that we all have power, that no one person or cultural group or system of oppression can take away our personal, free will. If God, who is all- powerful allows for it, then how can human beings take it away? We have a say in how we are treated; persons who are oppressed and are oppressing can choose differently at any time. We are not “trapped in history” as James Baldwin once proposed.
Disagree? That’s fine. Which parts? What would you call the system we live under? We all have power, but not the same amount of power. Wouldn’t it be accurate to say the “white” collective has more power than anyone else? No one can take away our free will, but the system of white supremacy can disregard it and manipulate it. We have a say in how we are treated, but white people currently have the *most* say in how people are treated. Do you find any of that to be false?
I affirm the Scripture that declares, “All power belongs to God” (Psalm 62.11). I do not give human beings that kind of power over me; human supremacy, regardless of culture, is an absolute deception. Persons have to buy into it and I choose not to. I also don’t debate my position; I stand by my beliefs and hope that you will simply respect the right to disagree.
I believe the disconnect between what you are saying Starlette and what Rashnu is saying is in the detail of what is often left out when talking about ‘White supremacy’. The term ‘White supremacy’ is short for ‘The doctrine of White supremacy’ as quoted by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his book ‘Where do we go from here: Chaos or Community’. The word ‘doctrine’ makes it clear that there is no racial reality to the supremacy. The reality is only manifest if people buy into a false belief that one race is superior to another.
Another reality of life, is that even if we do not agree to give others power over us, many already have power over us. Parents have power over their children, bosses have power over their employees, police have power over citizens, and dominant groups have a collective power over minority groups – as unfair as it is.
Thanks, Glenn. I assure you that there is no disconnect as I am well- versed in this medium of thought. I simply choose not to begin there but with the way in which we were created to be, with all the rights and privileges of every other human being. I walk in and live out this reality. Persons get stuck here, repeating, “Justice, justice” and never move to the fact that we do have a say in how we are treated, that we own our power, that we are not helpless or a people without hope. Race is a power that we give to others; we agree to it and sign up for it. I have simply taken my name off the list.
Speaking of hope, I would not compare my “power” over my son with that of “white supremacy” and I hope that my son would know that I am leading him from a place of love, ultimately training him to be a leader in his own right. It is more so a mentorship for me as a parent not some tyrannical display of “power.” Nevertheless, thanks again for the rich dialogue and social media fellowship.
Understood. We keep repeating justice ’cause we aint gettin’ justice.
This is why I let God be the Judge because we give forgiveness and take it back. And we don’t know when to stop hurting and punishing each other. The bloodshed, the law, the conviction, the jail time is never enough. We always want more and we want them to hurt more. But, “vengeance is the Lord’s; he will repay” (Deuteronomy 32.35; Romans 12.19).
I’m in agreement with that. No debate there. My point is just that the last time I checked, white people collectively have acquired more control over natural resources, the government, businesses, etc. than anybody else (unjustly acquired: looks like Psalms 62:10, right next to the verse you picked, speaks to them on that, doesn’t it? That worked out well.) Is that true or false? I’m not alluding to anything else — no follow up questions/comments there, just wanted to get a true or false then leave it at that.
I don’t debate Scripture. The Word speaks and has spoken in the way that you want to hear it. My answer is: false. We own nothing, proven in the finality of death.
Good points Rashnu. I think the two topics (beauty / race) are easier to understand when taken separately. When the topics are compared to one another – it does cause confusion. That said, I think there is a ton of favorable bias for the beautiful – which leaves the less beautiful and ugly wanting for more, more dignity, more respect, more money and opportunity. So – there is overlap in how oppression is working within the two areas. There are also issues often unsaid where many people think that some races are more beautiful than other races and will only date people of certain races. For example, it bothers me that some dating sites have racial preference check boxes. That seems extremely racist – and yet that option persists.
That unsaid issue (more like said indirectly) is likely that many people are familiar with the racial hierarchy and tailor their “preferences” according to it. The dating site example shows one of the ways racial classifications are used to support racism — racial “preferences” for the wrong reasons.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about bias for beauty and how that leaves the average to ugly people out of many things.
I’m trying to say that beauty can trump race. Beautiful people tend to get the part, get the job, get the date, get the marriage proposal, get the money, get the privileges. Hollywood and the music industry have plenty of examples of beautiful Black, Latin@, and Asian people making it big (although Asian less in Hollywood and music – which is a whole other article).
And if one has lived long enough, in a diverse area, you will see beautiful people of all different backgrounds who seem to float through their life like the world is their oyster. I’m not saying they don’t experience racism – I’m just saying that their beauty reduces the amount of racism they deal with.
I’m also trying to say that there is prejudice and mistreatment toward those who were hit with the ugly stick. And I think there is a compounding oppression for those who are both of color and less beautiful.
Isn’t this a common issue that people don’t really talk about? If so, why we don’t talk about this?
Glenn, I can see you thinking this through; perhaps, you should write about it. I am so glad that my words are inspiring such processes. This discussion regarding beauty and race is an on-going one, reaching back to the days of slavery with house and field negro chosen based on whether they were light or dark- skinned. This, of course, ties into beauty and employment. These social truths and deceptions go deep and run throughout our systems of privilege and oppression.
I think many are so busy that we only go out of our way to recognize people who we have an interest in – whatever that interest may be.
This is true also. I certainly do it.
After thinking about this for a LONG time I finally wrote something. Thank you for being an inspiration Starlette!
PS – I appropriated the eyeball photo you found and linked back to your post here 🙂
Inspiration, huh? Well, I’m making progress. Thanks for being such a faithful reader. I am glad that I can contribute to your body of work.