There is more to be seen of you and me than what has been thought visible and thereby obvious. There is more to who we are. In fact, we are quite literally scratching and picking on the surface of our humanity when we only look at the social coloring of skin. We can’t move past race because we can’t see beyond popular, passed down and thereby treasured stereotypes. Yes, if the truth be told, we have favorites. But, I sense that there will be no oversharing there.
What is a stereotype? It is “a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.” It is comparable to having tunnel vision. Only in this case, the only thing you can see is how persons and cultural groups have been historically viewed. If persons have only been seen as expendable, ignorant, hateful, criminal, an economic threat or cheap labor. And if this is how we introduce and interact with each other, then there will be no relational change. That is, until we choose to see them differently, to decline the recommendations of race and the references of stereotypes.
However, this can only happen when we choose to see ourselves from a different angle. This will require that we not only change positions or shoes in order to walk in someone else’s but that we discard the roles of oppressor and oppressed. The racial relationship is the most oppressive of them all. There is no broadening of view or perspective without these changes within us. We cannot see beyond stereotypes if we continue to gloss over our own.