People write from their experiences mostly & in my personal experiences, I have not experienced much racism, so when I write about it, it’s from research, talking to others that have experienced it more than I, and my own experiences. There have only been two incidents in my life growing up in Atlanta where I was exposed to it directly & both were on jobs. As I have navigated my way through my series on race, I’ve received a ton of feedback via social media or email. From some other black people, I often get messages explaining to me that racism does indeed exist as if I’m a naive & timid sheep needing to be saved from the slaughter, from the ” colorblind” butcher. It seems to be the opinion of some that I either haven’t ever experienced any racism, or that I’m a “wanna be white” or “sellout” (you fill in the blank), so I can’t see it. They couldn’t be more wrong about either conclusion but that’s their prerogative & I don’t lose any sleep over it. Has my experience with “race” made me more naive than the average person or blessed? Well, depending on who you ask, based on observation or assumption, you’ll get a different answer. As for me, my answer is perhaps both. The question is, do black people need to experience racism to be accepted as part of the whole? In the case of those who don’t, haven’t, or have very little – are we black enough?
I find that sometimes when a black person disagrees with my positions on race & culture they do so based ontheir experiences, ignoring what mine may be. In other words, they define being black as a shared vulnerability & victim status that we all must have, unless white culture has permeated our thinking, rendering us therefore, unable to recognize this. Being black does not mean that I have experienced racism, but in so many cases in America, black people have and do experience racism. Do you see the difference? I often get negative feedback when I share that I have only experienced racism twice on jobs because it is presumed that I will more often, because of my skin color. Some black people tell me I must be lying, or completely blinded to it. It is also presumed that because a person is white, they will at some point in their lives be a perpetrator of racism. Having been a victim of more intraracial discrimination than interracial, I reject both presumptions.
Being black to me is biological and cultural. I inherited my skin tone and other physical traits because my ancestors had repeated exposure over a long period of time to a certain environment, in which said traits were favorable to survival – nothing more & nothing less. The same can be said for being white or Asian. The beautiful thing about America, is that whether deliberately, through sexual assault or mutual love, now we have reached a point of having a nearly complete heterogeneous racial composition, so most black and white people are not “pure” anything. It kind of makes me want to ditch race altogether and just be…human. Just a little food for thought…Oh and for those who don’t get the title, check with your trekkie friends