I’m a person that likes to associate with a diverse group of people. I love to learn new customs, languages and perspectives on life. Lately I have been going out with a group White friends and I noticed versus my Black friends, race doesn’t come up. It’s an interesting dynamic that I only realized because of my openness to everyone I meet. I will probably lose my Black card for this but I really need to know “What’s race got to do with it”?
It really didn’t take me that long to figure out the difference when I decided to think about it. Often times Black people are taught from birth they are different. I know you are probably thinking, what’s new? The answer is White people are not the main ones telling us as Black people we are different. We are taught from our own people we have to be careful how we dress, act and speak so now to draw attention to ourselves. We are taught we must work harder than not everyone like White people just to prove we are worth equal treatment. We are taught we must uplift our race and all good accomplishments any Black person makes is for the good of us all. We are taught race every day and as a result that is all we see.
I remember being excited with Octavia Spencer won the Oscar for her wonderful role in “The Help”. I felt a sense of pride in my people as if now Black people are worth it. The same can be said about President Obama’s win. While it was historic because he was Black, instead of being excited for a good president, my thrill and the thrill of all Black people was just the fact he was a Black president. I’m exhausted.
I have only done a very small case study with my friends, but they don’t talk about being White as much as we talk about being Black. Some might contend since they are in the majority, they really don’t have to talk or reference their race because of the control they have in the world. I can agree. I can also agree that times are changing and while it was a big deal to White people fifty years ago, the new generation is very much less concerned about race as a whole. I have to be honest and say I don’t feel I have been held back in most situations in my life because of my race. I can say it has happened. I vividly remember being called “the colored boy” when I was twenty-one working at Barnes and noble( and it was in the year 2001). I’m aware there are a small group left that race matters but it is getting ever so small.
So what’s next? As Black people we have to change the topic. When injustice happens, we must fight. When you don’t get a job, it isn’t always because you are Black. When a cop pulls you over, it isn’t always because you are black. We have to not make all cases a race issue so not to dilute true and blatant racism that still lingers, and it is just lingering. We can’t teach out children to have their guard up as a Black person because it will be up so much they create the fear that already exist about Black people. We should teach confidence in self not race. We must teach love of all and strength to do what’s right for all.
We must teach.