What I am about to write, I don’t think I have ever said aloud. I think I may have given my opinion to a sister or two but have never expressed this perception in full thought.
I believe the world has become overly sensitive. I see too many groups of people pointing out their difference and how they deserve equality and not enough people outside the group supporting their causes. I can only speak for what I see here in the United States and I will mostly speak upon the African American community. One of my pet peeves is hearing people in my community say things like “we must support black owned businesses, movies, causes, etc.” I understand what is meant by these statements but I see things differently. I refuse to support something just because. For example, I refuse to see another Tyler Perry movie in theaters because the themes never change but I know some people who will spend their money to see the films just because they are supporting black film makers– a mind boggling act in my opinion. Just like when I go to a restaurant, my tip amount depends on the service received (some may not agree) not because they are members of the wait staff. I try to logically support what and who makes sense to me.
We can never rise above our past if we cannot support each other, despite similarities or differences. I was on a Diversity and Inclusion panel at my job today and I spoke about levels of cultural differences. People of color cannot continue to see white people as the same as the white people of times passed. We are all unique and should be approached and treated as such. Someone on the panel said that we need to assume positive intent. I truly believe in that. I have only categorized one event in my life where I was racially profiled. I wrote about it here. As an African American woman, I guarantee you that I have had some discrimination based on race and/or gender but I try to assume that it just ignorance and don’t really put much weight to it. When I present myself, I disprove stereotypes and showcase my individuality.
There is always something to learn about a person and in order for us to become one unit, we need to teach each other about our difference. The biggest problem we have is ignorance. It’s easy to make assumptions and excuses as to why we treat someone the way we do but it takes social intelligence and desire to actually want to make the world a better place and thus put effort into ridding your mind of racial profiles and stereotypes.
Back to sensitivity… everyone is afraid that they will make a mistake. The fear is unwarranted because mistakes are what helps us grow and become better. We need to assume positive intent and pure curiosity and let our guard down. Ask me about the texture of my hair; ask me about my heritage; ask me cultural significant questions. I will freely educate you so that you understand instead of fear me because of misconceptions you may have heard.
There are real threats against life based on hate and fear… too many to count. I liked the Black Lives Matter moment but I think it was born out of anger as a result of hate crimes. Because of the stormy time it was create in, other people responded equally with anger, creating the All Lives matter movement. This should have been a teaching and uniting moment. I think many black people united but it was a time where the angry other people should have joined in as well (maybe they didn’t feel invited or didn’t ask to be). It is always “us” versus “them” and that needs to change to what the bible says as “love thy neighbor as thyself.” If everyone became color brave, as Mellody Hobson as put it, we can combat the hatred and neutralize those who are against ending discrimination.
I. Am. Color. Brave!