People of color | They Overcame

These are our boys.

In the summer one gets so dark, the other stays fair, freckled and light.  Nevertheless, I am told we are supposed to call ourselves "white" and label others "people of color." 

Is this helpful or accurate in any way?

I chose this picture because their skin is like day and night. While these brothers share the exact same parentage, one is dark, and the other is fair. 

They are a unique blend of several nationalities, as are ALL of us in 2020. 

We throw out words like, "the black culture" and what do we really even mean? 

Does our skin tone define just one cultural background, one identity? 

It simply cannot. 

If it did, how "black" does someone have to be to be included?  What shade of light skin enters another into "privilege?"  Is there a chart somewhere, like paint chip palettes, to properly divide us into which are privileged and which are oppressed?

If one has dark skin and is the descendant of slaves, but likes country music and has a lot of fairer-skinned friends, do they get to be included in "black culture?"

This labeling, in my opinion, has got to stop. 

I am peachy brown. Our sixteen your old's back, right now, looks a lot like chocolate. My friends from Nigeria are like dark chocolate, and our Ian is light peach. 

Last time I checked, none of these are WHITE or BLACK.

I have a color, and so do you. It is a beautiful thing! 

it absolutely does not define: 

our culture,
political beliefs, 
family heritage, 
our story.  

Every family has a story.  What good can we learn from ours, and others? 

I believe culture, family history and backgrounds are things to celebrated, learned from, and shared.  Skin tone, family background, and history are not things that divide us, place one as privileged to the other, or make one a victim. 

Everyone's story it's unique, everyone's family has seen heartache and victories.  

An imaginary division by certain tones of skin has always bothered me.  Checking a box on a form to declare myself as "white" is troublesome. 

My people, based on skin tone, could be the persecutor or the persecuted.  

At different times in history, we have all been both, if we're honest.

I have been told I have white privilege, but my mind cannot reconcile this with the fact that my great grandparents were escaping: 

hostile takeover,
and death 

in Eastern Europe before they decided to rise up and escape at any cost. 

They came here with nothing, not able to speak one word of English. Many died on the boats and never made it to the new country. My grandmother was eight years old, and she never knew if she would see her cousins or other family members in the old country ever again. 

What skin-tone-based privilege did she have at 8 years old, as a dirt-poor immigrant?  

They were escaping communism, and they didn't know any English. 

they studied hard, 
prayed hard, 
worked hard,
and changed their future.  

My grandma as a little girl did not see herself as a victim, or underprivileged. She knew incredible persecution. She was made fun of for her accent, and her last name, and for her clothes. She felt completely ostracized because of her religion. 

But she chose to rise up and focus on hope.

They chose to live thankful, honest, prayerful, hard-working lives.

And by the end of high school, she graduated at the top of her class. 

Even as I share a glimpse into my maternal grandmothers' story I realize that all of this is just one slice of my history.  We are a blend, a rich mixture of all who came before us and all that they had been through.  

We are all impacted by others who influence our lives, as well. We are a product of who we have allowed to mold our lives, no matter what shade they were.

I post these pictures and share my heart with hope,

prayerful hope

that we can start to think of things a little differently, 
and see things a little more clearly day by day.  

I try to "learn something new every day." 

My grandma taught me to do so. 

How about you? 



Unknown said…
This is so great. I saw someone post recently about "checking boxes" on applications and such. I had never thought of it, but why do we do that? Why does that even have to be a thing?
Rebecca Laird said…
Thank you so much for reading. Things have gotten out of hand, and I have finally decided I don't have to be a certain color to speak up about my thoughts and feelings on the matter. All I want is health and wholeness for all.
Steve Perkins said…
While I wish that skin tone was not a basis for judging a person sadly it all too often is. However, your concept of white privilege is incorrect. White privilege is not being pulled over for driving an expensive vehicle. It's being able to walk through an affluent neighborhood without being stopped by the police. It has nothing to do with hardships, it has to do with harassment for looking like you don't belong.
Rebecca Laird said…
I respect your perspective as always. The white privilege I am referring to is in direct response to what I have read many places. There is a popular school of thought that fairer-skinned people have privilege over "people of color", citing poverty levels, rates of college graduates, income levels etc. It was one of the things I heard shouted about and spoken about in the recent protests.
Perhaps white privilege, as with racism, is defined differently by different people.

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