Below is text from the second installment of my race column. It appeared in the Setonian and Setonian Online in the August issue.
You might not remember my last editorial. To bring this one up to speed: I basically called everyone everywhere racists, especially those with the “White Privilege,” which is a disease of sorts. To help those that may be ailing, I introduce my own WebMD sheet.
Overview and Facts for White Privilege
Webster’s Online defines the condition as “a sociological concept describing advantages enjoyed by white persons beyond what is commonly experienced by the non-white people in those same social spaces.”
Main Symptom: Color Vision Deficiency
A person that has been infected exhibits claims they live in a colorless word or that they have the freedom of the blind. In layman’s terms, it is that they are colorblind.
Now, I understand that some may view this as a positive tool in their anti-racism toolbox. My wonderful in-laws pull this card too, and though I respect them in all other aspects I must disagree here.
The bottom line is that when you choose to look past color, you blind yourself. You are an Oedipus of sorts, driving out an essential part of mankind so that you may not “see all those atrocious things.” And what will your future be, but dark?
I have three questions, and if you can answer them, then I am wrong and being colorblind is truly a great thing.
1. If you are blind, how will you see?
2. Will you understand the struggle for People of Color (POC)?
3. When will you know to act?
As a white person, or European American if you are sensitive, I demand to know how you will help me when you don’t even realize why someone has called me a name and not you. In Merriam-Webster, a real dictionary, the second definition of colorblind is “insensitive, oblivious.” Only then, listed third, is “not influenced by race.”
There are those who claim America has reached a “colorblind” state with the election of a black president. First, may I say that if they did reach a colorblind state, there would not be an emphasis on his race.
Second, they would recognize him as mixed, having a white mother and all.
But third and most important is that I, as a mixed American, still face the issue of race everyday. From questions of race on standardized tests, such as the Graduate Requirement Exam (GRE) or Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), to people screaming at my fiancé and me to get a “green card” as we walk on the sidewalk, I am reminded that we are a divided nation obsessed with looks and putting people in their place.
Diagnosis and Tests
You don’t want to be colorblind, and you want to relieve yourself of the “White Privilege” before it consumes you. Congrats. First, you must know if you have it. Type “White Privilege Checklist” into Google and take one of the many tests.
See race and don’t feel ashamed because you do. A secure black man is proud and probably loves his heritage. The same goes for a Latina or Asian American. If we take color or race as something positive and without stereotypes, then it is a celebration of cultures. You see the differences and can therefore learn, understand and appreciate them. You are better prepared to help those treated unjustly. You can empathize.
A word of caution: Do not go overboard. You do not have to celebrate or support everything. You may criticize BET and telenovas. Be proud of who you are as well. Peggy Fringe’s checklist is a great starting point, but Ryan Faulk’s adds a counter-balance.
The most important thing is the search for the truth. From POC-to-POC, it is never the same, and to assume…well, we all know that joke.
It makes an “ass” out of “u” and “me.”
And All that Jazz
For more information on race relations, visit: