Saturday, August 27, 2011

Colorblindness: Don't Hide Behind The Disease

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 fiancĂ© 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.”

Peace, Love
And All that Jazz

For more information on race relations, visit:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Aja's Race Corner: Power to the People

Below is the text from the first installment of my race column. It's taken from the Setonian Online where it was first printed in June/July issue.

You might be Racist if:
  • You have to say, “I have black/asian/latino friends” at any point
  • You ask someone “What are you?”
  • You use any sort of stereotype as a truth
  • You use any sort of stereotype as a joke
  • You dislike the President because he’s black
  • You like the President because he’s black
  • You think one racist act merits another
  • You become offended when someone says you might be racist or claim that you meant (whatever you said) in a non-racist way
  • You change your behavior (even if it is to “fit in”) around someone of another race
  • You are mad about this list because you have somehow qualified
Now that I have your angry attention, I may say that everyone at some point in their lives has racist thoughts. I don’t mean this in the negative way either. It may just be a stereotype (positive or negative) that you’ve used. It may be something you never say, but thought.
It’s okay.

Well, actually it’s not, but that isn’t my point. I’ll be the first to admit I am racist. Being raised mixed, I’m hyper-aware of race and stereotypes. It’s something I fight now but, when I went through my teen years of insecurity, it’s a tool I used to set myself apart from blacks, whites, etc.

As a people, we need to combat racism in the United States and it all starts with the “White Privilege,” their “blindness” to the minority struggle. Raised in suburbia half-white, I was this way as well until I came to Greensburg, where racism is out in the open and being politically correct is swept under the rug.

For the people of Seton Hill University, a place of mixed race and religion, it may not seem so obvious, but step outside your bubble and walk down the hill please. Or, not even, just walk with me through campus and see what I see.

You might have The “White Privilege” if:
  • You claim to be colorblind
  • You believe racism is over in America (especially if you justify this with Barack Obama)
  • You believe (wrongly) that you are not any likelier to get a job, a house or a car than a minority.
  • You do not identify yourself as white, but as a “student” or “parent” or “female/male” instead.
  • You believe the education system, minority scholarships or affirmative action to be fine.
  • On the flip side, you don’t think we need affirmative action and minority scholarships.
  • You do not have to look for posters, post-cards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls or toys that feature people of your race.
I can go over all of these, but my editor says I only have a few inches left and I’m not going to waste it on explanation. No, go look it up on Wikipedia or something. Or better yet, come talk to me. Peggy McIntosh, a white lady, has a couple of good points that I have confronted:

  • “I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.
  • I can be pretty sure that my neighbors…will be neutral or pleasant to me.
  • I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.
  • I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented [positively].
  • I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.
  • I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance or feared.
  • I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having coworkers on the job suspect that I got it because of race.”

I want you to realize this is what we face everyday. And for me, as a mixed kid, it’s not just whites. It’s everyone.

Black Power
Peace, Love
& All That Jazz

For more information on race relations, visit:
Or reach out and talk to us. I’m not going to beg…Okay, please.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

August Cause of the Month

Note from Creator Aja Hannah

Please check out our August Cause of the Month on the new DOAMK website. It has a shorter and catchier URL so that it may be better remembered. The name better represents my sisters and our other writers as well. Their help and contributions have been vital to growing success.

The change over to the the new site will take some time as we continue to update it so don't worry about jumping over right away.

This site will continue to be updated, but the works will be less specific to the mixed-race struggle. It will include updates on my writing, books, and other causes that she supports.