Wetback American

I'm educated but brown so no matter where I go I'm a Wetback American.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Why do you always talk about race?

So I follow a great writer who goes by Ally Henny.  If you follow "The W American" facebook page, I often repost her daily insights.  She has a great way of condensing down the massive topic that is race relations in America to a quick but powerful read.  If you don't follow her work and you believe in progress then go find her.

In recent months, my DH has also started a new project: Tattooed With Children.  He, Flava Ray, and his blood brother, The Dred Pirate Benjamin, have been friends for about 9 years and are just able to have conversations that most interracial friendships can't withstand.  They are a great listen but I often find myself arguing with them.  While my husband is willing to talk about race relations, he always seems to pull back on the topic.  That being said, in their last episode: Patterns, DPB mentioned that people had mentioned to him that they FR and DPB spend way too much time identifying people as Black or White.  I saw red and flushed with anger.

Poor Flava Ray has been hearing my thoughts on this one little phrase for hours.  Now, I understand that FR isn't pulling back on race talk.  However, I needed to talk it out and since he is who I have easy access to well he gets the ear full.

My first inquiry/assumption was Who is saying you spend too much time on identifying people?  Are they White?  I ask this for a couple of reasons, Wight (as Ally Henry spells it) people are quick to shut down conversations about race.  If we don't talk about it then it is obviously not a problem.  You can't help to talk about problems ergo if we can avoid the topic of race then race isn't an issue.  WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?  Just because it isn't a "problem" for you doesn't mean that it is not a problem or issue that others face.

Flava informed me that the majority of listeners are European.  Dude I went off.  Fucking We Don't have Racism here that is an American problem Europeans!   Once upon a time, a former friend told me all about her English cousins' favorite pastime, Paki Bashing.  In this game, you drive around with a bat and beat the shit out of any Pakistani person you come across.  Maybe 15 years ago, France was closing the immigration route for people from Angola because they were taking French jobs.  Do we need to talk about the Germans?  The final solution?  But of course, Europeans aren't racists.

My second inquiry/assumption: Why are you trying to change anything about your podcast unless you think it needs to change?  Now Flava did set me straight.  They were having a conversation not making changes and conversations are just that.

I saw red for many reasons but the top one is that I'm tired of the conversations being shut down.  I understand that one of the privileges of being Wight is not having to think about race much.  In the United States of America, the standard is White.  Flesh-colored anything means peachy/beige.  Unless you put "Black" or "Ethnic" Google search results for haircuts, skin rashes, and so many other things pull up images of White people.  There isn't any extra effort involved.  White just is.

I am a Mexican woman, married to a Black man, and raising 2 beautiful Blaxican daughters.  When my oldest breaks out in a new skin rash and I want to try to confirm what that rash might be, I have to work to find an image of a rash on darker-toned skin.  I know when buying nude colored pantyhose that the bitches are going to give me beige legs rather than highlight my beautiful brown legs.  I know that unless I tell people my husband is black or they see him with me, people will assume they can talk shit about Black people.

Unless a person of color opens a door to discussion, the standard of White is the standard.  Why make band-aids in darker colors, they will protect the same, right?  We need Hello Kitty and Disney du-jour but a professional person of color needing to cover a wound can just use a highly visible "flesh-colored" bandage.  Maybe I don't want to explain that I got my flu shot or cut myself shaving but shit I have an exclamation mark on me so of course people are going to ask.

Look, dear Wight people, race is not a dead issue.  If the conversation makes you uncomfortable, then ask yourself why you are uncomfortable?  Dig deep.  Dude, I still struggle.  I'm still evolving in my own thought and feelings on the topic.  I catch myself making assumptions and have to stop and go, is that true? is that prejudice?  Did that thought just jump out of my thoughts?  I thought I was better than that.  Guess what I'm not.  I progressing but am far from perfect.  As Ally says, "progress not perfection" is what we are striving for.  Let's talk.  Let's roll in the shit storm and then hug it out.

No comments:

Post a Comment