Sunday, June 19, 2005

Silencing the Majority

I recently came blow to blow (verbally) with someone over the prejudice card. I know racism is a touchy issue - it is alive and well. Prejudice is not limited to skin color, however. There is an ongoing battle between the "white" population and everyone else - the battle to prove that just because you are white, does not make you racist. You can be white, and still be sensitive to the plights of those that are a different color. New flash - this might be shocking to some - you can be white and still be discriminated against. I know - hard to believe, that the white guy (or gal) could possibly suffer a similar plight. No, it is not the same - no one ever said it was. But you cannot make an assumption based on someone's skin color - you cannot assume their experiences, their feelings, their weaknesses. Neither can you discount their ability to understand and relate to your experiences. Remember the old saying, "Do unto others as you would have done unto you?" There is a lot of validity still left in the hackneyed prose, yet we have not learned the value of it. I am sick of having to define myself because I'm white. I am sick of having people of other ethnicities make assumptions about me because I'm the "majority" shade. I should be able to stand on my own two feet, and be acknowledged for what I accomplish and how I treat others, not based on some stereotypical concept someone else has of me. I should not have to define myself as a good person and feel like I need to defend my equal opportunity beliefs. I shouldn't have to prove it every second. I am disgusted by the growing need to walk around with a guilt complex over things that happened in the past, by someone else - and they weren't my ancestors. My ancestors were white slaves! I judge others by who they are, not what pigment they ended up with - yet too often, I am judged by MY lack of pigment. How can we ever find a way out of our division when we create division and bitterness among the very people who strive to avoid it? How can we ever encourage unification and common cause when those who display it are mocked for it? Aside: I hate the term "white." One, I'm closer to pink than white any day of the week. Two, if everyone else gets to claim "__________(enter ethnicity here)-American," what do the rest of the mutts do? Can we be a "Heinz 57-American?" Just curious.