Somewhere, there is a girl who could start a movement with her mind that could change the future for minorities everywhere…a girl whose community could benefit from her ideas of reformation and leadership in ways they’ve never seen before…a girl who harbors the love, patience, and understanding that people need and crave.
Somewhere, there is a girl who is all of these things… but she will never speak up because someone has convinced her that her skin is too fair for her to be considered credible in her efforts.
Sometimes, I think that girl is me.
Or maybe she is you?
Or maybe there is a piece of her in all of us.
Do you know what modern day mind control is? Convincing light skinned girls that they aren’t black enough to speak on black issues.
Do you know what else is mind control? Convincing anyone regardless of their race, religion, or social class, that they are not qualified to speak up against injustices unless they are directly affected by the injustice itself.
In the same way that I am educated enough to know that a tomato is a fruit, but aware enough to realize that people do not treat it as such, I am educated enough to know that race is a social construct, but aware enough to see that this made up theory is still used to classify and separate us.
I grew up in a predominately white area and attended predominately white schools. When I got too passionate in conversations about social reform and inequality among minorities, I could count on it like clockwork…at least one person would stop me mid-rant and say “You’re not even Black.”
- Do you have to be Black to be infuriated by injustices amongst Blacks?
2. I am Black.
Not only has our society programmed us into believing that skin color is a direct representation of ethnic background, but they have also subtly persuaded us to believe that if we are not directly affected by an issue, then we are not to speak up against it.
In fact, it is shown as being controversial to stand up for causes that seem to contradict what others can directly judge, whether through physical appearance or what we openly show of our lives. Why do you think the media makes it a point to show Whites at Black Lives Matter protests? or police at anti police brutality protests? Or heterosexuals at movements for gay rights? We are manipulated into believing that if an individual is willing to stand up for a cause that benefits people who are different than they are, it is noteworthy, when in actuality it should be the norm.
Is it heroic to speak up when there is so much pressure to be quiet? Absolutely. But it is also what humanity is supposed to do. We are to stand for each other and to stand with each other.
I know this doesn’t just happen with Blacks. We are discouraged from caring about injustices against Muslims unless we ourselves are dressed in a hijab. When we speak up for the rights of the mentally handicapped, strangers want to know what connection we have with the handicapped if they cannot judge for themselves whether or not we are the handicapped person. The desire to thrive harmoniously, regardless of our differences, should be enough to push us to stand up for each other.
We hope for unity, but subtly promote separation.
To bring it down to the most elementary level: Have you ever heard anyone discourage someone from speaking up for animal rights because they are not an animal?
Why do we do this with humanity? Why do we continually, indirectly discourage each other from standing up for one another and then be in an uproar when we are standing alone.
If you are striving to create positive, empowered, educated change, you are qualified.
Not only are you qualified, you are needed.
If you are discouraging others from standing against the oppression of groups different from their own, maybe it is time to address why you do that.
Let’s not fall into the category of individuals who operate automatically, relying on old traditions and ways of thinking that aren’t beneficial to humanity as a whole.
Imagine what we could accomplish if we all cared about each other as if the oppression of our neighbor was the oppression of ourselves.