Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Colors of the World

Color does not matter, or does it?

We are lucky to live in a world where color is abundant; everywhere we look the multiple hues of the rainbow reflect in our eyes.  Our words describe the latest colors of our living rooms from shades of nature:  Grand Canyon earthy tones; ocean blues; the greens of the forest pines; and the yellows of the sunshine.  Picking out something as simple as shoes becomes more than a couple of selections – no longer black, grey or brown; we select from darkest black to charcoal black to heather grey to coffee bean brown or even chocolate.
As our choices in the color palette have grown, one thing remains relatively the same:  we tend to be drawn to the colors that most attract us.  We all have personal tastes and with the umpteen choices in the color of brown, we get to pick and choose what unique color makes us happy or suits us best.

Hmmmm.  Read my last line in the preceding paragraph:  we get to pick and choose what unique color makes us happy or suits us best.  I am talking about colors, right?  Not people?  Okay, sure you say, we get to pick and choose what unique people make us happy and suit us best.  Right?  Of course!
Now add color to the mix.  As in color of people.  Yes, you read that correctly. 

I am infuriated.  I am sick.  Why in the name of potato sacks am I writing about the color of people…PEOPLE FOR GOSH FRICKIN SAKE…….in the modern year of 2012.
Racism, my friends.  It is no longer 1957; however, some fifty-five years later, racism is still alive and kicking.  I am heartbroken.

Granted, we can say our society has come a very long way since 1957 but holy poo……(why use sophisticated words when this is as simple as it gets), racism is still prevalent and more common in 2012 than one would be so inclined to think.  Am I naïve?
My father was born in 1934.  He was raised in a time where racism was the socially accepted norm.  Despite becoming less ignorant as he grew with age and acquired wisdom, he was deep down inside racist. 

In high school, I was very good friends with some black people.  In fact, I became very close with a black boy who was MVP of my track team. 
I remember my father setting his foot down and telling me that he would NOT allow any daughter of his to date a black guy.  First of all, I was friends with him.  Secondly, this particular episode was the first time I questioned my beloved father, and it sparked an all-out debate (okay, a knock down dragged out fight).  My parents had raised me to be “color-blind” when it comes to people and their different races.  Yet, here was my father being a hypocrite and telling me, a sixteen year old, that I could NOT EVER date a boy based on his skin color.  How dare he?  I remember telling myself at that time, I would NEVER treat my children in this same close-minded manner.

Flash forward some twenty-two years and my almost fifteen year old has a boyfriend.  A few weeks ago, she reluctantly shared with me that a boy asked her out and she had said yes.  (Now, our house rules on actually “dating” at this age are an entirely different blog post……..stay tuned)!  I immediately began asking questions about this boy; the teen who got my particularly picky daughter to say yes to his request to "go out" in the new and awkward world of high school “dating”.  The long and short of it is this boy is from a country in Africa, so yes, he is black.
My husband and I have discussed this before – when friends of our asked what we would do if our daughter ever decided to go out with a “black” boy.  I was shocked and asked why it would be any different than any other boy.  Racism, my friends, reared it’s big, fat and very ugly head.

A few of my daughter’s friends at school, upon finding out she was “going out” with someone, came up to her and said, “Oh, he’s black?”  What…the….fluffernutter?!?  Would you ever go up to someone upon learning of a new relationship and say, “Oh, he’s white?”  Please pause while I bang my head against the wall <bang….bang….bang….>.
A beloved family member also expressed some concern about the difference in race.  Granted, this family member is of that generation that has yet to fully come around.  Like my father, the older generations all claim they had good friends that were black; but they all have issue and discomfort with a romantic relationship of mixed origin.

Polka dot babies?  Really?  Sadly, my father referred to chocolate milk babies if I were to hook up with a black man with me being white.  <Bang.....bang.....bang......>.
You see, my daughter is not getting married or having babies just yet.  She’s nearly 15.  She's just now embarking into the wonderful world of teenage romance.  Did we not all "try on" multiple relationships to see who would be a good fit with our personalities?  My beautiful girl cannot help who she is drawn to.  She cannot help the “color” of person she is attracted to.  No ,I am NOT talking about skin color – I am talking about the color of character! 

All of this nonsense sparked a great conversation with our children – one of open dialogue and one where we all contributed; how silly it seems that there are people out there who cast judgment upon a person for something like their skin color.  We agreed that even being of the same immediate family, none of us have the same skin color.  It is true – my son has a yellowish tone to his skin and tans the darkest shade of bronze any of us have ever witnessed.  My oldest has the purest white skin and burns incredibly easy.  My youngest is somewhere in between the two.  I am remarkably white and even more so freckly.  My husband has a nice tone even skin year round.
To my joy and approval, my son brought up gay marriage to the discussion and it warmed my heart as we continued to talk about how one should be able to spend time with the one that makes them smile and laugh.  We should spend time with one that makes our heart smile and flutter.  Like the multitude of colors in our universe, our human race is filled with just as much beauty and it is, after all, our choice to have the freedom to choose which shade suits us just fine.


  1. Good for you. It's ridiculous that it's even still an issue. I'm married to a man born in India, and people always ask me where I adopted out daughters from. GRRRR

  2. It is ridiculous and absurd. America, the great melting pot and here we are still disapproving of interracial relationships. For all my knowledge, my daughter's boy could very well have been BORN HERE, but his family is from Africa. There will always be cultural differences; however, the ignorance that comes with skin color differences makes me shake my head. (Your daughters are beautiful, btw!)