Colorblind: Racial Ignorance in America | Teen Ink

Colorblind: Racial Ignorance in America

November 21, 2009
By silence21 GOLD, Terre Haute, Indiana
silence21 GOLD, Terre Haute, Indiana
11 articles 0 photos 58 comments

Favorite Quote:
I hope to change someones life one word at a time. Hopefully, it's a positive change and it's for the better, but any change at all is a step to an amazing new future.

Though she knew she was breaking the law, Rosa Parks, a simple, elderly, hard working,
housemaid, one day decided she would not give up her seat on the bus for a white man. And with that small act of defiance, she became, unintentionally, a Civil Rights icon.
Parks never intended to be a popular and respected leader of this movement. She only wanted to be comfortable after a day of being on her feet. Parks was arrested, and with the media outrage that followed, America’s eyes began to open.
Sadly, that is a lie. America’s eyes have yet to open. They have steadfastly remained in darkness.

Being the youngest child of an interracial marriage, I am often asked if this relationship has affected me in any way. To be honest, I am rather offended by people who question me about this.

I am simply a teenage girl who chooses to ignore her parents' heritage, racial stigmatism, or any of the myopic, stereotypical prejudices one wishes to impose. That's their problem, not mine.
To be frank, you could not pay me enough to care what slave ship brought my fathers family from Ethiopia. Nor can I feel a pang of sorrow when relatives tell me of my ancestors' hardships when they immigrated to America. I know it sounds harsh. And yes, in a way, it bothers me. But, it is the truth.

I did realize that my father was the same color crayon in my crayon box, brown. But it hadn't occurred to me that he was African- American until the age of seven when a classmate asked, “Why doesn’t your daddy look like your mommy?” My initial reaction was to shake my head and argue that my father looked just like anyone else's father.
How could it could be possible that he was different. He coached my biddy ball team, sat through my two hour Christmas concerts, cooked when mom was away. At that age, some children have yet to learn the difference between doing and being.
That night, at dinner, I saw my parents differently. With my recent discovery, I slowly began to understand that I was biracial, and supposedly different, just like my dad.

As I grew older and went through Catholic school, teachers asked if I celebrated Kwanza. Some classmates called me cookie dough, and parents asked me about Black History Month.
No, I do not celebrate Kwanza, nor does my dad. In my opinion, Kwanza is a recently created black Christmas to build more of a barricade, to separate, not for reasons of heritage, or being different in a positive way.

I did, at one time, let people nickname me because of my skin color. My own mother even took the
liberty of calling me peanut butter. But now, since I have been questioning and thinking, being called peanut butter, Reese cup, and mocha bear, offends me. Or when people say that I am mixed, I feel like yelling. I am not a beverage, so how can I be mixed?

I believe Black History Month, along with other months dedicated to a specific group, should be prohibited. There is no need to focus on a particular group for an entire month. Instead, parents, teachers, and media should discuss historical interests throughout the year.
Historian, Carter G. Woodson’s original Black Awareness Week ,was intended to help others envision a better future through an identity of their past. But now, his vision has become a pop culture phenomenon, which corporate America has been quick to exploit. During the last Super Bowl, for example, several corporate commercials specifically mentioned Black History Month, and how much they honored it.
Another injustice of our nation is affirmative action. On September 24, 1965, the executive order number 11246 required federal contractors, “Take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, color, religion, sex, or
national origin.” With affirmative action, employers are being asked to hire less qualified workers and in some instances for more money. Title II of the Act prohibited discrimination in privately owned businesses and facilities opened to the public. In Title VI of the Act, it prohibited discrimination in federally funded programs. Title VII prohibited discrimination by both private and public employers. During the Civil Rights Era, affirmative action was created to abolish racial imbalances in hiring policies. Affirmative action was later extended to include college admissions and governmental contracts.

Today, affirmative action is a controversial matter facing our equal rights status of individual rights. As I have just recently explained, the idea and hope that affirmative action implemented was that America would truly become equal. So far, this hope and dream of equality has lasted thirty years and has yet to resolve any of our current problems concerning equal rights-it has made things worse. This act was created with intention of using reverse discrimination to resolve discrimination. With this, minority groups are being chosen over qualifications of other workers.

Affirmative action is also influential in the educational system. In some college admissions, minority students who may have never been accepted into a decent college, are now getting accepted. With this, the American people believe that this will end all racism on school campuses, creating diversity among students. The United States constitution states that all Americans are created equal. Therefore, I believe if we are created equal, shouldn’t we all have the same opportunity as everyone else?

Finally, Black Entertainment Television, commonly known as BET, creates a stereotypical outlook on the African American culture. Founded by Robert L. Johnson in 1980, the network showed movies, television series, and music to target an African American audience. BET justifies racism by pressing personal and broad generalizations about African Americans, affecting how many young viewers see the African American culture. Many generalizations include being womanizers, promiscuous, nuisances to society, and opposing integration.

This network contributes to the stereotypical diet of African Americans: fried chicken, cherry Kool-Aid, and soul food. BET also neglects the fact that most African Americans do not find people of Caucasian heritage as the bad guys or the nerds. Also, BET would like to portray the ‘injustices’ of being an American citizen who happens to be of African descent. For example, if one were to create a new television franchise called White Entertainment Television, or more commonly known as WET, people would assume it would be promoting white supremacy. BET exploits and manipulates the depiction of an African American’s daily life, which is why the network should be renamed or taken out of your basic cable lineup.

Why do Americans feel that they have conquered racism and prejudice? Granted, from that spark that Rosa Parks lit, to the election of Barrack Obama, is one giant leap for mankind. However, we are not even in spitting distance of erasing racial bigotry.

I notice it among my peers when they say, “I would never date a black guy.” Or, “They only like your dad because he’s the only black man they know.” Even, “I’m going through a black guy phase. I have to date one.”

When people mention things like these, intuition tells me it starts in the home. Where else would one learn behavior and comments of that nature? Social prejudice is not innate. It has to be predisposed. If one truly wishes to stop the idea of seeing race, it must start within themselves.

The author's comments:
Growing up I've realized the world is colder than it used to be. People still hate people for their race and religion, so how can we say we've come so far?

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This article has 142 comments.

daffe10 said...
on Jun. 24 2010 at 11:57 am
I definately agree wiht this post. This is exactly what AMerica needs to hear! We can't all be treated the same and equal if we keep segregating one another! I f you actually want a difference, you have to start with yourself. We shouldn't even regard skin color. God made us all equally. Our skin color only comes from the amount of melanine in our pancreas to protect us from different amounts of sun exposure, not because we are more or less special. If we stop race-promoting confrences and other corporations with the same idea, maybe we could all get along more. I will definately be writing my own article on this! Thank you, this is exactly what I needed!

on Jun. 22 2010 at 11:44 am
Seabosking05 BRONZE, Upton, Massachusetts
2 articles 0 photos 16 comments
the more we give power to race the more racist people will flourish so we need to have a human history month where everyone comes together no matter where you come from. By celebrating as a human race we can then expand and we will except animals and people from other planets so we can live in universal harmony instead of just living as towne countries and races. 

on Jun. 11 2010 at 11:56 am
TxDragon BRONZE, Saratoga, California
1 article 0 photos 61 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Come and Take it!" -citizens of Gonzales, Texas, when the Mexicans tried to take away the cannon used to defend their town.

to maryon123: Frederick Douglass, the abolitionist, praised the 3/5 rule in the constitution.  The rule was made so that the pro-slave south could not have a majority when voting.  the 3/5 rule heled end slavery. get your facts straight.

The_End GOLD said...
on May. 17 2010 at 7:39 pm
The_End GOLD, Ashton, Idaho
10 articles 0 photos 31 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Any man can stand adversity. If you truly want to test a man's character, give him power." Abraham Lincoln

I come from a small town, and there is black people there, except for my basketball coach. He's married to a white woman, but it doesn't bother me at all. Our whole team has watched out for their little girls like they were our sisters. But yeah, racism is idiotic, and i don't agree with holidays that target a specific racial or ethnic group either.

on May. 11 2010 at 1:45 pm
VanillaDream93 SILVER, Upper Sandusky, Ohio
5 articles 0 photos 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."

I love this article.  I really hate racist people.  We are all humans no matter what color our skin is.  My Advanced English class is reading a book called "Mississippi Trial, 1955" and I've had to put it down and stop reading it numerous times because racism and discrimination is really ignorant and upsets me.

silence21 GOLD said...
on Apr. 29 2010 at 5:22 pm
silence21 GOLD, Terre Haute, Indiana
11 articles 0 photos 58 comments

Favorite Quote:
I hope to change someones life one word at a time. Hopefully, it's a positive change and it's for the better, but any change at all is a step to an amazing new future.

Thank you, and I'm sorry that your family is that way. But I' happy you are open minded to the world around you :)

on Apr. 29 2010 at 7:22 am
morgan_e SILVER, Callaway, Florida
7 articles 0 photos 12 comments

Favorite Quote:
Live life to the fullest.

Oh wow. I completly agree with you . My parents are racists and I hate it. Most of my friends are not white like my mother would want them to be, so she disowned me because of it.

on Apr. 15 2010 at 3:36 pm
iseeME26 BRONZE, San Antonio, Texas
2 articles 0 photos 9 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Make sure your dignity doean't fall to the floor while you run to catch up with the crowd."

i read the first line and i loved it already, good job ;)

on Apr. 14 2010 at 3:55 am
imastar_123 SILVER, Coral Springs, Florida
6 articles 0 photos 5 comments
I get what your saying and its good but i disagree with some points. It sounds like your ashame of your heritage, more then embrace it. Im mixed and im proud of it. When its flag days i put up both because i love being black hispanic and white, it makes me who I am. Also, even though their is Blakc History month it isn't recognized. You may see one commerial and a few posters at school but thats it . I believe black people that made a difference should have a month and other cultures to. But, just because its a holiday does'nt mean people actuall care. To some February is just another month. How much people actually know history, almost none accept the lies that are fed or that one day teachers talk about it. And BET shows reality. It shows Blacks are succeful and that we like to bump and grind, its true we do eat fried chicken and Kool-aid so whats up telling the truth but at the same time we are all human we make mistakes but BET celebrates the black race when no one else cares.

on Apr. 14 2010 at 3:44 am
imastar_123 SILVER, Coral Springs, Florida
6 articles 0 photos 5 comments
actually in those countries they celebrate their independence. You don't see Asians celebrating Black History because it doesn't affect them. Each countrie has their own celebration.

bunnyco said...
on Mar. 7 2010 at 6:12 pm
bunnyco, Anadarko, Oklahoma
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
with god all things are possible.

i feel what you are saying, but at the same time you should be proud and acknowledge where you come from. so who care if someone judges you for what color you or your parents are you should walk with you your head up and let it be known who you really are. I'm black and i understand about not seeing color,but at the same time i proud in what my ancestors have had to go through, but i also don't dwell in it. bhm is a time for you to celebrate who you are and what your people stand for not to segergate yourself from other culture.

silence21 GOLD said...
on Feb. 27 2010 at 6:22 pm
silence21 GOLD, Terre Haute, Indiana
11 articles 0 photos 58 comments

Favorite Quote:
I hope to change someones life one word at a time. Hopefully, it's a positive change and it's for the better, but any change at all is a step to an amazing new future.

Thanks so much <3

on Feb. 26 2010 at 9:21 pm
MarinaOreo GOLD, King Of Prussia, Pennsylvania
12 articles 0 photos 148 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Your soul is the whole world" -Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

I am also biracial, "black" dad, "white" mom. (I hate using those terms..) I agree with you so much. The whole BET thing bothers me too because it takes the whole stereotypical view of black people and just encourages it. Sometimes people bother me about my race but it's more of a joking matter. I don't let it get to me and sometimes it does bother me but it isn't a serious issue. It bothers me so much, what this world has come to. So many issues with race and homosexuality, etc. I also hate when they bring God into the mix. Racists say that God loves us all but yet they discriminate. I can't find the sense in that...Good job. God bless you.

silence21 GOLD said...
on Feb. 17 2010 at 4:33 pm
silence21 GOLD, Terre Haute, Indiana
11 articles 0 photos 58 comments

Favorite Quote:
I hope to change someones life one word at a time. Hopefully, it's a positive change and it's for the better, but any change at all is a step to an amazing new future.

So you're going to do something about it?

silence21 GOLD said...
on Feb. 11 2010 at 7:34 pm
silence21 GOLD, Terre Haute, Indiana
11 articles 0 photos 58 comments

Favorite Quote:
I hope to change someones life one word at a time. Hopefully, it's a positive change and it's for the better, but any change at all is a step to an amazing new future.

Thank you :)

lovelyducky said...
on Feb. 11 2010 at 1:03 pm
Oh wow, I'm also biracial, 14, white dad , blck mom, I've gotten mean comments as well, even tho I only live with my black mom people are ignorant

so go ahead & do whatever you want to do hun

god bless

Maryon123 said...
on Feb. 11 2010 at 9:53 am
Yes, that would be good if we were all treated like people, but according to the Constitution Black people are considered 3/5 of a human being. Since we have been here we havent been treated like people. In 2010 black people all over the world including america are deprived of the very necessities of all human beings they inlcude: Freedom, Justice and Equality. The only freedom we have is to act a damn fool, use drugs, kill eachother, and go to jail.
So Yes thats a good question "Why Not just accept the fact that we are all just people and people need to be treated like people?" Thats a very good question that has an answer and will be answered very soon.

silence21 GOLD said...
on Feb. 10 2010 at 7:38 pm
silence21 GOLD, Terre Haute, Indiana
11 articles 0 photos 58 comments

Favorite Quote:
I hope to change someones life one word at a time. Hopefully, it's a positive change and it's for the better, but any change at all is a step to an amazing new future.

why no just accept the fact we are all just people and people needed to be treated like people?

on Feb. 10 2010 at 6:31 pm
hollyhottell DIAMOND, Redding, California
54 articles 0 photos 65 comments

Favorite Quote:
poetry is a diary written out loud

im a white person and i kind of think the black holiday is and isn't stupid. im not racist at all and i think its sad that people can actually be that way. i think that day can be good for blacks because yes for a very long time ALL people were not treated equal. but blacks wernt the only ones miss treated so were asian, and mexican, and indians and even white people that didnt agree with other whites, but you dont see us making a specific holliday for ourselves. if we all want to be treated the same why are we constantly trying to bring ourselves to everyone elses attension.

Maryon123 said...
on Feb. 10 2010 at 6:12 pm
Im Black.

And Im writing to let you know that i strongly disagree with you.


Black History Month is the shortest month of the year that WHITE PEOPLE decided to acknowledge BLACK PEOPLES history according to them. The other remaining 11 months are strictly focused on WHITE PEOPLES history, can we atleast have one month without someone complaining about it. Since the truth of the matter is we have been here so long that our history has no beginning nor ending, but due to the fact that our legacy has been stolen, adulterated and replaced with lies, we have been made subjected to accepting the month of February as being our history when in fact it's not.