Saturday, October 15, 2011

Skin Deep?

Young black girl with Vitiligo.
I'd like to present Black Diaspora another blogger and a dear friend of mine. I hope you enjoy Diaspora's topic, in fact, I know you will, and any questions you may have please direct them to Diaspora because he has the floor. Thank you!

In keeping with this blog's recent focus on "race" and "color," I want to extend the conversation around these two volatile topics.

In a previous blog entry, Mr. Francis Holland examined how color and race converge to create what he identifies as "Extreme Color Aroused Disorder," and the social pathology that has emerged around it--that the Disorder manifests itself, not so much as a difference in kind, but as a difference of degree.

I thought I would take a speculative look at the major element in this pathology around race--"color" itself.

What if we could eliminate "color" from the equation, from the racial construct, would this act alone make considerations along the colorline obsolete?

As science progresses, this possibility will become more and more a reality for those of us who would like to minimize "color aroused" responses in our daily lives, or eliminate them altogether.

The obvious question arises: If you're African American, would you undergo an extensive color-altering transformation--or impose it on your children--if it meant less "racial drama" in their lives or yours?

For some, this decision has already been made, well in advance of the science, as this video clip from the Tyra Banks Show so painfully reveals. Warning: Their reasons may shock you!

Growing up in the South years ago, racism in one form or another, was a daily reminder that color (and that primarily) kept me from fully participating in the larger white society--from where I could sit in a theater, if I was able to sit at all, to where I was allowed to eat, sleep, or relieve myself.

As a child, I often dreamed of how my live might be experienced, if such impediments didn't exist.

I wasn't angry with the color I was born with--the color that nature had given me--but with those who used my color to restrict, discriminate against, and to deprive me of the things they enjoyed by virtue of their whiteness.

If color is the determinant that arouses racial bigotry, what if we got rid of color altogether? How many of us would be game for that?

Let me state the question again: Should African Americans, generally, endorse such a plan (to lighten their skin color), if it meant less racial tension? One thing's for sure, whites aren't going to tan themselves much darker than "Coppertone" to rid the nation of varying degrees of "color arousal." If it's going to be done, African Americans will have to undergo this color-altering treatment.

One thing's for sure: With advancements in genetics, it won't be long before Scientists, using genetic engineering, have the means to alter skin color as readily as they "determine a smile or the shape of [a] nose."
"Designer babies," and color-reduction treatments that could forever change the color of our skin, are not things of science fiction, but are in our ever-drawing-nearer future.
On one television program, a video of a preteen black girl with vitiligo was shown. I gaped, as she went, over a period of months, from being a young black girl to a young white girl, much like the young black girl in the illustration at the top of this blog entry.

As a followup, let me ask another question: Is color and racism only skin deep?
Consider a real-life story of how the color of her skin "reclassified" Sandra Laing, a child of white parents, as "colored" in South Africa's unforgiving apartheid system. Made into a movie, Laing's story brings home the insanity of using color to differentiate people, and to use that differentiation to maintain a system of racial purity, and separation.

" 'Skin' is a fictionalized retelling of the true and terrible story of Sandra Laing, a South African woman whose race was classified and reclassified by the government, then in the mad grip of apartheid. Born in 1955 to officially white parents, Ms. Laing...was judged white. But when the child entered the larger world, her darker skin, and especially her tightly curled black hair, marked her as different. At 10, she was dragged out of school by the police because the principal had decided she wasn’t white. The government agreed and relabeled her 'colored.'"


StillaPanther2 said...

Hello Sister! Saw your comments on FN site. Constant battles on the site now. Me think that the civility of yesterday is gone, never to return for the present format. I quess when one can hide behind bogus names, anything can be said. I really enjoyed blogging when we first started...all of a sudden, it went south. Now it not about the about putting down the messenger. With the lost of face to face and voice to voice...there is no accountability for the hate that springs from the fingers. I still enjoy the wit of the Brother FN and yourself...You got to be Teflon so the slime slid off...I ...well you know. Later

GrannyStandingforTruth said...

My feelings regarding the color of a person's skin are that people, regardless of the color of their skin should be proud of who they are and embrace their heritage. We all as human beings have things to be proud of as part of the human race. I don't feel that my color defines me, it is who I am as a person on the inside and my character that defines me as a person of the human race.

We all have the same desires, flaws, and unique characteristics as human beings. My color does not determine my intelligence, my actions, or how I interact with people, nor does it determine any of my talents.

Black Diaspora said...

@Granny: "I don't feel that my color defines me...."

Granny, I've said this often: We're not our bodies.

If our bodies represented the sum total of who we are as humans, those of us like Stephen Hawkins, British theoretical physicists, would find our intellect, and our ideas dismissed out of hand simply because, like Hawkins, we live in a body that's relegated to a wheelchair.

Further, nothing exterior to us "defines" us--not our color, our station in life, nor the place we live, or the food we eat.

Our beliefs define us. Our ideals define us.

Because "self definition" begins within, we can change that definition in a heartbeat, before our next breath--with just the decision to be the next grandest version of the greatest vision we've ever held of who we are.

It's just that simple.

Anonymous said...

Those young ladies in the video tells the truth about how many Blacks truly feel about being Black. Yes, it is terrible to be born Black in America. there is so much "extra", physically, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually to contend with in society and in the black community.

Those girls represent a large segment of modern day Blacks growing up in America. Bottom line: not too many people like being Black.

Of course, no one want s to admit this truth. sometimes the truth is painful and hard to believe.

GrannyStandingforTruth said...

Anonymous 10:46:

Why don't you email me your name, so I can put your name on the prayer list because no one should feel as bad about themselves as you do.

Black Diaspora said...

@Anonymous, because what's to follow doesn't deserve more: "Bottom line: not too many people like being Black."

I owe it to Granny to respond, no matter how inane the comments, or commentary.

Let me see if I have this right: You make a definitive statement, "not too many people [What percentage are we talking about?] like being Black," and you leave it hanging our there without a shred of evidence to support it, not a poll, not a study, or anything more than the anecdotal admissions of several black women (not "girls").

"Of course, no one want s to admit this truth. sometimes the truth is painful and hard to believe."

Painful for whom? You?

One's person's "truth" is another person's lie. What's "painful" for one, is merely a discomfort for another. What one finds "hard to believe," another swallows easily, especially if it fits snugly within a bias, or a long-held predisposition to a lie of their own making.

Here's my truth: I can't imagine why anyone--black, brown, red, or yellow--would opt to be white, not for convenience, not for opportunity, and certainly not for the much-acclaimed benefits that come with the color--"white privilege."

GrannyStandingforTruth said...

Diapora, I called myself saving my next topic as a draft and accidently posted it. Sorry about that.

Anonymous said...

GrannyStandingforTruth said...
My feelings regarding the color of a person's skin are that people, regardless of the color of their skin should be proud of who they are and embrace their heritage

Except for white people, of course.

GrannyStandingforTruth said...

Nah, whites are included in "people" and "persons" and "regardless." So, speak for yourself.