“It’s a Black thing you wouldn’t understand.”
The first time I heard that statement, I was probably about 15 or 16 years old. It stuck in my head, because I couldn’t get my mind around it. It didn’t make sense, even being black. I mean, of course I understood their point; it referred (rather crassly) that if an individual were not black, they couldn’t possibly understand the challenges of being black.
However, suffice it to say, few things could be further from the truth. While I might not understand the difficulties that a particular man (who happens to be white) may be going through, I can still understand what facing difficulties feels like.
Barring certain instances and/or nuances- gender, status, or sexual orientation aside, no selective group has a monopoly on the truth. As another example, I’ve heard of men being scolded and maligned that they had no right or say when it came to the issue of abortion, simply because they lack the inner mechanisms necessary to produce and carry a child.
Let’s be clear. My inability to become pregnant does not bar me from giving an opinion on whether or not infanticide (the murder of a child) is morally acceptable. Recent conversations have revealed that there are
those that emphatically believe that black parents should only rear black children, and white parents must likewise do the same. However, skin color, much akin to sex, does not in any way prohibit you from opining on any given subject; you are merely limited.
Why is this important?
Because is it in those aforementioned distinctions, without a difference offering preeminence by perception, in which we are trained. It is often by watching children play that we notice just how little race makes a difference. The distinctions for which many have fought and died are merely just an integral part of the matrix that they ignore.
It is only when race is introduced that those same distinctions, that once made no discernable difference, begin to define. Despite how others have portrayed it on a case-by-case basis, be it in history or by personal experience, such attitudes concerning others; (i.e., racism) are not innate. They are not inherited or passed through bloodlines like a predisposition to breast cancer, or a rare genetic disorder.
How we view race, its varying distinctions, and the prejudices that accompany it are taught.
Less than 30 years ago, many black children played with action figures and/or dolls- that were white. Now, without getting into the weeds concerning why the skin color of said figures was what it was, there is a
much more salient point before us. The color of the toy (or lack thereof) did not confuse, discriminate, or define any of us. Parents and other adults often take care of that before the outside world gets a chance.
So why make it an issue? Because it supports an agenda.
When a non-issue is forced for consideration as an issue, it is not akin to making a mountain out of a molehill, but rather making a droplet of water into an ocean.
Take for consideration a recent story from the online magazine simpleflying.com. According to the piece entitled, “American Airlines Celebrates Bessie Coleman’s Legacy With All-Black Female Crew,” journalist Devansh Mehta writes how American Airlines recently operated a flight from Dallas Fort-Worth Airport to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Arizona with an all-Black female crew.
“This includes everyone involved in the safe operation of the flight, including the captain, flight attendants, aircraft maintenance agents, to even the cargo personnel,” Devansh states, “The flight was to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Bessie Coleman getting her pilot’s license.
Onboard the flight was Gigi Coleman, Bessie Coleman’s niece, who now runs an after-school aviation program named after her aunt. This was the first time in American Airlines’ history that a flight was operated by all-Black female crew. Bessie Coleman was the first ever female of color to get a pilot’s license.
Fueled by her passion for aviation, she had to travel all the way to Europe to attend flight school, as women had virtually no opportunities in the United States. Bessie obtained her pilot’s license in 1921, over a hundred years ago.”
Honorable? Certainly. Worthy of a celebration? Absolutely. Harmless? Maybe not.
What if it were an all-white crew? Granted, even if an argument could be made for it being representative of the times in 1921, excluding women based on the color of their skin was just as wrong then as it is now.
Somehow, someway, based on skin color, we overlook it. Inevitably, the lines become blurred every time color is involved.
**Editor’s Note: Come back Thursday when Lawrence digs a little deeper!