19 November 2007

'Emancipate Yourself from Mental Slavery...'

How important is the issue of 'race'?
Why do we differentiate each other as a 'race'? Although the title of my blog states I am 'black' and a woman it still gives me pause for thought. Does it matter what my so-called racial background is? I would like to think not, but for the majority of people it does. It matters because humans prefer to take the easiest route and use the reptilian part of our brain, rather than focus on the individual, the person behind the persona.
It is now given as fact that homo sapiens arose out of the region of the world now known as Africa. Moving up the landmass, travelling in a bid to explore and find pastures new. As they moved from hot to cooler climes they needed less protection from the sun and hence the skin shed the eumelanin.
All my skin colour tells you about me is my ancestors lived closer to the sun, needed more protection from the sun which in a 'white' person would result in more frequent melanomas. Period. That's it. Superficially speaking, that is. It doesn't tell you much.

I previously worked in an environment (99% white) where a colleague asked me a rhetorical question:
'Isn't it awful for black women? Black men, all they want to do is have babies and don't work, isn't it?'
How do you think I responded to that?

I will explore this subject a bit further as this blog expands but your thoughts on this are welcomed.

Although I do not follow or believe in any religion the words of Haile Selassie are poignant:

"That until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally
and permanently discredited and abandoned: That until there are no longer first-class
and second class citizens of any nation; That until the color of a man's skin is of no more
significance than the color of his eyes; That until the basic human rights are equally
guaranteed to all without regard to race; That until that day, the dream of lasting peace
and world citizenship and the rule of international morality will remain but a fleeting
illusion, to be pursued but never attained."

3 comments:

ChewMouse said...

I cannot believe such an incredibly stupid and thoughtless remark such as "...black men, all they want..."

Frankly, I would have laughed.

I am very very nice until someone who is not actually cognitively impaired behaves like a moron. Then? My little mouse fangs come out and I am not vaccinated for rabies. HA!

By the way, visiting my son at college last weekend, I saw a young black student (male!) sprawled shirtless in the sun (that's why I specified male). I walked over to him as my husband groaned and said, "Do you have on sunblock, son?" and a white kid in the shade said, "Why would he need sunblock?" and I pointed at the white kid and said, "YOU take a class in some sort of human biology." I then pointed at the black kid and said, "YOU go get some sunblock on."

Malignant melanoma is rarer in dark-skinned people but it is every bit as deadly as in anyone on this planet.

Oh...I'm a nurse.

But those kids didn't know that because I am, first, a mom.

Thanks!

Zee Harrison said...

Chewmouse,
Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Good point - so many people,black people in particular, are unaware that skin cancer can affect them.

I know people who live in cold climates for 48 weeks of the year and spend 2x weeks trying their very hardest to get burnt/browner as quickly as possible. They spread coconut oil, olive oil and even ordinary cooking oil on their skins to speed up the effect.

Ignorance is not bliss. Black people beware - skin cancer is a killer. Slap on the sunblock and make sure it is one of quality too!

Thanks again,
Zee

P.S. I checked your site and note you are mad about dogs - so am I! I have three mixed breed dogs who are crazy and amazing and really enhance my life!

isabella mori said...

it's amazing how something that is right in front of us can elude us for such a long time.

"emancipate yourself from mental slavery" - from my favourite bob marley song - and i have never stopped to really think about what this means to me.

thank you. i have something to mull over now.