When skin is extreme

November 7, 2009 § Leave a comment

This entry is written in response to the August entry to a blog entitled “New Mom To Three”:

How white is too white? How black is too black? Can colors be extreme? Sure we have “hot pink”,
“lime green” and “neon yellow” but can even the most basic of colors be too much of, well…their color?

What about when it comes to skin color? Have you ever known anyone that is “too white” or “too black”? I’m tired of colors quite frankly. Plain sick and tired of them. I love them in the sky, I love them in the sea and I love them in baked goods that are toasted to a nice golden brown but I am so sick of them in people.

What makes human beings so backwards when it comes to skin color? Why do we get so on edge when we see two humans, of different colors, walk hand in hand? Why don’t we react the same way when we see bouquets made up of different colored flowers or our why don’t we freak out because Picasso didn’t always paint all of his masterpieces in one solid theme color?

I’m sick of color. Growing up I became accustomed to sticking out, my upbringing saw too it that I was almost always the odd person out. That is, until I went to an international school where, all of a sudden, all of my friends were from literally everywhere on the globe. All of a sudden skin color didn’t matter, eye shape didn’t matter, height didn’t matter, hair texture wasn’t relative.

Still, my family had to move countries, again and again, and I usually found myself in places where I was, once again, the odd person out. As time went on and I grew into a teenager I began to have some really rotten experiences pertaining to skin color. I don’t, here and now, wish to put them all into writing, but I will say that I still wish that I could have better protected that girl, that younger version of me, back then. I wish that I could have said or done something to the people that hurt me, that made me feel bad, that caused me to shrink in disbelief and wear their shame on my shoulders. I didn’t deserve to wear their shame – shame on them.

Today I live in a city that has roughly 300, 000 inhabitants. This little city has grown in “color” over the past 15 years and it’s a change that I welcome. Now I hear different languages when I walk its streets, I see a variety of new features, I see more of a world that I can relate to. But the scars remain. I still, to this day, avoid looking at people that might look like me. People that might look like any background really, just as long as they are not the Caucasian majority. I do this because I feel that they too must be tired of being stared at. But then one day it hit me that the reason why I have wanted to stare at them in the first place was a positive one. A simple reason really. I stared because I wanted to see something new. Or I stared because I saw something beautiful.

Yet still, despite my positive intentions I still deny myself the right to stare. This is my problem I know – I’ve allowed my past experiences to make looking at someone that is different from the norm be a negative act when, in fact, it should be thought of as a compliment.

Let’s face it though, the real problem isn’t color, it’s people and their twisted perception of what color means. Color is supposed to be beautiful, it should be appreciated and respected in nature in all of its forms and yet such actions seem so hard to implement for some people. I’m sorry. I really am sorry, sorry for them. Sorry for the ones that find something as basic and organic as skin color to be such a complex issue. I’m sorry that they cannot see past black, white, brown or yellow. I’m sorry that the buck stops there. I’m sorry that they’ll never be able to fully appreciate people because their eyes have deceived them into thinking that people can simply be categorized and put into one box and then left to sit and decay in a corner of their mind.

On their behalf, I’m sorry.

I want to tell you that I will work past my scars and that I will start to stare at people that look like me or that look “ethnic” in any way. I want to tell you that I will allow myself to stare at their beauty and most especially when I am surrounded by mainly people that don’t look like them. Saying so would be a lie though. Truthfully I won’t stare because I’m still carrying around a load of shame that belongs to a mediocre group of people. Sadly, until they change, until they look at someone for the sole purpose of regarding beauty, I will have to go on and look the other way.


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