A Question of Color

Published January 20, 2013 by mindfulofchatter

Recently, a sports commentator was suspended, then fired, for questioning the ‘blackness’ of a football player. My local paper had a very well written editorial column about the question of color (written by black man, just so you know). And it made me think (again) about all the fuss we humans make about color.

I am white. There is no question about it. My very fair skin and lighter hair make it impossible for me to be mistaken for anything other than a white woman. I have friends of all shapes, ages and color. My parents never made a fuss about color. They always impressed upon us kids that people are people and should be judged according to their behavior and nothing else.

I grew up in a very ‘white’ town. In high school, while all my friends listened to Yes, Boston, Jefferson Airplane, Pink Floyd and the like, I found Parliament, The Bar-Kays, The Ohio Players, The Isley Brothers, Bootsy Collins and so on. I watched Soul Train over American Bandstand. When I started going out to dance, I went to the clubs that played R&B and Funk. I learned to dance in those clubs, and I’d dance all night.

Never once did I, or anyone else, question my ‘whiteness’.

I married a black man. The now unemployed sports commentator would have questioned his blackness too. He graduated from Harvard with a Bachelor’s degree, then from UCLA with a Masters. He listened to AWB, Cream, The Stones and, well, you get the picture. He was a Republican and married a white woman. The sky did not fall. The earth continued upon its orbit. I never once questioned his blackness. He never once questioned my whiteness.

I really don’t understand why we have to assign everyone a color. And with that ‘color’ there seems  to come a set of ‘rules’. If you don’t follow those rules, others of the same color category will say you aren’t behaving properly. What about those of mixed race? What color are they? What color rules are they supposed to follow? Both? Neither?

Here’s a thought. Let’s forget about color. Let’s stop imposing rules on how you act, what you do and how you speak in relation to skin tones. Let’s stop drawing lines and imposing boundaries.

Let’s just all be human beings and treat each accordingly.



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