Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Red What?

So in recent months I've become more informed of the history of Native Americans in this country, especially when it comes to the oppression and lets be honest, genocide perpetrated against them.

One issue that has been getting much attention over the years is the use of Native symbols as mascots for sports teams.  In fact, the first high school I attended in the Midwest had the same mascot as a certain NFL team in Washington State. I was curious to see if the same controversy had touched them and indeed it had. What I found disturbing though, was that there was such an outcry to keep the offensive mascot name, that nearly half of the student body refused to vote in protest when it came time to pick a new mascot. I sit here shaking my head. The arrogance of a group of people who when confronted by the very people that a symbol is claimed to honor,yet refusing to listen to or have any sensitivity towards them whatsoever.

I love this video below released by the National Congress of American Indians. Really gets the point across.
It aired in a shorter form during last night's NBA finals telecast. 

 Newsflash.  If I (or anyone) tell you that a word or symbol you're using to describe me is offensive and hurtful, guess what? It is. And it needs to stop. Now.

Color Blind?

"If you don't see color, then you don't see me."

-Racey from the webseries The Unwritten Rules.

Like I mentioned in my previous post, I've been away from my blog for quite a while. But this issue of 'color-blindness' is one that I've discussed briefly on social media.

Last year, I shared the work of provocative podcast host and author, Tiffany Rae Reed. She is the author of Color blind:A Mixed Girl's Perspective on Biracial Life.  I posted a link to her book on my Facebook wall last Fall right after I read it for the first time.     The response was of course positive.   But, as I suspected it might happen, I did get some pushback suggesting that we all should indeed strive to achieve colorblindness in order to move on from our country's racially charged past.

I admit, for most of my adult life I believed this was desirable as a Black woman. I think I've even used the term to describe myself, believing it proved my truly open and non-prejudicial nature and life.

But, what I didn't realize at the time(until a couple of years ago, seriously..) was that by pursuing this ideal of complete racial harmony and acceptance, I was doing others a disservice by refusing as Racey says to truly see them, color and all.

The profound words of my friend Tiffany and now this character Racey have solidified my rejection of the color blind ideology.

If you've never seen an episode of the Unwritten Rules, which is based on the book of the same name, I highly recommend it.  I suggest starting with the first season and binge viewing(episodes are short, enlightening, and entertaining) all the way through to the current season(3).  Otherwise, check out this month's episode on mistaken identity where Racey delivers the above words that stopped me cold as I walked through my kitchen and invited no small amount of soul-searching.