“Black” and “White”

Abused by a man. And I am granted sympathy and empathy. Abused by a man of African ancestry. But I am granted no sympathy or empathy. Suddenly we are “black” and “white”. I represent the reason the man has had a hard life. While I never personally did anything to harm this man or anyone of African decent, I represent a long history of oppression and have benefited from it. Wether this benefit was willful or not is irrelevant. I recognize the double standard that says this man can abuse me, but I could not him. Not that I would want to. Now I begin to approach all people of African decent with caution. I understand our contrasting colors of skin grant them the right to be abusive. “Black” people who have not been abusive toward me in the past are viewed as safe. But “black” people I’ve yet to establish a safe history with would be justified in being abusive. I’m told I am their social enemy. Suddenly, I see the world in “black” and “white”, polar opposites. We were once brothers. But the word “brother” has been viewed as a racial slur. So now, I try to only call people of European decent “brother”. We are not people with different colored skin. We are “black” people and “white” people. And those who aim to divide us have succeeded. If I try to bridge the divide, I am view as one who is just trying to be a “white savior”. I want to help only so that I will be revered by the less fortunate “black” people. And if I don’t try to help bridge the gap, I am willingly taking advantage of this “racist” system. There is no winning here. But maybe it’s time for someone else to win. The arbitrary shade of a person’s skin is enough to make us blind to the fact that the only color that really matters is green.

But no. I recognize the aim to divide. I recognize the double-standard as arbitrary. I refuse to buy in to the idea that we are inherently different. I am not responsible for the oppression of people of African dissent. I’ve always had nothing but love in my heart. I know I tend to benefit from a system that only sees skin deep. But division isn’t the answer. Those of us who only see skin deep propitiate this system. I refuse to be part of it. One’s skin color should not grant him/her the right to anything. This includes income, but also participation in social clubs. This division benefits none of us. We are brothers and sisters. We are in this together.

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