Often when I talk to people about race they say, “When I look at you I don’t see color.” My response to them is always the same. Aloud I say, “That is your loss, my color is beautiful.” To myself, I say, “You are either unobservant or a liar.”
Noticing a person’s color is not a problem, behaving badly because of that color is a problem.
I am many things. But, first and foremost, I am black. Before anything else, I was destined to be black because both my parents are black. Next, I am a woman because of biology and my chromosomes. Everything after that is a matter of choice. I chose to be a Christian, a wife, a mother, an attorney, a writer, an amazing person. But it all starts with black.
When you look at me in the photo above of course you notice my black suit jacket, the orange print on my silk blouse and the crazy orange beaded earrings. At the same time, you notice my beautiful brown skin. The kind of skin some people sit in the sun for hours trying to achieve. When you look at me and notice that confident smile, you cannot help but notice the pretty brown cheeks that surround it. When you see those glasses making me look all super smart and sexy, you cannot help but notice the big old brown forehead above it all! When you look at me, you notice the color of my skin just like you notice the color of my clothes and glasses. Stop lying, admit it, you notice it.
If you want me to respect your opinions on race, stop denying you notice mine.
Like many people living in America who have traveled and attended college, I have friends of various ages, races, religions and sexual orientation. Believe it or not, I even have a friend who is a Republican and a Cowboys fan. (Yuck!!!) I notice those differences. When I went to a blogging event with my white friend, I noticed she was white, just like I noticed she walked fast and liked to jaywalk. When I went to the library with my friend from India, I noticed she had brown skin, darker than mine, just like I noticed she liked romance stories. When I was at dinner with my lesbian friend, I noticed she got the phone number of the waitress at the next table just like I noticed she cut her food up into the smallest pieces ever.
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