Thursday, September 3, 2015

Please Get Over Yourself: Why Race Doesn’t Have to Be the Issue We Make It

I have a white friend who adopted a black child a little over a year ago. Ever since, she's gone off the deep end.

When he was an infant, she measured everything and then proclaimed said measurements on Facebook. How much he ate. How much he pooped. How much he slept.

It was a constant stream of information that, honestly, didn't matter. Not for her. Not for her son. Not for any of her 350 Facebook friends.

Now that he's two, she's taken to posting more stuff that doesn't matter, this time all race-related.

For example, earlier this week, she was lamenting about how difficult it is to find children’s books with black characters instead of white. And yesterday, she decried the horror of going shopping for Band-Aids because they’re traditionally tan instead of black.

This drives me nut, and it’s not even because she’s being so insanely PC. It’s because she’s training her son to be damaged. I’m sure she has the best of intentions, but she’s still teaching him to focus on race, which leads to misconceptions, insecurities and an inability to play well with others.

That’s something my parents never did, for which I’m extremely grateful.

Go ahead and make the “you’re a privileged white girl; you didn’t have to focus on race” argument all you want. But how happy are people who make those accusations?

From this white girl’s perspective, they seem just as miserably unhappy as the racists on the other far side of the debate.

As a kid, one of my favorite books involved a main character that was black. Yet I didn't even think about putting it in a different category from my books with white main characters… or from those featuring animals for that matter. I loved the plots and the pictures. End of story.

Likewise, in my preteen years, one of the girls in the crazy-popular “Babysitters Club” series was black and happened to be one of my two favorites because she was a ballerina. (Apparently, for some idiotic reason, I was still harboring dreams about being a dancer at the time.)

As for Band-Aids matching skin color? I'm a white girl. Like really white. Like Victorian white. Which incidentally isn’t in at all these days.

Those first-aid kit staples don’t even come close to matching my pasty skin. Yet I’ve never even dreamt of getting offended by that. Suitable stockings, maybe; but not Band-Aids.

All jokes aside, my point is that race isn’t an issue if we don’t make it an issue. So to my white friend and the rest of the world, can we please skin-tone it down?

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