If you can’t behave yourself and you’re going to write hateful comments about anyone, I suggest you stop reading this post immediately.
This is not a hate post, or a racism post, or a what have you post.
I am not looking to start fights in comments about this versus that, I am just bringing up for some education, civilized discussion.
Anyway back to my topic.
It’s more of an observation I made listening to the news, and reading (great) articles like this one: How I lost my dad.
(Hat tip to Revanche for the link)
Upon listening to the wave of stories and history of everything that’s been happening in all parts of the world, I realized that it was all the same thing everywhere else just with different people.
We humans just don’t like other humans who are not like us.
Isn’t that true?
I mean I talked about this a bit with my rant about the PF Blogging community that should really just STFU and let people wade into a sea of debt if they’re reading PF blogs and still choosing to make bad-for-their-financial-future decisions.
EVEN BABIES DO IT
There was a study I read recently in the Metro News in Toronto that said that babies don’t like people who aren’t like them.
Babies, like adults, prefer individuals who like the same things they do.
A new study reports that they want individuals who share their tastes to be treated well by others, but want those whose tastes differ from their own to be treated badly.
It’s not really something that is TOTALLY, 100% learned from our parents and society. It’s also innate.
On to adults!
BLACK VERSUS WHITE
The most commonly heard of “case” for racism is between black people and white people.
But if we think about it who’s really black and white, these days?
It’s so vague.
If you ask Italians, would they call themselves “white”? Or Mediterranean?
How about the Spanish? Greek? Portuguese?
Are they considered ‘white’? Do they consider themselves ‘white’?
BLACK VERSUS BLACK
Among black people, there also seems to be a divide between black people themselves, and I’ve heard stories of friends saying that they were told they weren’t “acting black enough”.
(But she says they totally bond over hair troubles)
What does that even mean – “not acting black enough”?
What do they have to do, to be “blacker”?
Is it the colour of their skin? I think not.
Alek Wek (a top supermodel) is darker in her skintone than Tyra Banks (also a top supermodel), and they’re both considered black, and identify with being black.
So is it attitude? Lifestyle?
What is it that makes someone “black enough”?
WHITE VERSUS WHITE
Back to the Italians, Spaniards and the rest of the non-Scandinavian white folk.
I have a story of an Italian girl who told me her mother was SO AGAINST her dating outside of her “race” (read: Not Italian), that when she and her sisters grew older, they started saying things like:
I’m going to date an Asian boy!
I’m going to date a black boy!
…all just to annoy their mother who would have heart attacks hearing this all the time.
They didn’t grow up with their mother’s need to “stay within the race”, and tried to make her see how ridiculous it was to want them to date Italian boys just because she wanted them to ‘keep the culture’ alive.
They proved to her over time that being Italian was part of them, and it wouldn’t die if they didn’t marry another Italian.
I dated a few Jewish boys while I was in school, and the things their friends and family would say sometimes, made me do a mild double-take.
For instance a friend of an ex, said:
I myself unlike your boyfriend, can only marry a Jewish girl.
I can date other girls, but that’ll never be serious a thing for me, unless they’re Jewish.
Not that I cared much about what he thought, but it surprised me that he would feel the urgent need to bring it up to me and point out who he would marry or not.
It was like a compulsive need to declare this to every shiksa that crosses his path.
Another ex who was very liberal, was pulled aside by a family friend who was “concerned about his dating a shiksa, and what would his parents have to say about all of this!?”
(Shiksa = Non-Jewish girl)
He brushed off the family friend, but I wasn’t dumb.
I could feel her eyes on me the entire time. I’ll bet she was pleased when we broke up (for other, non-Jewish-related reasons).
JEW VERSUS PALESTINIAN
Speaking of Jews, recently, I have been on a “Curb your Enthusiasm” streak with Larry David as its star (starring himself), and in the episode: Palestinian Chicken (Season 8 Episode 3):
… I not only laughed at the genius that is Larry David, but realized that it’s the same thing.
They may not identify differently because of colour, but they do it by culture, and what’s great about Curb your Enthusiasm, is Larry David’s ability to make fun of everything that is held as sacred.
It’s like putting bacon in matzoh ball soup!
(The rest of the episode is hilarious because he ends up sleeping with that woman, and it becomes a huge divisive problem when it comes down to the Jewish deli versus the Palestinian chicken shack.)
ASIAN VERSUS ASIAN
Even within continents we have problems with trying to pin down who is called what.
East Asians are not typically considered or referred to as “Asian”, as in Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai, etc, even though India IS in Asia.
They are technically “Asians”, but when I say “Asian”, I always mean Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai, etc.
As a result, we have to refer to them as “East Asian” to clarify. Or “Indians from India”, not to be confused with “Indians”, as in “Native American or Native Canadian Indians”.
Just try leaving a comment about how great you think M.I.A. the rapper, is. She’s a Brit, whose roots are from Sri Lanka.
“Don’t call her “Indian”, people say because she’s “Sri Lankan”.”
Or how about within Chinese?
When I was in Hong Kong, I read lots of newspapers about “Mainlanders”, as in mainland Chinese folk.
Mainland Chinese, are those from mainland China, not from the territories of China (Macau, Hong Kong).
Even in Taiwan and Singapore, the Chinese there, don’t associate themselves with being “Mainland Chinese”, and consider them to be a different group of Chinese folks altogether.
HOW ABOUT IMMIGRANTS?
Immigrants or even non-immigrants who don’t look conventionally “white”, are always asked:
What country are you from?
If you snippily reply:
Canada / America..
No I mean what are your ROOTS. Your race and where your PARENTS are from?
They’ll basically keep going until you FINALLY give them an answer because it seems to matter greatly to them to know where you come from.
So even if you were born in this country, and raised as a Canadian / American, you are not “Canadian” or “American”, because taking in the age of the world, they’ve forgotten that not too long ago in 1787 and 1897, all “Americans” and “Canadians” (respectively) from Europe, were immigrants themselves.
Only Native Americans and Native Canadians can call themselves true natives of the country.
Yet no one is going around asking them what their background is — Irish, English, Italian, etc.
HOW ABOUT BI-RACIAL? BLACK VERSUS WHITE, ASIAN VERSUS WHITE…?
Then there was an article I read of a bi-racial girl (gosh I wish I had documented that link somewhere) who was born to a black father and a white mother.
She went back to her father’s country in Africa, and she was told she wasn’t black enough.
They didn’t consider her to be “black”.
Yet living in America, she wasn’t white enough, they considered her to be “white”.
She was in limbo in between these cultures because of her colour, yet she could identify with both.
Or just look at American President Obama — everyone considers him “black”, but he is half black, half white.
Or how about just within Asian versus White?
I have a friend who is half-Chinese and half-white, who’s grandmother (on the Chinese side, who hates his white mother) offered him $20,000 IMMEDIATELY upon marriage to a pure-blood Chinese girl, so he could “bring the Chinese blood back into the family”.
I was shocked and insulted on his behalf.
As if he is any less of a person because he is half white.
He felt really uncomfortable, particularly since he doesn’t look very Chinese to begin with (think: sandy blonde hair with Asian eyes, but white features), and his grandmother who even though she loves him, is always comparing him to other kids who are half-Chinese, half-White, but were born with black or very dark brown hair and more “Asian” features.
Anyway, these are just thoughts I had over the past few weeks, and I thought I’d put it out there that no matter what culture you’re in, where you live, or who you meet, you will always find a slight racial or cultural bias in them.
It’s just in us.
The thing, is to be aware of it, and to work against such a bias, even though you know it exists.
It’s a bit like knowing that every parent has a favourite child.
(Obviously, I was my parent’s favourite until I had a big fight with my dad and he decided to demote me, and make one of my brothers his favourite child.
I’m now just my mom’s favourite. 😛 )
I don’t care what my parents say, or what I’ll say as a parent in the future, but we will ALL have favourite children in the family, just as we pick and choose who our friends are in real life.
But as long as your parents are aware that they are (naturally) connecting better with certain favourites in the family, and work against heavily favouring them to the point of being unfair to the others, it’s a step in the right direction.