Our skin colour doesn’t determine who we are. Saying that it does is the foundation for prejudice and racism.
A couple of years ago, I was talking with my brother about music and we just couldn’t get eye to eye.
When I told him that my favourite music genre was progressive rock, he energetically replied: “Well, you’re white, you’re white”.
Ouch! That hurt.
Clearly, if you look at me, you can tell that I’m not white. I have pretty dark skin.
But, at that moment I was told I wasn’t black enough because I don’t have the same taste (in music) as other black folks.
And I know I’m not the only one experiencing those kinds of comments. In the TV series show Marlon, Marlon called his ex-wife white because of her personal taste.
In a Portuguese documentary on racism, one of the intervenients referred to the same issue but mentioned that the comment came from white people.
Now I wonder: isn’t attributing certain characteristics to a racial group the root of prejudice and racism? Doesn’t it seem odd that some people, even black people, say: you’re not like other black people?
Well, it’s not our skin colour, our racial background that determines our personal taste. But we constantly reproduce that idea.
When we try to meet other’s people expectation that’s when race influences who we are.
So, we need to stop putting the focus of who we are into our skin colour. Because our skin colour by itself doesn’t determine who we are.
And, if we want to prevent racism, that’s where the fight needs to start. We need to stop coining skin colour with personal attributes.
We all need to reflect on our personal biases and prejudices, little they may seem, like the kind of music certain racial groups like.
That’s essential to fight against prejudice and, therefore, racism.