Thursday, November 6, 2014

Coloured People

When you hesitate to post your honest thoughts because of all the disclaimers you think you need to post, it may be a good sign that you shouldn't post your honest thoughts.

I'm going to anyway.

I trust that my readers know me well enough at this point to understand that I am not trying erase history. I want to read and understand the true stories of what people have done to other people in the name of "race" and to totally change the way we talk about "race" now and to totally change how we treat each other.

I realize that I am certainly not the first to broach this discussion and I won't be the last.

Please read with a kind heart, the same heart with which this was written.  If you choose to comment, please comment with a kind heart.  Let's be loving to each other.



I came across the story of Paulo Serodio and became curious about the term “African-American,” so I looked it up online.

"Online" – the definitive authority on anything and everything.

Specifically, I wanted to know if any American who comes from the continent of Africa can call himself “African-American.”

It turns out that they can't, and, in fact, they shouldn't. The only people who should call themselves “African-American” are those who descend directly from dark-skinned slaves in the United States of America. The reasoning is that the slaves, when taken from their native lands, were stripped of tribal or national identification, allowing them only to identify as “African.” This, apparently, prevented them from banding together and revolting against their slave masters.

So, anyone who comes from the continent of Africa to the USA should not call themselves African-Americans as this is insulting to those who actually descended from African-American slaves. They are, instead to call themselves Nigerian-Americans or Tanzanian-Americans (or country-of-origin-American), to eliminate confusion.

Except that other people of colour say that the slaves were taken from Morocco, and they insist that the descendants of slaves be called Moor, Moorish-American Moslem, or Asiatic.

Still others claim that the slaves brought over from the east are actually descendants of the 12 tribes of Israel and should only be called Hebrew Israelites.

Finally, there are those who say that American-born folks are so different from Africans that they should never call themselves "African-American," because it's offensive and disrespectful to African immigrants.

So, does that clear things up?  All it tells me is that the people that the US government classifies as "African-American" can't agree on whether they should be called "African-American" or not.

But wait, there's more...

White people, typically known as "Caucasian" should continue calling themselves “Caucasian” even though most white people have no idea where Caucasus is. (It's a region in southern Russia, very close to Sochi, the city where the Olympics were recently held.) The term “Caucasian” was given to people of a region, regardless of their skin tone. It was then changed to “Caucasian Race” to describe one of the two known races at the time. (The other was “Mongolian,” obviously.)

At the time, people of the Caucasian Race were considered more attractive (physically, morally, and intellectually) than their Mongolian counterparts. Within this specific "race," the ultimate archetype was found within the German people; it was concluded that they were the most attractive and virtuous people on earth.

And so, World War II happened.

"Caucasian" is now used to describe people both anthropologically and racially; it can refer to their ancestors' region of origin or their skin colour.


I have an idea. How about we all just be people... people who live in this country or that country? When we try to define humans by “racial” classifications it gets very confusing. If we want to fix “racial relations,” let's start by treating each other like members of the Human Race. We could pretend that we're all kind of the same and kind of different, regardless of our country of origin or genetic lineage. It should be pretty easy since we are all kind of the same and kind of different. If our governments and schools and employers can stop segregating us on forms and censuses, we may just have a chance to break free of the social construct (man-made myth) that "RACE" defines us. Shouldn't we, instead, consider who the person is underneath the skin?

I have less melanin than some people. I have more melanin than other people. I try my hardest to not let that make a difference in how I treat anyone. I encourage you to do the same.

**I know that someone reading this will say that, medically speaking, it is important to know your "race" and report that to your doctor and/or pharmacist, as certain "races" are predisposed to certain problems. I disagree. Ethnicity matters. Ethnicity is "a socially-defined category of people who identify with each other based on common ancestral, social, cultural, or national experience." If you feel that your ethnicity matters, by all means, report that to your doctor.  Let your ethnicity guide your medical treatment, just as the report of a trip to West Africa may guide my medical treatment. But please understand that we define our ethnicity; it does not define us.  It is medically necessary, but not socially necessary.**


by Toby McKeehan and George Cocchini

Pardon me, your epidermis is showing, sir
I couldn't help but note your shade of melanin
I tip my hat to the colorful arrangement
Cause I see the beauty in the tones of our skin 

We've gotta come together
And thank the Maker of us all 

We're colored people, and we live in a tainted place
We're colored people, and they call us the human race
We've got a history so full of mistakes
And we are colored people who depend on a Holy Grace 

A piece of canvas is only the beginning for
It takes on character with every loving stroke
This thing of beauty is the passion of an Artist's heart
By God's design, we are a skin kaleidoscope 

We've gotta come together,
Aren't we all human after all? 

Ignorance has wronged some races
And vengeance is the Lord's
If we aspire to share this space
Repentance is the cure 

Well, just a day in the shoes of a color blind man
Should make it easy for you to see
That these diverse tones do more than cover our bones
As a part of our anatomy 

We're colored people, and we live in a tainted place
We're colored people, and they call us the human race
We've got a history so full of mistakes
And we are colored people who depend on a Holy Grace


  1. Thank you for such a beautifully written blog post my dear niece!

  2. Very well said and educational.