Nationality is the legal relationship between an individual human and a Nation.
Race is a classification system used to categorize humans into large and distinct populations or physical appearance.
Ethnicity is an ethnic character, background, or affiliation.
Example: I was born and raised in Kenya, my ethnicity is Kenyan. However, I moved to the US and over time become a US citizen, my nationality is American. Based on global guidelines of race, I am black, due my physical appearance.
Let me start with a story. As a way to earn extra cash I often baby-sit through an agency. (I mean NYC is EXPENSIVE and a girl gotta eat.) I recently babysat this adorable 4-year-old boy who is OBSESSED with Spiderman. I even had to keep him from climbing on the furniture several times. LOL! Any who, it was movie time and he brings me the DVD for “Spiderman 3” which has the following case art:
After convincing the 4 year old the movie is too scary for ME to watch, he looks at me, with complete innocence, and ask, “Why is that Spiderman black?’
Now, because I am a complete comic book GEEK my initial thoughts were, “WHAT!?! How do you not know???? He’s Venom, DUH!!! Come on kid! I THOUGHT YOU WERE A FAN!?!!!!!!” But it would have been wrong of me to
make fun of scold him due to his lack of Marvel education, so I simply said, “Because he’s Venom.” How silly of me to think that would be good enough explanation for a 4 year old? He asks again, “but why is he black?” so I responded, “Because he’s the bad guy.”
At first I didn’t think much of my response. It’s the truth, Venom is one of the villains in the third Spiderman movie thusly a “bad guy”. It wasn’t until the little boy said, “So, the black one is the bad one?” that it hit me. I looked at his innocent little face and could tell he was digesting the thought, “Black one= bad one=evil.” I freaked.
My mind started racing, “What have I done??? Will this be the catalyst that will start a spiral of racial profiling??? OH-EM-GEE!!! Did I just help create another radical conservative!?!?!” (Shameless jab)
Now, it’s possible I was thinking too hard. As a side effect of babysitting various privileged kids I often find myself relating to the Best-Selling novel and Oscar Nominated film, “The Help.” I just think…
So I quickly sat the little boy down and tried my best to explain to him in the simplest, most delicate matter that Venom is AWESOME! In fact he is one of the best characters/villains in the
Spiderman Marvel Universe. That the actual Venom persona is the side effect of an extraterrestrial parasite that attaches it’s self to Spiderman’s suit. Ultimately turning the suit black and causing Spiderman to act irrationally. I tried my best not to focus on the actual color of the suit but the simple fact that when the suit changes color its a visual clue that Spiderman isn’t his usual “friendly” self.
After a 20 minute, well thought out explanation, the little boy turns to me and says, “So when he turns black he turns bad?” LOL!! Bless his heart. Can I blame the kid? He’s 4! How can I expect him to grasp concepts deeper than shapes and colors? Can I blame Stan Lee , the creator of Venom, for having a “black” villain when he also created the Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, and Sandman? Can I blame myself for not thinking how he might internalize my answer? I don’t know. All I could do was laugh, rub his little head, and say a small prayer that 1.) One day he will understand the concept behind the “Venom Suit” (nerd prayer) 2.) He will not be eternally brainwashed into relating black to bad.
Now most would say I was just being paranoid but was I? Look at what’s happening to our society. Over the last month the amount of racism I have seen in our country has been disgusting. Maybe I just live in a bubble, but I really thought WE, as a people in the United States, had transcended the ignorant thoughts of predecessors in terms of skin color. More specifically the younger generations, who are growing up in a mixed society where there is an African- American president. Call me crazy, but I expect to see more levels of acceptance among our youth. How naive of me?
Instead I fear for our youth. Surfing the web I have come across the most disturbing things and I’m not just talking about the sad case known as Trayvon Martin. I’m talking about the Face book posts, bumper stickers, the public outrage on movie castings, the hate crimes and don’t get me started on the ignorance of twitter. It’s really sad that so many young minds (of all races) feel/ think this way. You really have to wonder, “Where do these kids get this?” The worst part is most of them don’t even realize they’re being racist. SMH! We need to do better.
Many will debate that racism will always be an issue if you keep talking about it but acting like it doesn’t exist and constantly sweeping it under the rug doesn’t help either. The truth of the matter is that racism is ALIVE and KICKING. The evidence is all over the Internet. So you have a choice, you can 1.) Ignore it. Or 2.) You can educate those around you and let them know it’s not ok to judge a person’s moral character based on the color of their skin. At least I tried to explain the “Venom” concept to the little boy. How many of you would have ended the conversation when he said, “So the black one is the bad one?”
Just some food for thought.
Author’s Note: I on purposefully left the little boy’s race out of my story and decided to describe him simply as “Innocent.” I wanted to show that it doesn’t make a difference if he was a Caucasian or Person of Color. If he relates “Black to bad” he could grow up both hating himself and people like him or hating those who don’t look like him. Either outcome is a problem for our society as a whole not just a singular race.
It’s no secret, life is filled with obstacles for the black woman. I can write several posts on the statistics demonstrating how our demographic is destined to fail in every aspect of life (don’t get me started on our marriage rate). It’s a shame….. but what’s even sadder is the disgust black woman have for themselves. It’s hard being black in America but sometimes it’s even harder being a light-skinned black female in her own community.
Before you start protesting hear me out.
There are certain assumptions about light skinned black women. Growing up in the south, I found myself a target in high school. I went to a fairly mixed school but of the blacks in my grade I was the lightest female. In the land of paper bag testing, my light skin color is a symbol of a bias dating back to slavery. It doesn’t help that the modern day entertainment industry often displays lighter black women with black men, white men, and a happy family.
My brown friends got in their head that black men only like women with light skin and long hair. They also believed since they did not have the light-skin or the European features that were displayed in mass media they were not pretty, safe, or sociably acceptable. I on the other hand possessed all three of these elements. (skin, features, and hair) Who cares if it was the early 2000s I was automatically seen as the high yella, think she betta than any one else, house negra our ancestors, for whatever reason, envied. That logic screwed life up for me.
Due to the perceptions of light-skinned women I was bullied. I became the butt of all my darker friends jokes. I would try to look nice going to school but if a guy noticed it didn’t take long for someone to tell him he shouldn’t compliment me or I’ll get big headed. Any dude I was interested in some one else already had “claims”. One time a friend told me, to my face, a guy I liked was too cute for me and then pursued him herself. I didn’t understand the source of the “attacks” at the time. Regardless, it didn’t take long for me to learn if I want to have friends I can’t be pretty and I need to stay single.
Thank God in college (after meeting a fellow lightie) not only did I start to find my confidence but so did many of my friends. I’ve even had discussions with some of them about the past “bullying” and they explained their actions. How there perception of women like me (Light-skin) stemmed from a certain self-hatred. They were projecting their hatred of a media’s beauty to real people. Little did they know I never saw them as anything but beautiful. Being the only lightie, I yearned to look like them.
Too often black women do this to each other. We are turning into a clan of haters. It’s bad enough our race, as a whole, has to face opposition but why are we sub classing ourselves by shade? I get so tired hearing black women rag on Vanessa Williams, Thandie Newton or Paula Patton and how the media displays them as some of the most beautiful woman. Big Whoop, they’re mixed and have European features, and? Those women are GORGEOUS. By the one drop rule they are still one of us! Heck, I’m fully black and look more like them. Not to mention the media, nor I, deny the brown beauties of Queen Latifah, Gaberielle Union or Kerri Washington. So why do we always point the fingers at the light-skinned role models?
You may argue the fact, well those women (Thandie and Paula) are seen as a universal pretty what dark skin woman can you name with the same status? (Naomi Campbell) Another big Whoop! Ask yourself, what am I trying to attract? Go talk to your regular, every day black man. Ask him what he likes. At times my guy friends make me feel like I should just give up on black men all together. (lol) It’s always a unanimous vote that the caramel to dark brown skin chick with full lips and a voluptuous figure is “BAD.” I look in the mirror and I all see is fair skin, medium lips, two bee stings, and an iron board back. (I’m a chick that has to work out for curves) One male friend told me I should wear my hair in its natural wave because it makes me look more exotic. Oh so now I have to be exotic to be “bad” (pulls out Spanish dictionary) So damn, other races don’t won’t me (cause I’m still a nigra), the men of my race aren’t immediately attracted to me, and black women are wary of me. Great…..
Now, there’s the afro-centric/pro-ethnic movement happening. All the brownies that couldn’t go 6 weeks without a perm are cutting it all off and letting the natural kinky curl fly free. I’m with it! Let’s be the natural beautiful women God made. Oh wait, I’m not allowed to participate? Yeah, because some are so pro-ethnic that they harass and exclude their own kind. I guess I don’t look “Black” enough.
I get the rebel against white culture but I swear some brown women see a dude with a light skinned female and you swear she was Caucasian. (not that I have a problem with interracial dating but you get my drift) Yet, when I see a woman with smooth milk chocolate skin, full facial features, and natural hair you can’t tell me that’s she’s not beautiful. (I get even more hyped when I see such a beauty in an interracial couple) So tell me my Sistahs, why can’t you see me as beautiful too? No one is better. We face the same struggle. We branch from the same tree of beauty. We are all beautiful in SOMEONE’S eyes. Most importantly, WE ARE ALL BLACK. We gotta stop the hate and just appreciate ourselves as the strong black beauties we were born to be.
More articles about being on the Lighter Side:
- Girl: I want to be married by 27.
- Me: ...but you're single and 24. You're gonna find someone, date them, have them propose to you, and marry them in 3 years?
- When I was a girl, I swore I was going to get married at 25. Then I turned 20 and I realized that was way too soon. Then I thought 27 would be better because I was with someone and by then, we would've been together for 9 years. Then I turned 21, then a year later, I left him. Now I'm just like"it'll happen when it happens," and I'm absolutely fine with that, but some girls aren't. I know a few girls who have that proverbial ticking biological clock. They have this strong desire to be attached; to be married to someone, it doesn't really matter who. They see every man as a potential husband and they treat them as such. Then they look at me with a mixture of pity/confusion because I don't have the same mentality. As if they feel sorry for me because how will I find a man if I spend my life not looking for one? How will I be happy?
- I don't measure my happiness by a man that decides to be with me. I measure my happiness by how successful I am at living out my dreams. I gave up so much to be with someone before and I refuse to do that again. I'm not going to compromise myself or how I feel for anyone. Somewhere, there is a guy who's dreams will parallel mine or maybe he'll simply help me bring them to fruition. I haven't met him yet, or maybe I have. A few of the men in my life certainly seem to think so, lol. For now, I'm guarding my heart and following my dreams. I'm traveling down this path alone, but I'm definitely not lonely.
So I originally wrote this as a response to a friend of mines post. I got so into my response I decided to repost it.
I woke up this morning with a mix of emotions. I have always been against the death penalty. Permitting death can be seen as mercy, really want someone to suffer make them rot in prison. Then again, if one of my loved ones was killed my stands on the death penalty could completely change . But, would that make me a killer and no better? It’s a very catch 22 topic. However, in the case of Troy Davis I stand against his death.
If there is any doubt in a case the death penalty should not be administered. I don’t care how many times it was delayed, how many courts looked at his trial, etc. Sentencing a crime by committing another is not justice. Period. It’s interesting though, I talked to older folk about Troy Davis and they shook their head and weren’t surprised. I got a lot “A cop was killed, don’t matter who did it someone gotta take the fall in order to protect cops.” What is this the 1950′s? I know this crime happened in the 1980′s but its the 2010′s. We can’t accept that anymore. An eye for an eye to keep power will just leave the world blind. No offense, but some cops don’t need that power. Not every cop is a hero. In fact MOST are shady. Let’s think about how many times we’ve heard a cop kill an innocent person due to misidentification over the amount of cops killed. Not saying the man is innocent but if there’s any type of doubt there’s not case for death. I’m sorry. The system needs to change. When you have cases like Casey Anthony and Dominique Strauss Kahn happen in the same year and both get thrown out because of reasonable doubt (granted they weren’t cop killings) this should have never happened. It’s just further demonstrating the conspiracy that if you have money, a certain stature, or part of a particular race the system will work for you.
Watching Today Show, Star Jones was trying to make the point that a rich white male would never be in this position just to be countered that a rich white male would never go around shooting cops. (a very eye-raising comment if you ask me an duh, a rich man won’t kill a cop. He’ll hire someone to do it for him or pay them off. Any mob movie can tell you that.) Star finished her statement by saying, “A rich white male would never be in this position because of the resources they have. Their lawyers would have gotten them off death row before it could be an option. Most minorities do not have that option.” That is truth. I’m still tight that Dominique Strauss Kahn was serving his “time” in a pen house apartment in New York when you have regular people still in jail because they can’t pay bail for jaywalking. Smdh…. Something ain’t right…
I gotta give it to our generation. We like change and we’ll fight for it. Not everyone is a 24/7 activist but there’s enough “trenders” to balance it out. Between the economic recession, the blatant racism happening in government, etc. America is moving backwards. It’s up to us to keep it moving forward. The officials that run this country and justice systems are old heads stuck in an older time (I personally think the “Tea Party” is nothing but a modern day KKK) more concerned about personal gain over the cries of the people. I really wanna uproot them all.(Sorry, government and media have been pissing me off a lot lately)
However, (I might get some hate for my next comment) I still like President Obama. I think he genuinely wants to help the middle and lower classes. Plus I like underdogs and he’s clearly being bullied by the entire GOP. I know a lot of people were upset with him yesterday saying, ” Why isn’t he doing anything?” Well, because he can’t. The president has no say in such state policies for real, for real. It would have to be MUCH BIGGER, as in a threat to many lives, for him to step in. Plus, let’s be real, he got an election coming up. We gotta stop treating Obama like our great black uncle that’s gonna get every black person off the hook. I give the man credit for being colored blind. He wants to help all people not just blacks. I mean it was cool for us to feel superior that first week he was elected into office but after that it just becomes ignorance. After that you have an “Animal Farm” effect where we are no better than those that oppressed us. We gotta think about Human injustices not just black ones. I heard a lot of caucasian voices speaking out against the death of Troy and I welcomed them all with open arms. That’s how it should be.
A lot of people gave the comment, “it’s just one life,” well it’s one life too many in
my book. Especially if that life had a possibility of innocence. It’s time for a change. I hope enough people keep up the good fight. BUT, most importantly I hope people follow their words with actions, i.e. vote and attend jury duty.
Walk with your words and continue to fight!
RIP Troy Davis, may your death not be in vain
LOL! This made me laugh so hard!
Is it just me, or is social networking taking over our lives? I can recall back to summer 2005, right before my freshman year of college, that’s when I first heard of Facebook. Upset because I still didn’t have my college email address. Feeling extremely uncool because I couldn’t make virtual friends like so many of my actual friends were already doing. When Facebook and I were finally acquainted we became best friends during my college years. Not only could I keep in touch with friends from home but surfing through Facebook was like watching a soap opera. Between changing of relationship statuses, statuses updates, and the putting up or taking down of pictures the real life drama of my network would entertain me for hours.
I am addicted to social networking. I’ll admit it. First thing I do when I get home is open up my computer to see what people are talking about on the net ways. It’s not just facebook either, oh no. Nowadays Facebook only gets checked at most 3 times a day. No, it’s not because it became significantly less cool due to applications and lack of exclusively (My mom joining was awkward) either. It’s because between twitter, foursquare, google+, AIM, tumblr, etc I just don’t have time for Facebook like I used to. So many ways to socially network it’s hard to keep up.
Who knew I cared so much about other peoples random thoughts and daily activities. Social networking has awaken the dormented mini- stalker within me but also indirectly allows me to give people reason to equally stalk me back. I mean can you really call me out for knowing what you did last Friday night when you posted it on your page. So what if I had to actively go to your page to find out, you still put it there.
My smart phone, is an enabler filled with applications for twitter (which are checked constantly), I make sure to check in via Four Square when I go to new places. I have an application that allows me to log on to gChat, AIM, Facebook messenger. In a way I’m always connected and I HAVE to be connected. I get a certain type of anxiety when I don’t check twitter after a certain amount of time in fear I’ve missed something. Sad part, sometimes I find myself so enthralled with my virtual life I find myself neglecting my real one.
There have been moments when I will be paying more attention to my twitter TL then an actual person talking to me in my face. I don’t know what it is but reading/ having online conversations can sometimes be more intriguing then listening to a physical person telling me about their day over a cup of coffee. I once tried to talk to my room mate about her day just for us to stare at each other when we realized we already knew what the other did due to twitter.
Phone conversations can only last so long before I get annoyed and recommend we just text. I feel my verbal skills dimming and writing skills shaky from all the broken sentences due to the limits of 140 characters. All my social networking is doing is slowly turning me more and more socially awkward. I know many wonder, How did socially- awkward Facebook creator, Mark Zuckerberg, develop the largest social site ever? My answer, by secretly making us all as socially- crippled as he is…