No. I’m Not An “Oreo” I’m Black

August 21st, 2017

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”  -Martin Luther King, Jr.

It’s been a while guys, I know, but please bare with me as I go through this transition. I’ve moved to the mid-west – been a city girl all my life – and I just started my PhD coursework and research. To say I’ve been a little overwhelmed trying to get everything in order and organized would be an understatement. I will say though that the minimalist work I did in the months prior to this move made everything go A LOT smoother. I never managed to get any more clothes, because I’m still having trouble 1) shopping in my new price point and 2) figuring out what exactly it is that I want to wear. But as far as other materialistic objects, I’ve paired down quite a bit to the bare minimum. I have a new dedicated yoga, meditation, and study area, and a kitchen big enough to make all sorts of new yummy vegan treats, so I’m excited to show you all everything that unfolds in the future!

On another note, a more serious note, I want to talk about the recent and ever present state of this nation. For those of you outside of the United States, I’m sure even you are familiar with the state of civil unrest we have been thrown into in the recent months. On one hand I find pain in this revelation and the uprising of these groups, but on the other hand I am thankful that people’s eyes have been opened to just how terrible minority groups of all kinds are still treated.

In my life I’ve been called “basically white,” or an Oreo (white on the inside, but black on the outside), as if being educated and carrying yourself well was something only white people could do. I’ve been followed in stores. I’ve been made fun of for my hair, body, and clothing choices. I’ve been used as a “badge of achievement” from guys and friends that thought having a token black friend or experience was something to brag about; using me to validate their lack of racism or even their dominance over my race. I’ve been called names. I’ve been assumed to be stupid. All of this simply because my skin is brown. Although the above examples are my personal experiences, experiences like these happen to many minority groups every day. This struggle is a daily one, for ALL of us, not just the African American population. Many people either don’t even know their being offensive, or truly believe discrimination is a thing of the past. Don’t fault these people, because it was hidden well for a while from everyone that wasn’t a minority but wasn’t necessarily a racist, sexist, homophobe, xenophobe, etc.

I think what many people fail to realize is that this country only works if we all work together. We failed the Native American people when we came over here and stole their land, and are still failing them today. We failed the African Americans when we stole them from their countries, families, and lives to become slaves, and still enslave them today with certain laws and legislation. We’ve failed the Hispanic population by exploiting them for labor, and looking at them only for the perpetuation of modern day slavery. We’ve failed the lower income community by providing them with fewer education opportunities. We’ve failed inmates by treating them like lab rats and not human beings, and providing them with very few skills to get out and live successful and productive lives. We’ve failed the transgender community by allowing them to be kicked to the curb by the military. We’ve failed women by refusing to pay them the same amount as a man for the same level and quality of work. We’ve failed the Jewish community by continuing to segregate and berate them even decades after one of the most horrible ordeals in world history. We’ve failed future generations by putting profit over the environment and health, and setting them up to be unhealthy in a world where they can’t even breath or eat natural grown vegetables. I could go on and on and on like this…the point is, that WE. Are. Failing.

This country can’t function without everyone that’s here, and the different expertise and knowledge we ALL have to offer. This has become way more than politics. This has become about the way we treat people and value them. This is about making sure everyone is valued equally. This has become about the character of the nation, not the president. As the late, great, Martin Luther King Jr. once alluded, all we want is to live in a nation where minority groups can be “judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

I think many hide behind politics to justify their intolerance, and for those people all we can do is pray. However, for those who really value people of all shade, shapes, and sizes, one thing we cannot continue to do is stay silent. Silence has only served to prolong the problem under the cape of ignorance, but has never truly worked to abolition it. Fight for your peers. Fight for your friends. Fight for your family. But most importantly, fight for YOU. Fight because you have had enough. Fight because you care for others and value them. Fight because you know there’s a problem and it’s solution has been a long time coming. Fight because the content of your character allows you to see past the mirror and into a future of true peace and joy. Fight with words and peaceful protest. Do not fight with anger, resentment, and violence, but fight.

Just one person can change the world, but the message gets a lot louder with more voices. And together we can accomplish anything!

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