Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Angry Black Man: Defending "People of Color" AKA Post -Stuctural Racial Issues AKA Fujiko Mine Strikes Again

In a recent post I made the mistake of saying colored peoples when I meant to say people of color. I apologize for that.

Anyway, because as anybody reading this blog knows I over-think EVERYTHING I started to consider even the use of the phrase "people of color" (I'm black by the way).

And you know what, it's the phrase we NEED.

Okay because "colored" has negative and I'll be honest exclusionary connotations people get offended by it, but I have a strong belief that the modern civil rights movement is too caught up in the baggage and struggles of the past. And this is a great example of what I've been talking about in past blog posts.

Too often is the discussion of race in America centered along black and white lines, but you also have Asians, Latinos, Middle-easterners a bunch of others as well as people who are mixed race. We need a way of discussing issues that involve all of these groups without exclusion.

Furthermore there are some people who are willing to admit that they are affected by white privileged but don't want want to identify with any particular group. This phrase gives them an out so they can participate in the discussion without having to choose a fixed racial identity.

I understand that due to historical differences we still need to have words to describe the experiences of Japanese-American internment, Native-American genocide, African-American slavery etc but all these groups even those that have no name yet have a stake in America's future and shouldn't be ignored by the political discourse because we refuse to change language or are scarred by it.

Furthermore my experience has been that in the attempt to find a racial identity we can assume that all members of a race have a shared experience and in some ways I suppose they do but often individual experiences and identities are glossed over.

I grew up in the burbs. I know next to nothing about drug dealers or gang violence. Yet I know a lot of people for whom that was an important part of their life's experience, their journey and story. I'm black and I want to talk about the black experience but that aspect of the black experience isn't MY experience. Urban violence is something important to discuss, sure. But in that discussion I don't want people to assume that I am an authority on it because it was part of my Black experience.

"People of color" gives enough distance from stereotypes and flexibility of identity that we can engage in more complex discussions about race and individual experiences with it, and right now that's what we need to be doing.

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