Why must our differences be wrong?

Sarah Whitlock
Indianapolis, IN

It is so frustrating to be around people who are discriminatory. I am tired of having to worry about offending someone because I make a comment that mentions their race or ethnicity. Such a comment is not a problem specifically because it is potentially negative, but because it mentions their race. Why are our differences a problem? Why am I automatically deemed offensive if I bring up someone’s origin? We are all different. We are all defined in some way by our race and ethnicity.

I don’t believe anyone has ever asked me where I originate. (There is actually racism against “white” people, although it is not nearly as prominent or frankly as important to deal with at present.) But I am Canadian, Dutch, and French. I am extremely proud of my heritage. And yes, a lot of my culture – both at home and in society – defines me by the fact that I am white. But I am also defined by the fact that I like to read and I was in choir in high school so I sing all the time and I love Italian food. But if someone asks me about or distinguishes me by any of these traits I am not offended.

Perhaps I have a shallow view because I have not experienced true racism. Perhaps I am idealistic because I have spent my life surrounded by other races than my own, but in an environment that welcomes and, for the most part, does not judge by race.

But I do not discriminate against any race or ethnicity. I do not define the majority by the actions of a few. Or at least I work hard to not do these things. I work towards a world not where we are color blind, but where we can define ourselves by our origin just as uninhibitedly as we are able to define ourselves otherwise without fear of negative response.

Keep the conversation going - comment and discus with your thoughts

 

Tweets by Michele Norris