MOVING AWAY FROM THE WHITE SUPREMACIST’S RULEBOOK
Referring to people by skin colour is based on white “supremacy” – which is an ideology that formed over the centuries of enslavement of African people in the Americas.
A skin colour hierarchy was created by white “supremacists” to “justify” the brutalisation and subjugation of enslaved Africans – with “white” at the top, and “black” at the bottom, and several gradations (yellow, red, brown) etc. between the two extremes (master and slave).
Essentially, the less white (or further away from white your skin was), the more akin you were to a slave.
It is time this nefarious colour chart was disbanded, as it is what has led to the modern day problems, of racism and colorism (and even colonial mentality).
These colour labels were not chosen randomly. No one has white skin, and I’m yet to meet anyone who has black skin either – so why were these labels chosen as proxies for human skin colour?
The white “supremacists” knew the power and significance of labels and symbolism.
The colour “white” in many cultures around the world, signifies cleanliness and holiness. (“white lie”, “whitewash” etc.) and they adopted that colour to represent themselves (even though no one has white skin).
The colour black on the other hand signifies the direct opposite – all that is unclean and unholy (“black looks”, black secret”, “blackmail”, “blacklist etc.) and that colour, they assigned to their enslaved Africans.
Calling someone by their skin colour is playing from the playbook/rule book of White supremacy. Out of respect, Chinese people are no longer referred to as “Yellow”, Native people are no longer referred to as “Red” etc. Instead, they are respectively referred to by either the country (or geographic region) that their phenotype seems to visually suggest – NOT BY SKIN colour.
However, the colour “black” which happens to be the lowliest on the white “supremacist’s” nomenclature, is a term that is still widely used – without blinking.
It is worth pointing out however, that as a result of the ranking of the colour “white” in the supremacist’s skin colour “chart”, calling someone “white” does not come with any negative connotation – because of the word’s positive connotations in various cultures. The word “black” however, has many negative connotations in many cultures and in everyday language.
The correct AND respectful way to start referring to fellow humans who are currently labelled “black” is to refer to them as having “African heritage” or “African ancestory”. This will be in keeping with the convention of how other peoples are referred to – which has moved away from skin colour.
So instead of saying “the black guy” say: “he has African ancestory”, or “is of African extraction”. Every single person currently labelled “black” (including Carribeans etc.) can be traced back to Africa (that’s why they look like Africans – DNA doesn’t lie).
The only dark skinned people this rule does not apply to are Australian aborigines, and they are visually different from people currently labelled “black” (look at images of Australian Aborigines on Google if you’re not sure).
For the Australian Aborigines, just call them that (or Indigenous Australians).
That way, we move away from the racist legacy of using a skin colour hierarchical system created by white supremacists to justify their enslavement of tens of millions of Africans over several centuries.