The Truth Spoken Behind Closed Doors

Miami, FL.

Though I was born and Raised in a suburb a few miles south of Miami, Florida. My mom and dad are from Ethiopia and Sudan respectively. As a child, I’d say about 99% of the community were “white”. During middle and high school it shifted to about 49% “white”, mdc-picture149% Hispanic and now it’s 99% Hispanic.

Over the years, there have been several occasions talking with friends, parents of friends and honest strangers, where I’ve had the opportunity to hear “The Truth Spoken Behind Closed Doors”.

During these specific conversations, friends, parents of friends, and strangers have made statements such as “you’re a smart black guy” and “you’re not like the other [blacks]”, then proceed to criticize the ‘other’ blacks, like it was nothing. A girl I was dating in high school, said her dad wanted to talk with me (we were on the phone). He wanted to speak with me because he knew I was black. After a few seconds on the phone he questions “You don’t sound black?”, then goes on to explain to me how his wife (who was Cuban) didn’t like the idea of her daughter dating a black man, but that he (Italian) had no problem with it.

What I’ve found over the years is that many people are not racist per se, but instead, perhaps those who are not black (and even blacks themselves) are somehow convinced that blacks are inherently less than. In other words, it seems people simply distaste darker skin. In order to protect their image of themselves as “good people”, it seems as though they either subconsciously or intentionally convince themselves that blacks are “bad” as to support their line of thinking.

Here’s why I say that. I put a couch up for sale on Craigslist. Three students from the University of Miami came to pick it up. They were three girls from China who just came the the United States for the first time. I’m 6’4″ and dark, they came in the house (on the bus) and asked if I can help them bring it to their apartment. So here we all are, driving in my SUV. We start talking about the weather and they remark how it’s too hot in Miami. One girl said “There’s too much sun. I don’t want to get dark”. I proceeded to ask why she didn’t want to get darker (basically a tan). She said, that being dark is bad. She said in China if you have lighter skin people show you more favor, get better jobs, etc…. mind you, this had nothing to do with black people! As a matter of fact, once we got to the apartment we all chatted a bit and they made some snacks.

I guess the question remains, Are you a ‘bad person’ if you do not like or want to be associated with those having dark skin? Are you a ‘bad person’ by making statements such as “blacks are lazy”, “blacks are (fill in the blank)”? Apparently not.

From my experience, people are pretty comfortable talking about blacks in a negative light. I know, because I’ve had the truth spoken to me, from behind closed doors.


Tweets by Michele Norris