Coffee and Cream

Today I saw a clip that reminded me of something that I myself encounter pretty frequently. The clip gave the experiences of two women shopping at a grocery store. One woman was black, the other was bi-racial (white and black), but still looked white. Yeeeeeah….You can probably tell where this is going, so I’ll let you watch the clip below. But, it made me think about my own experiences with race.

Looks like Salvador Dali spent the night out eating at ten different ethnic restaurants, then hurled them back onto a canvas. Surrealism, eh?

Looks like Salvador Dali spent the night out eating at ten different ethnic restaurants, then hurled them back onto a canvas. Surrealism, eh?

Being bi-racial, I get a unique perspective on the way people react to things like race. Although I’m 1/2 Arab, I didn’t really inherit many so called “Arab” features. (SIDE NOTE: Even though Arabs are actually a pretty diverse looking group of people along the spectrum of dark to fair features, from various backgrounds and having various beliefs [Not all Arabs are Muslim, FYI], a lot of people seem to have a mental picture of what a “typical” Arab looks like. I guess Hollywood is partly to thank for that, in addition to reinforcing many other stereotypes).

Yeah, that looks about right.

Arabs? Uhmm… Yeah, that looks about right.

A typical day out shopping at the local grocery store.

Having been bequeathed nearly all my features from my Caucasian mother (thank you Mom!), I do feel I was given a certain amount of “privilege”. It’s not really even of my own making, it’s just the unwritten rules that our society seems to have drawn up. Therefore, there are instances in which I feel I can speak and say things, about racial attitudes towards Arabs (and white people, or pretty much any race, I don’t like to discriminate) that non-white people wouldn’t t be able to say without being brushed off or humored. In that respect, I’ve been given a sort of privilege by society, simply for being fair skinned.

Oh, how very true.

Oh, how very true.

How come I never got one of these?

How come I never got one of these?

Like the woman’s sister-in-law in the below clip, I do realize I have been given a gift in the genetic lottery. Though it comes with a lot of advantages, I chose early on not to abuse my privilege, but to use it to speak out against what I saw as injustice. I hope the below clip will inspire more people to do the same. I think we’ve largely eliminated the crasser and more obvious forms of racism in our society, now we just need to work on the subtler forms, the ones we do not even realize exist until we think about them. I have hope for the human race, and I believe every day brings us closer in delivering us to the ideal of banishing the pestilence of bigotry from this world. Much like we did with rinderpest and smallpox.

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