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Member since: Tue Nov 16, 2004, 03:14 PM
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Pink and brown--a new way of looking at people.

All my life I have been absorbing news about fellow Americans, including those called "Black". This was to distinguish them from being confused with "White" people. Finally, one day, it occurred to me that White people aren't white, and Black people are usually not black. And so I had the only original thought about race relations in this country that I've ever had. It is this:

It ought to be illegal to call a person white unless they actually are, and also to call a person black unless they actually are. Black and White are political terms, with the good connotations always going to the "Whites" and the bad connotations always going to the "Blacks." We should move instead to an aesthetic view of people, and describe them as the color they actually are. When we do that, we have, distributed about this globe, a number of pink people, and a whole lot of brown people. "White" people are actually pink, and 'Black" people are actually a wide and beautiful variety of shades of brown. You have Native Americans, who are a reddish brown, and Japanese, who are a yellowish pink, or plain pink. The advantages of disciplining ourselves to think in aesthetic terms are several. People used to look for what they called a "Great White Hope" -- somebody who could beat the great brown heavyweight boxers who kept beating all the pink boxers. We could only look for a Great Pink Hope. Sounds silly, doesn't it?

This is the same sort of mental discipline that feminists hoped would change male thinking about women. If men would just try to stop thinking of women as "broads", "c****", cows (still popular in the UK), and other derisive terms, and just think of them as women, these men might eventually examine their assumptions and prejudices about women. If we pink people start to think of others as various shades of brown, and describe them so, it would be a reminder to ourselves and others, that we all bleed red, and that everything essentially human is contained in skin shades that vary between ... pink and brown. If you thought you had actually found a black person, you would have to show that they didn't register on a light meter to actually call them that. There are also some albino people around, but I think they're a pale pink.

Everyone we meet would have to be judged on ... the content of their character (Thank you for the phrase, Dr. King.) "Black" and "White" are already judgments in our culture. We've got to change that. This is one small way to start.

Another way, of course, would be to read some of the great African American writers who have illuminated the condition of humans in this country. Feel free to ask for recommendations.
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