I was watching a movie this weekend, I had remembered it as a fun little romp about marriage and the fundamental differences between the races. The main characters were from different cultures, the Bride was Mexican and the Groom was Black.
My memory had told me that this fun and funny, full of laughs. I knew some things might be dated but the movie had come out in 2010 it couldn't be that bad.
I couldn't have been more wrong. It didn't take long for this movie to age in so many ways, but the most uncomfortable aspect of this movie was the race-baiting. There were no White main characters, instead, the movie relied heavily on the Black and Mexican community disliking each other. The Mexican Grandmother was so upset when she realized that her granddaughter was going to marry a Black man that she fainted on the spot.
And this was the beginning of the "hilarious" racism :(
The whole thing was uncomfortable but what it did do for me was remind me that we; people of color keep perpetuating racist stereotypes. We do this gleefully, sometimes we do this in anger or out of pure habit. But more importantly we really seem to love pushing the White Power agenda of reducing each other to the lowest common denominator.
***The "they", & them" I'm referring to, is those with a racist White power agenda. It refers to those in the White community that see minorities as less than. So please don't get your knickers in a bunch if that's not you. But you might learn something, so please continue to read..........***
What Do "They" Get Out of It -
How hard do they have to fight us if we take up their mantle and continue their fight for them? Think about it, where did your racist biases really come from? Yeah, we can call out our parents and grandparents and say that we learned the quiet and sometimes not so quiet racism from them but why don't we take a moment and find out where our genetic forefathers learned it from.
I can bet you dollars to donuts they learned it from some form of institutionalized racism, that they weren't even aware of. We all know that our world is run and based off of colonization. White Privilege is real and very much alive and well. Part of that privilege is being able to impart racist ideology and dogma upon a minority group and then that group continues to perpetuate it.
How much of the negative stuff you say about other minorities do you honestly know to be true? Legitimately true? You don't, you just think it's true because you have been taught to fear the Boogey Man; i.e. the other minority groups.
If we are spending the majority of our free time not only separating ourselves on purpose but also going out of our way to make that separation obvious. We work really hard to help them divide us.
Why Our Division Matters -
The Europeans were able to take over because they were smart enough to practice the age-old method of battle; divide and conquer.
Definition of divide and conquer: to make a group of people disagree and fight with one another so that they will not join together against one. His military strategy is to divide and conquer.
It says it right there, they sit back to wait and we destroy each other. As long as we are fighting amongst ourselves when do we have the time to notice what it is being done to us?
Once we have been successfully divided and we have created the "others" category, the distaste for each other can begin.
This is when we find ourselves fighting each other. Ask any of our grandparents, parents, Aunts, and Uncles and I'm sure they have a story about a time when their browness made them stand out; and not in a good way. The pain and confusion they felt sticks to them. It has a faint scent of sadness coupled with a defeat. Whether they admit it or not a small part of themselves died on that day and the pain still resonates.
So you would assume that knowing other groups of minorities have gone through and go through the same thing, it would humble each other and force us to open our doors and our hearts but sadly, that is rarely the case.
Instead, it does the opposite, it causes us to recoil in fear of what we have been told is scary and dangerous. We no longer want to put ourselves out there for fear of being hurt again. But are other minorities actually as scary and dangerous as we've been lead to believe?
Therein lies the rub; lead to believe.
Who told us to distrust each other? It seems to always be the same story, the story we've never questioned. We as people of color have the largest instance of Stockholm Syndrome........
Stockholm syndrome, psychological response wherein a captive begins to identify closely with his or her captors, as well as with their agenda and demands.
The name of the syndrome is derived from a botched bank robbery in Stockholm, Sweden. In August 1973 four employees of Sveriges Kreditbank were held hostage in the bank’s vault for six days. During the standoff, a seemingly incongruous bond developed between captive and captor.
If you take a look at the simple definition it all seems so clear, doesn't it?
Identify with their agenda: Deep in our heart of hearts a small but important part of us still manages to see them as superior. We go about our lives never questioning the incongruous power structure. in some cases their power over us was so towering that small groups were able to take over vast continents. At times we even manage to help them along. All the while not realizing that saving ourselves at that moment will only further our own destruction.
We go even further and we agree with them that there's something dirty, disgusting and downright dangerous about Black people, Pacific Islanders, Mexicans, Central Americans, Asians, etc....
When they can't convince us that a group is dangerous then they tell us that the other group of people are secretive and only like their own kind. So we back off not delving any further, having no interest in learning more. This works wonderfully because as long as we're ignorant we will continue to divide and conquer for them.
Comply with their demands: We sell out our own people, OUR OWN PEOPLE!!!!! And by "own people" I mean other people of color, we attack others with brown skin. And then to top it off we cherish the European heritage flowing in our blood, never questing how violently it got there. We prize it so much that we further their wants and needs through our own mediums of communication. Take social media for example. We tell people that we can make them lighter. Want a new job? lighten your skin. Want to get that man? change your eye color, your natural hair, get out of those stupid old fashioned embarrassing native clothes.
The fact that we "code switch" says it all. We make an effort to adapt to the world that they have created instead of being ourselves. Are we are so ashamed and embarrassed by the world we came from that we run full throttle into a world that does not want us the way we are?
Here's the part that makes me scratch my head. We get mad when we speak to someone who has an accent or someone who is struggling to find the words in English to express themselves.
For some of us, we assign intelligence to someones inability to speak English like a native English speaker. But what sucks the most is we never think about the fact that someone is listening to us speaking disparagingly about other brown people. What we don't pay attention to is the fact that based on what we say in jest, they feel embarrassment about themselves or their own family members.
This, all of this is their agenda.
They worked hard for a very long time to get us to hate ourselves and then it was an easy and slow burn to get us to hate others of color.
What We Are Left With -
we are social creatures who will inevitably reach out for validation and this validation comes in the form of "conforming"
comply with rules, standards, or laws.
"the kitchen does not conform to hygiene regulations" synonyms: comply with, abide by, obey, observe, follow, keep to, hold to, adhere to; More
(of a person) behave according to socially acceptable conventions or standards.
"the pressure to conform"synonyms: follow convention, be conventional, follow tradition, follow custom, fit in, adapt, adjust, follow the crowd, run with the pack, swim with the stream;
Any indigenous culture that has been touched by European influence eventually - conforms. With some, the annihilation of their culture was so complete and in certain cases so long ago that now, the people do not know that the traditions they celebrate are rooted in the destruction of their culture.
I see so many people of color walking around with the obvious watermark of Europeanism but they are so unaware of what they have lost that they never question. They know the familial history of their eyes, their hair, their last names and even why their language sounds similar to other countries but they never delve any further into how they got it and what they lost along the way.
We are left with communities that are so afraid of each other that we truly divide neighborhoods and city blocks by battle lines.
When we settled in this country or were violently settled into this country we naturally gravitated towards those that looked like, cooked like and held the same "values" as us. Even the Europeans and other white groups did it. But here's the difference, over time the white people moved out and moved on. They decided to live amongst each other because they realized that survival came not in the form of division but rather through partnership.
All the while they held us apart. They gave us reservations, ghetto's, redlining, housing projects, mass incarceration. They encouraged our distrust of each other, whole miles of city blocks where only certain groups lived. They annihilated our religions replaced them with their own and then divided us by the most vulnerable part of ourselves; our spirituality.
Now we're here. It's hundreds of years later and we still look down our noses when we intermix.
Why We Need To Stop -
I could talk about how to stop but let's be real, we all know how to stop. We need to attend festivals, watch movies from other cultures, speak to our friends & co-workers, read, learn what is and is not culturally acceptable. Most importantly we need to have conversations, speak to people not at people. Listen, learn when to keep your mouth shut. Realize that whatever you think if it's not about your culture or racial group; your opinion does not matter.
We know all of this, so we need to talk about why we need to stop.
1. Segregation of the minority races is for them not us - We never benefit when we divide ourselves up, they only do. It is so much easier to control us by getting us to mistrust each other than it is to come for us as a collective
2. Distrust breeds a lack of collaboration - Who we are as a group is strong and powerful. When we have one goal in mind it is harder to divide us
3. Separation leads to lack of focus - As long as we are separated we will spend our productive community time speaking on the ills of each other rather than working with each other to create a united front
4. It is easier to pick off small groups - We are comprised of small groups from different backgrounds and when we unite we are strong, we stand up for each other and we will not allow their hate to grow. But as long as we push each other away we see enemies in other minorities. Therefore when they take us out group by group we feel safe, as long as they're focused on someone else they can't come for us
5. White is right - we must choose to love ourselves and move past the thoughts that have kept us down for so long. We look to another world for our acceptance never admitting that that's not how we were made. We need to start remembering that we are amazing, beautiful, brilliant, perfect in our culture, strong in our beliefs and unstoppable in our respect and collaboration for and with each other
Think On This -
We reject what makes us different and special. We try to change our hair, our clothes, our language. We reject our grandparents when they want to share where we came from. We work so hard to conform to an ideal that was never meant for us.
And while we are doing that, our cultural touchstones are stolen and used as novelties. Ask yourself why you reject your culture just so that they can see you as not like those "others". While you're conforming to them to prove a point they get to run around wearing what they asked you to reject. And the worst part they wear it as a costume.