Crossing the Color Line

What she Wore: grey running pants and a blue college t-shirt–I’ll put on something cute if I need to go pick up the Hub at the Air Port.

This blog started out one way and then went in a completely different direction–kind of like life!

 

  

Surely you’ve heard someone say, “they all look alike to me” when referring to one group of minorities or another.  Before this year, I had never worked with so many minority students.  There were a few, but by and large, my students were white.  I have learned a lot about African-Americans this year, but the biggest lesson about race that I’ve learned is about myself.  Despite the best of intentions, I now believe that when it came to really looking at people, I had trouble seeing past their color.  Not so much in the classroom, where you get a chance to know people individually, but in my day-to-day life: at the movies, the mall, restaurants.  I never really looked at people’s faces. 

 

Some of this, I know, is cultural.  White people asses people a little differently—we describe each other with hair color and texture, and eye color.  Most African-Americans are the same in these areas: brown curly hair, brown eyes.   Earlier this year, I wouldn’t recognize a student right away if she came in with extensions—I depend on hair as a marker, and for African-Americans it’s in constant flux.  I also didn’t differentiate skin color very well—as I’ve said before, African-Americans are sharply attuned to the variations in skin color.  For many, light skin is considered an asset.  In my mind, a black person was a black person—tone only came into play when someone was so light I wasn’t sure if they were black or not.  I had a lot of learning to do, and this wasn’t something I wanted to admit to myself.

 

I’m not racist—shouldn’t that be enough?

 

But it’s not.  I fully believe that to recognize a person for who they are, you have to be able to quickly get past their race and start looking deeper—no small thing when you spend thirty seconds with a person.  Now that I have worked with so many African-Americans, I start to see different things when I look at them: their stature, their skin tone, their hair type, and their age.  I quickly see more than just a black face—I see the features and there are differences.  There is something there that I was missing before.

 

I’ve been missing out.

 

The pastor read a quote in church that I think sums things up nicely:

 

"I am a work in progress–I am not who I am going to be, but thank God, I am not who I was!"

 

KM 

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About takedeux

In one summer I had a baby who was hospitalized for five weeks, quit my job, and moved back to my hometown. This blog is about starting over.
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23 Responses to Crossing the Color Line

  1. Dena Marie says:

    Hey, KM!
     
    I\’m so happy for you that the hub is back! Happy Memorial Day to both of you!  🙂
     
    And these last few posts have been awesome (as usual)… especially the one on dysthymia. I can definitely relate to depressive episodes… as I mentioned in my blog. I\’m glad you\’ve learned to manage yours—I\’m in that process right now.
     
    Thanks again for writing such insightful entries. Yours is definitely one of my favorite blogs to read!
     
    –DM

  2. Elizabeth says:

    What an awesome entry! I think it\’s important to look past everyone\’s surface…you\’ll never know what you find beneath it. :")  Have a great holiday, too, and I hope you give your hubby a welcome homecoming. *cough* 😉

  3. Christine says:

    Thank you for the kind comments you left me today.  I was surprised to see you were visiting.  I hope Hubby had a safe trip home and that you are able to take full advantage of some alone time on the holiday.
     
    Christine
     
    P.S.  Thank your hubby from my family for his service to our country.

  4. tassietoo says:

    YAY!!  It\’s getting close now!  Have a wonderful time with your sweetie…such precious time!

  5. Unknown says:

    Hey Pretty Lady!
    that was a great entry… I think we can ALL use a little practice looking past the exterior 🙂
    Have fun when the Hub comes home… I\’m so happy for you!  YOU MADE IT!
    D

  6. Hollie says:

    Happy Memorial Day! Enjoy your time with your man! and what a great quote that is and it is so true we are works in progress, and I am so glad about that.
     
    Hollie

  7. K says:

    I loved this entry!  It is not easy to change a pattern, our cultural make-up and yet here you are… doing it.  It took a lot of guts to admit what you did… in fact the last few entries have been very awe inspiring and motivational.  Thank you.
     
    I hope the hubbie gets home soon!  Thanks for your feedback on the hair situation… I left a little comment in my space for yer…
     
    Ciao bella,
    KC

  8. Jaysey says:

    That\’s a really good quote–I think I may have to borrow that one.

  9. Cheryl says:

    We have a lot in common.  I grew up among indians and all whites.  Then I moved to houston and was shocked at so many black people.  They all looked the same to me 30 years ago.  For the past 12 years i have had most of my employees being minorities and over 2/3 of our 1700 clients a year.  This many years later i don\’t even remember what color a person was that i just talked to.  I have really become totally color blind because I am focusing on their psycholigical problems and it is amazing even to me to not notice color anymore. 

  10. Sue says:

    I certainly hope you were able to make that trip today.  It was interesting when I was combing the streets years ago for DQ in the inner city.  The corner gangs always referred to her as the light skinned girl.  Good post and true.  I had a bit of trouble sometimes when my ex and I first started dating.  Not a problem now though.  LOL. 
     
    : )  Sue

  11. Karen says:

    Great post… and I\’m soooo glad your hubby\’s home!!!  Thank him for me, for his service to our country.  God bless both of you ~ take care!

  12. . says:

    I know what you mean about the hair and color thing. It must be universal because it is the same thing here.
     
    Nice quote!
     
    I\’ve FINALLY linked you. Ah, I do not know how I missed that!
     
    aak

  13. Renee says:

    I like your Pastor\’s quote…it sort of sums up the whole idea behind my space which is titled ….Work in Progress…..I used it as a play on words …since we are painters…but it also applied to ME…I am also a work in progress…I am not done yet either!
     
    I am so glad your husband finally made it home! I know YOU are!
     
    you guys take care!
     
    renee

  14. Unknown says:

    Until I had my daughter 8 months ago I taught English in a very diverse high school.  I can totally relate to your entry, and I too have had many of the same realizations.  Before teaching I had gone to a very "white" high school and college.  Throughout my teaching experience I often felt I learned more than my students…thanks for these wonderful thoughts!

  15. Unknown says:

    You two better be in bed for days!!!! I\’m expecting a story about you spraining your ankle on the ceiling fan!!!! Lot\’s of take out!!! Lots of catching up!!! HUGSSSSSS!!!! I\’m so happy for you!!! Yay!
     
    I\’ve got chills,
    Mercy

  16. Sue says:

    I agree with Mercy.  Enjoy!!  I\’m SOOOO happy for you!!!
     
    : )  Sue

  17. Alicia says:

    You must be hangin\’ with the hubs, huh??  Hope you had a GREAT weekend!!
     
    HUGS!!  🙂

  18. Darcy says:

    SO happy for you!
    D

  19. Dennis says:

    KM,
     
    You have grown so much in so many ways.  I am proud of who you are becoming.  These lessons you are learning will come in handy in your future and the future of your babies to come.  There will be nothing more beneficial than the first hand experience.
     
    In some ways I have benefited from what you have learned as well.  For had you not been exposed to "We as a People" we may have missed out on getting to know one another.  And how crappy would that have been?  Totally crappy.  For you are one of the more impressive people I have met this year.  And I adore who you are and what you bring to this wonderful table of life we all share in blogland.
     
    And I not only CONCUR but love what KC had to say in her comment.  She is so on the money.  Your past few posts have been more revealing to an already pretty real person.  What I love most about your blog is that you allow us to "feel" what you experience.  And that is a natural talent that you have.
     
    I am quite sure that you are busy presently.  Enjoy your time with the  spouse.  And continue to enrich your life.  We are all better people when we do.
     
    EZ

  20. Becca says:

    I think your pastor is dead on, as long as we all live we are works in progress, what a miracle that is!
     
    Rebecca

  21. Sheryl-Ann says:

    KM, I am really excited that your hubby is back! We really cannot take that fact for granted and I thank the dear Lord that He made it home safely.
     
    I loved your latest entry.  What you said is so true and we should all make an effort to look beyond skin color and really examine the person underneath. Growing up in the Caribbean is interesting because most of us never look at skin color.  It is more of a class thing down there as opposed to a color thing. When I first came here, it was shocking to me that some people would judge you on your skin color, but I try to not do that. We are all a \’work in progress\’ and I hope your writing makes us all think a bit about that more.
     
    Hope your week has started well.

  22. Jaysey says:

    Maybe yuo are the gold standard for your type of blog!

  23. KEL says:

    what a very inspirational quote, so very true.  Perhaps one day we will all be so blessed as to see beyond the color and understand we are always growing.
    ~K

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