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Being light skinned is difficult living in today’s society

Timothy Schneider, Staff Writer

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My ex-boyfriend once told me I’m not really black because I’m light-skinned.

I couldn’t wrap my head around the statement because even though I’m too light to pass his paper bag test, I’m still brown enough to get thrown black jokes daily – as if the struggle I endure because of the amount of melanin in my skin is just a joke.

Being mixed has been such a confusing experience. I deal with discrimination because I’m black but also because I’m white.

My mere existence contradicts itself with roots going back so far that I am both African and European. The plantation and the planter. The underground railroad and the fugitive slave act.

Throughout my bloodline, I am stuck in the middle of discrimination and determination, and I can’t get out.

I am the black and white soccer ball in the middle of the playing field being kicked by both teams because I didn’t get to choose a side – because there are no sides.

I am over “#teamlightskin vs #teamdarkskin.” How about “team human”? Because we are only the human race. The original team light skin was Caucasians, and the original dark skin was everyone else.

We are clearly repeating history.

Let’s study more “black history” in school besides the 28 days in February we spend learning about Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King to delve a bit deeper into race relations – even as simple as discussing why it is not OK for people to just touch someone’s hair.

This is a school, not a petting zoo, and it wouldn’t be so frustrating if people of color did not have to deal with it legitimately every day.

If you do want touch to it and we don’t know each other very well, at least have the courtesy to ask.
Class discussions over stuff like this would dramatically improve the school’s environment.

Studying current events, such as Philando Castile and Eric Garner, could marvelously increase the understanding of minorities’ struggles to the rest of the population.

In case you didn’t know, Eric Garner was put in an illegal chokehold while being arrested by not one, not two, but six officers over allegedly selling loose cigarettes.

Eric Garner choked out, “I can’t breathe” 11 times before he died. The officer who killed him did not receive charges even though Garner’s death was ruled a homicide.

Philando Castile was shot four times at a traffic stop in front of his girlfriend and 4-year-old daughter. His death was also ruled a homicide, but the female officer got charged with manslaughter.

As if she just accidentally pulled the trigger four times, violently murdering a little girl’s father before her eyes. If that doesn’t show injustice in our country, I don’t know what will.

Furthermore, if talking about issues regarding race makes one uncomfortable, imagine a slave ship, a work house, a jail cell, or even living as a person of color. Understanding micro aggressions might put an end to them.

If you have a question but you aren’t sure if you will offend someone, when in doubt, don’t ask.

It’s time we stop embracing these petty stereotypes that we have developed within subclasses of our own minority groups so that we can stop perpetuating the institutionalized and individual racism that has a firm grasp on our country.

So while I am not dark skin, I unfortunately endure the same struggles as any person of color in our country.

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