Friday, March 10, 2006

Black. White.

The F/X channel is running an interesting show called "Black. White." The first episode was on last Wednesday. The two families met and had their first experiences as the other's race. There was one thing that kinda struck a core with me. All of this is very interesting and should be quite enlightening but the perceptions of the two fathers are, well, let's say they are not on the same page.

The white guy says he doesn't believe there is any racism and that people basically bring it on themselves. The black guy is, needless to say, not very in tune with this train of thought. At one point the two of them went out as black men where each wanted to prove to the other that they were right. There were a number situations where they saw two completely different versions of reality.

One was when they were walking down the sidewalk. A white family was coming the other way. to get by the lady moved out of the guys way. The white/black guy saw it as a simple case of there not being enough room on the sidewalk for everyone to pass without moving over. The black guy saw the lady practically jump to the side to get as far away from the two black men as possible.

Another time, they were in a store and the sales people were coming up and asking if they needed anything. The white guy saw this as courtesy and good attention by the sales people. The black guy saw it as the sales people "keeping an eye on them," making sure that these black men don't steal something.

The show had cameras on them the whole time this was going on and from what I saw it seems to me that both of these men are equally wrong and right. There is no doubt that racism exists. Many whites hate blacks and just as many blacks hate whites. They both hate the Asians, but that's for another show. Anyway, racism exists. This can't be denied. But on the other hand, the black man was seeing actions and reactions where there weren't any. It's understandable that if you grow up with a specific kind of life you will expect to see the same actions and reactions everywhere. Whether they are there or not.

I eagerly await the rest of this series. It should be very interesting.

Oh, for what it's worth, due to the way I was raised and the culture I grew up in I was never conscious of my race until I was living here in the states for a few years. I remember how one day I was in the kitchen of our little apartment watching the news. There was some story that I can't remember but the basis was race. It struck me like a blow... I am white. I was around 28 years old then.

Growing up in Europe and living both in the US military bases and the Economy, the determining factor for how someone was judged was nationality. Americans were seen as Americans, whether they were white, black, brown, purple or pink. I still tend to see that way initially. I often have to remind myself that others seem me differently than I perceive myself.

But then with my appearance what it is these days I'm not surprised at the looks I get. It's even worse now than when this picture was taken. I need to get a more current one up to scare the children with.

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