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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Azizi BS: Cross cultural marriages (78* d) RE: BS: Cross cultural marriages 27 Jan 05

Hilda Fish:

As an African American sista, I say DITTO to everything you said..

To make a simplistic analogy: a gardener isn't discriminating if he points out that the flowers in his or her garden are of different colors.

But that gardener would be doing wrong if he provided fertilizer, weeded, praised, promoted and otherwise provided attention & care to one portion of that garden based on the color of those flowers, and neglected and systematically tried to root out other flowers because he doesn't like their color.

Dianavan, while I respect what you are saying, and wish that race wouldn't still be viewed in a negative way, and negatively impact the people of that race -and those who are in power- it does...

But I would also posit that racial referents can also be used as neutral descriptors. So many times I have experienced that in public settings or even in one on one interactions with non-White individuals, some White people are reluctant [afraid?] to even mention race..

For instance, about 20 years ago, I was a student advisor at a small liberal arts college. My office was right outside a large study hall. One day this White student who I knew came into my office and asked me if I had by any chance seem 'Jennifer' that morning as they were supposed to meet to study. As it happens 'Jennifer' is a very common female name, and I had seen a number of Jenifers..So I asked the woman which Jennifer? What is her last name? She says she doesn't know..So I ask her what does Jennifer look like? The woman gave some descriptors but studiously avoided using any racial terms to describe the "Jennifer" study partner.

I've thought about that incident alot since it occurred. I see it as one example of the difference in the ways that White & non-White people use race as a neutral descriptor. In the same instance that I cited, I believe a Black woman talking to another Black person would have said something like "She's light skin" or "She's real light" or "She's dark skinned" or "She has real dark skin" or "She's regular' skin color [meaning a brown that is neither light or dark] or "She's our skin color" or "She's got the same skin color as you do" or "She's red bone" {meaning has a reddish tone to her skin color".. or "She looks mixed" {which in truth can mean anything but usually refers to a certain kind a light skin color" etc etc etc...

A Black person might also describe the hair texture particularly if the person she or he is seeking has naturally curly or naturally straight hair {as opposed to chemically straigthened hair} or wore braids, or an afro or dread locks..

My point is that intra-racial and cross-racial references to skin color {including the mention of different gradations of 'black' skin color} do not have to be either negative or positive...They can be a value neutral descriptor.

And, Hidla Fish, I'm SOOO GLAD you're here!!

Ms. Azizi

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