Colors of course! I know, right?
This is perhaps too touchy a subject and maybe at such a time as this, we need to talk about this.
Very recently, I questioned the reason for variations in skin color and inadvertently questioned why nature is diversely colored. Not only did I see how painful that question was, but very disturbing when my younger siblings asked me the exact question. My response was tied to melanin protection versus climate differences and how we all remain humans.
The question was pulled in a different manner when the superiority of one race to another was raised and I could only refute by saying comparison is not usually the wisest ground to take. But then, there are usually no absolutes and most measurements we would always make is simply relative to some standard. This can explain why we feel very strongly about needing a standard for the human race or skin if you so choose.
I must therefore confess that the “Black and White” labels is something that I find very uncomfortable. The weirder one is people of color. Like anyone on earth is colorless? A friend made the joke about how dark skinned persons remain a simple color throughout their lifetime while light skinned persons changes color when sad to blueish, when sick to greenish, when tanned to reddish and all sorts of color. While I think that was a bit of an extreme joke, the idea that skin color labels are constantly argued just beats me.
We seemed to have found labels for the over a 100 variants of apples but can’t seem to get this right.
Very recently, a show on Netflix may have subtly showcased food gods to only wear white and perhaps relate to some as being offensive. Could they have worn the rainbow? Oh. That might imply being “gay”. Or should they try some other color? What should it be? It is therefore interesting to note how skin color is associated with color labels that may or may not even be sensible.
I think the struggle to what labels should apply to human beings will continue for a long time. Another documentary on skin color in the African context by Beverly Naya titled “Skin” shows how the labeling of “black and white” has led to an even worse pandemic known as “whitening or bleaching or toning”. A skin chemical industry gulping at least 10 billion dollars from the African continent annually since 2009. Should we then at least consider a different approach to skin color labels?
To put this differently, have you decided to eat wrongly labeled foods? Or make transactions based on misleading labels? Why then would we continue to proudly wear wrong labels? Maybe you can correct me by presenting a solid line of argument as to why black and white or people of color is an appropriate label. Oh please, don’t say that it’s already the norm. If LGBTQ could change their label from faggot (very offensive and annoying that someone thought that should be a thing) to gay for happy, then please offer a different line of argument. The norm is always evolving, that’s my point there.
Besides, I have had to reject being part of certain groups such as “National Society Black Engineers (NSBE)” and the likes, not because they are not representing the minority that I am supposedly part of, but simply due to the rule of association. I know that the association known as “Oil and Gas people” recently changed to “Energy people”, thanks to evolving energy companies and oil price tanking.
Oh! Should I also mention how I think I am not a minority? Maybe later. But a small hint is that I’m from a continent that has 16% of the world population when out of 6 or 7 continents, that is like an exact percentage for the appropriate population. Or should I say how Africa has 54 countries and boasts of one-fifth of the Earth’s total land area? So really, I’m part of a majority by virtue of being from Africa. The fact that we’re not many in a certain place is not the definition of minority, is it?
Anyways, back to the discussion of association. I also think that by association, it means I’m reinforcing the thoughts of being segregated. I am a person, I will treat myself as a human being, whether or not that is relevant, I don’t know. The truth is, I just want to be a person, that’s all, not black or white or person of color. I am a human being too! #Iamhumantoo
Whether that is more powerful or profound, the point is, I am human and if you think that’s not the case, please prove it without being offensive or condescending 🙂
Disclaimer: This is the opinion of the author, Wonuola Olawale and in no way portrayal of any bias towards anyone or people.
Please feel free to ask questions or tweet about #Iamhumantoo.
I started a movement called #respectafrica 2 years ago, you can see more on http://www.rafrica.org. The movement is about us all owning our own story, both good and bad and ugly and telling it ourselves. I interviewed over 100 people who became RA advocates, see the Instagram page at @respectafrica. Suggestions on how to reach a broader audience are totally welcome. Please email me at email@example.com or message me via this platform.