Hi there CBS followers and guests. While I was away, getting oriented in my new job, I noticed that in the comment section of the "Look of Crazy" post, an all out war started between a black American (?) woman reader and two white, German readers. Somehow, the discussion took a turn from stereotyping to accusations and an all around negative vibe emerged.
Let me first say that I don't personally know any of the people who comment but you're all regular visitors and I appreciate your contributions to my blog. You certainly keep the dialogue interesting, so thank you!
If I can contribute to the discussion that went on, I'd simply say this:
The longer I live outside of the United States, the less I think about everything in terms of just race. In the United States, thanks to our history of slavery and racial segregation we are somewhat obsessed with race. And we should be, because the United States is a country that is still race-oriented. Even though the races have mixed considerably since integration began, it is a fact that racial minorities still have less access to education, they earn less, they are more likely to be criminalized and if they happen to be elected president, they still have to prove that they are American. . . .but I digress. . .
There are historical reasons why some black Americans may not trust white people. I get that. But we are in such a different place today than we were fifty, even ten years ago. The world is smaller. The races mix. Nationalities mix. There are at least two generations of people who've never lived in one country for longer than three years. I have white friends who've grown up in sub Saharan Africa. Poland has a black minister. Austrian kids know the lyrics to Tupac better than I do. The Internet influences and exposes us to everything we were meant and not meant to see, allowing us to be passive observers of a digitized and abridged anthropological study.
Yes, Germans, like most people first see/saw my race. I wrote a book about it. I complained about it. I teased the Germans for it (it was great fun, indeed). And I watched how Germans adjusted to their changing racial and cultural landscape, which can't necessarily be compared to the American example, as the histories are so different.
What I have observed is that our generation, whether in Europe or the USA, is much more open than our parents'. We can not know where or how that white man grew up. We can not say what he believes because of the lightness of his eyes. Unfortunately, he has more opportunities to express himself than I perhaps do, but there are opportunities today that allow me to circumvent those obstacles.
Assumptions are still made. Privileges (and entitlements) still prevail. The world is still unjust. But we are a world made up of individuals who must not always represent a pack. This little old blog gives us a platform to exchange and find out about one another in a way that we wouldn't do passing each other on the street. So listen, sometimes the individuals here may surprise you.