Saturday, July 23, 2022

How Important Are You?

"Do you see Color?"  

Carol Cassara asked that question on a blog post the other day. She had heard an interview on tv where the person being interviewed was asked about bias and bigotry and the person replied that they did not see color! Is that a good thing or a bad thing. Or did I simply misunderstand.

Carol pointed out the ignoring another person's color denied that person of their identity all together. After all we are a part of many generations of humans that led to who they are. But her thinking was that when a person says that it is not what they mean. Those that disagree with the statement have taken it literally. We might do the same if we didn't think about what the deeper meaning was. Here is what she wrote:

"So let’s break it down. Yes, yes, fools like me do want to rush in where angels fear to tread. Kids, we MUST discuss these hard topics or we are doomed to be stuck in this hell called our society forever.

So it’s impossible not to see color. Color of hair, color of eyes, color of clothing and YES, color of SKIN. Racial identity. We ALL see color. But here’s what I think people NOT of color mean when they say “I don’t see color."

They mean that they do not attach negative and stereotypical traits to a particular race.

I liked her words...a lot. Thank you Carole for bringing meaning to a phrase that is being misread over and over. Unfortunately, as I travel the world as well as my own country, I see evidence that many leaders do see "color". I give you that wall between Mexico and the USA that I live close to in the winter. 

Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates

I might take that a bit further. It is a razors edge we walk on when it come to color, age, sexual orientation or even linage. It all depends on what your base reaction is. I have traveled a lot and I know that color permeates every culture. The Chinese look down on the Mongolians. The Indian's base their opinion of another on the color of their skin and is a result of centuries of the caste system. The Middle East is all about religion and so it goes. In the United States all you have to be is different. Each finds someone to hate or denigrate. Maybe that is true everywhere on this planet.

I have always believed that humans disparage others because it makes themselves feel more important. Back when I was a child we often said the our poor uneducated white people hated the blacks because it make them feel bigger and, well, less poor and uneducated. Does that make sense?

I took a trip to India in May of this year where I got a glimpse of what the English rule in that country did to that culture. Inside The Imperial New Dehli where my daughter-in-law and granddaughters stayed spent one night, we saw a world where no sign of the language of India appeared. Even thought pictures lined the walls were lithographs of India's history created back in the sands of time, the language under each was English. It seemed like a time warp of sorts. The hotel was built in early 1930 and opened in 1936. The Indian people won their independence in 1947. The architecture speaks to the era. 

But according to this piece of history of the hotel, the governing body and those with influence in India found a place here. It served as a meeting place for the Indo-British governing bodies in spite of it's "Britishness". I find that very interesting. 

"The Imperial was placed on the second most important social boulevard of the nation, the prestigious Queensway, now called Janpath, the first being the grand and ceremonious Kingsway, now known as Rajpath. From the time it opened its doors in the 1930s, when India was beginning to write the last chapters of its saga on independence, there was little space in New Delhi for an Indo-British rubbing of shoulders. The Imperial provided such a space. Pandit Nehru, Mahatama Gandhi, Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Lord Mountbatten met at The Imperial under congenial conditions to discuss the partition of India and creation of Pakistan. The Nehru family had a permanent suite here."

Doorman

My suite.

Grounds of the Imperial

The Spice Road Restaurant

Before dinner drinks with Daughter-in-law Amanda

The British control of this country is history but how it left the country with an image of it's people was less than kind. I suppose even today there are those that look down on the Indian culture. I recall when a girl from my hometown married a gentleman from India 40 years ago, my mother commented that he just look black to her.  

As for the Indian people they also had the caste system leaving every level of society feeling better about themselves because they had someone to look down on...that was and is important. My son's maid did not clean the toilets until caught refusing to do that ugly "unclean" job. It is and was part of what a lower caste did.

When we traveled in China my son lived in Pu Dong just east of Shanghai. The development where his school was locate was built at the end of a dirt road that traveled through a Mongolian settlement. The people lived (and maybe worked) in the neighborhood. The school for the children was segregated from the local school district serving the Chinese people. It was not good! I might mention here that no "foreigner" could attend a Chinese public school. Inner Mongolia is part of China so there is that. But in my world it was not an unfamiliar.

But do we not acknowledge that these people are from a different culture and actually do look different than we do? I don't think so. We simply need to learn more and maybe even rub shoulders with them so we can understand and even maybe make a part of their culture our own. I am as guilty as anyone of carrying bigotry from a childhood where people struggled and it was important to, well, feel important.

So, how important do you need to feel? I stopped and thought about that today and I think we all should do that?

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