Racism has a different face now

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Racism has a different face now.

I have worked with, loved and lived with people of color all of my life.

The number of times I have heard the expressions “well they are just trying to be white”, or “they act white” or they are “white washed.” Immediately remembering that I am in their presence, they put a hand up and say; “Oh, I don't mean ALL white people” or “not trying to be rude against white people.” The concern is why is it even part of the conversation. Another euphemistic term that is bandied about is “American” which is the Asian means of verbally attacking whites as they don't seem to identify Hispanic or African descendants or even any other culture other than European descendants as such or at least with less derision than they do when discussing whites. Once again, if they openly hate and only see me in the room, they leer as if I am too stupid to understand that they are being racist.

As I have spent a lifetime around people of color, I have been taught the shame of being white. I used to express acquiescence with the statement of yea, sure “those” white people. “I don't take offense.” But honestly, I do. I am the result of multiple people who have lived, struggled and loved as we all are, my familial history does not have the shame of enslavement in its records. So why should I deny my culture? And when I say be proud of my culture, I am like many people of the world, of two races. My features indicate both, however my light skin and eyes immediately identify my Scottish ancestry over my Indian ancestry.

Once again, I reiterate, I do not understand why I need to be ashamed of my background or I am always being told oh well, “You aren't really white. That's why I can know you.” I understand that they are poor representatives of Europeans and Americans in the past and present. As there is of all races and cultures. It's just not spoken of in everyday conversation as it is now in American culture. Heroes are described from various movements that have brought cultures to the forefront, this should be a sense of equality, not an attempt to replace the old regime with a new one. Also as a female, I do not link my sense of cultural pride to a bunch of old European men in wigs.

In my quest for knowledge, I have yet to learn what is so horrible about white that the speaker almost spits the bile out of their throat when they have to refer to people of European descent. However, if some one of color acts in a manner where they wish to reflect success, or money, they are referred to as “White washed.” Which apparently means they have no pride in their culture or ethnicity. Now, white people are not allowed to have culture, but these white washed individuals are critiqued as replicating a group and not following their own culture. I am so confused.

I am currently working with an Asian politician and her inner circle continually remind me that I am not of their race, culture or their friendship. It is extremely disappointing that they do this with the air that I am to just take this hatred as a result of their perceived idea that whites did them or their ancestors dirty. Due to my skin color, I have to bear the punishment they decree is necessary to appease their feelings towards one part of my personal race profile. That is quite a lot to take on.

So, I am going to start proudly expressing my culture. A tartan declaring my ancestral clans will be added to my wardrobe, as well as I am going to ask whenever someone says white, who and what do they mean.

As for my native side, I will still honor my elders, learn as much as I can of the old ways, and continue to research and write for various publications to keep the stories alive.

I often do say to refer to a person by a color is demeaning. We are not in an art class where we are discussing paints, we are describing a people.   

Yvonne-Cher Skye