House of Black and White
by PaulRaphael on September 14, 2016 - 12:05am
When my family and I moved to Quebec from Ontario, I was still a little young to actually care in any way about how a person looked or where they came from, but let’s just say the part of my neighbourhood I grew up in was not very racially diverse. In Elementary School, I was quite obviously part of the visible minority since the school was probably 95% white. But when I joined the High School in the “less favorable” part of my neighbourhood, things started to change. There was actually a good mix of ethnicities, I started having friends that were not white, and I was exposed to a lot more different cultures. Now, contrary to what people would think, that school was probably one of the least racist places I have been to. The only racist thing there was were the numerous inappropriate jokes, but they were not aimed at one single race and were all in jest. Over there, nobody cared what colour your skin was or what accent you had. I’m not saying my High School was heaven, since it was plagued by constant fights, homophobia, drugs, and other delinquent behaviour.
Yet when I left the neighbourhood to visit other parts of town, I started to notice some of the slight discriminations that some of my friends went through, and I wondered why that was? What made them different compared to me? As Jared Diamond discusses in his article, people mainly categorize people into sub-species based on their physical appearances such as skin, hair, etc... (Diamond, 1994, 2). As it turns out, these categories have no basis, since not only do they have no effect on a person’s survival, they could entirely change the race of somebody depending on what procedure we use to determine their race (Diamond, 1994, 5). Placing humans into different categories like these only serves as a way to shape our opinions of them which we then try to justify (Diamond, 1994, 5).
Reading Diamond’s article and learning about races in class have truly cemented my belief that, in the end, we are all human. But, I do not believe that erasing this concept will ever be easy since one of the main factors of race is skin colour, something that is extremely visible. The real question is at what point does recognizing somebody’s skin tone become racist or not.
Diamond, J. (2016, Winter). Race Without Color. In A. Nouvet (Ed.), Anthropology 381-101-LA: The Myth of Race and the Reality of Racism. Saint-Lambert, QC: Champlain.