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.


398 words. 


I can personally relate to this topic because I am half white and half black. My parents are split up so I live with my mother who is white. It is very typical that when I have a new friend come over that their response is "your mom is white? you guys look nothing alike." Since my skin color is darker than my mothers some people feel as if it's not possible that she can be my mother. I half siblings from my mothers side who are fully white so any family photo we take I stand out. This is always pointed out by others who see the picture.
I also went to a high school with such diversity. My high school was full of all different types of races and felt much like a safe haven also. Much like your school the only time race was conflicted was with jokes but also never directed towards one single person.

This post made me think about how different it is to go to a school where there is a ton of diversity and just a few blocks down, there could be a school that is 95% caucasian. In high school, I went to a school where there wasn't a ton of diversity but learned to help others who had difficulty with viewing race as the outlining factor in judging someone. I liked your point where you touched base upon how exposure to more diversity makes you more open to other people's culture and there, you would find less making fun of others for not being exactly like everyone else. If we see someone with different physical traits, it is obvious that we are going to know that they have a "different style hair" than us, or a "different type of skin color", but if we stop looking at what is in the exterior and what is in the inside we wouldn't have to be separated with the so-called "richer or better" communities and it would be a community that has an open-mindedness. To add a point to your question about "what point does recognizing somebody's skin tone become racist or not?", I think that recognizing somebody's skin tone doesn't mean you are racist, the only exception is if you treat that person differently than you would someone who is of the same skin color as you/same physical attributes.

I thought it was interesting how in the post it was mentioned that," 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." Looking back at a young age everyone has the opportunity to be friends with no boundaries. In pre-school everyone plays together and one doesn't really think twice about the color of the other persons skin or how they look. It is interesting to look at how over the year racism and discrimination slowly starts to get introduced into ones life. When one is younger there is no judgement but as one grows older it starts.One may look at a person and say i'm not going to associate with that person based off of how they look or whatever.

This post caught my attention based on the fact I went to school a very non-racially diverse High School, in fact it was not a very diverse school in any facet. I was not part of the minority, yet I did realize the impact that the lack of diversity had on classroom settings. When we had conversations about race they were always based on one viewpoint. I feel as if this singular viewpoint often limited our conversations and understanding of key themes, especially racial themes. Based on my experience I found it very interesting and believable when you mentioned that the more culturally diverse school offered less racism.
In addition I enjoyed how your post made me think about how “race” could change based on the factors one uses to determine race. This definition of race is not one I usually think about, and is a concept that not only intrigued me, but something that made me question my own view and opinions on race.

What drew me to your post was that when I was reading through it I was able to draw a lot of similarities between your experience going through school and my own. The difference being when I was in elementary school I was in the majority as progressed through the years I began to realize how few minorities attended my school. When I was deciding where I wanted to go to high school I decided that I wanted a different experience and chose to go to an all boys high school. This ended up being a great choice for me in hindsight because there was a mix of all different ethnicities and for the most part I would agree that my high school was also one the least racist places in my experience. We all had friends of different ethnicity's and no one cared about skin color, accent or any of the other ways people like to categorize one another, we were all family there.
At the end of your post you ask at what point does recognizing someones skin tone become racist or not. I think that recognizing someones skin tone is not intrinsically racist, I think it crosses the line into racism when people assume or jump to conclusions based on the tone of someones skin before even interacting with the person.

This post was all to relatable, first off i want to say how much your title of the post drew my attention. Growing up I also was not aware of how different people were around me, meaning I didn't see much of a difference between those that spoke in accents, or their skin was a different color, ect. This might have been because I came from a family where my father was Irish background and my mother is Filipina. I never realized my mother had an accent and that she was different from other families until I went to school and others started to acknowledge the difference. From what I have learned so far is that as we are young we don't see others as races, we tend to see people as people, maybe we will see physical difference between others, but were too young to comprehend these. As we get older and go to school we learn from other about race and how others see people differently, which changes our thinking. Overall, I do think that it will not be possible to erase the concept of seeing other different, but acknowledging changes should be positive rather than negative.

I chose this article because it is extremely relate-able to my everyday life. All throughout middle and high school diverse was very common. I had an equal amount of white friends as I did black friends. I also am half white and half black. My parents are split up so I live with my mother who is white. Since my skin color is more dark than light I don't look like my mom as much. Although diversity was very common in the city I lived in it was still very common for my friends to be shocked to meet my mom. They never seem to believe me when I tell them that it's my mom due to the simple fact that we are not the same skin color. As I get older it seems that people are more understanding to concept of race but I do not think that it is possible for the concept of seeing others different to completely be erased but it is definitely becoming a little more positive than before.

The post define well the definiton of racism and race according to Diamond. The title is intriguing and it invites people to comment on the post. Racism is an issue; although the post focussed mainly on skin color, it could be interesting to have additional details on gender differences. According to Liang et al, gender have different ways of coping with racism. Thus, gender differences have different impact on them. Therefore, adding information concerning gender will emphasize the impact of racism on everyone's life. Gender is not the same thing as sex. Gender is define by feminine and masculine rather than female or male. Which suggest that gender roles doesn’t apply on sex. Thus, racism are not based on sex but on gender because if it is based on sex it will become another in the society: sexism
Liang, C. H., Alvarez, A. N., Juang, L. P., & Liang, M. X. (2007). The Role of Coping in the Relationship Between Perceived Racism and Racism-Related Stress for Asian Americans: Gender Differences. Journal Of Counseling Psychology, 54(2), 132-141. doi:10.1037/00-0167.54.2.132,ip,ur...

Let me preface this comment by complimenting you on the way you managed to harmonize the tone in your post by making the article relatable in its blog-like tense and casual vocabulary while maintaining an academic perspective on the issue through quotes and cause-effect conclusion making. I personally think, however, that adding a gender lens to the issue of racism might take your analysis a step further. What is commonly ignored or even cast aside is the concept of intersectionality in our society today. Intersectionality is the overlapping effect of multiple discrimination systems such as sex, race, religion and sexual orientation in a way that each of the inequality factors reinforce one another. This causes the complete weight of oppression to be exponential rather than accumulative, meaning that, in your context for example, one of your non-white female friends would face more than twice the discrimination than your male friend of the same race, due to intersectional discrimination. The Telegraph has an article that explains this concept very well and demonstrates the importance of recognizing this notion (I posted the link with my comment). Thus, thinking about intersectionality enables us to broaden our vision of people’s lives and our society’s issues to grant as a more multidimensional, realistic look.

About the author