We Are Not Colorblind

by Jade Fulton on October 16, 2015 - 10:40am

In the article, ‘’Where are you from? Is clumsy, but not racist’’, published on October 10th, 2015, Deena Douara claims that we have more issues with our prejudices rather than our visions when looking at racism. She also questions the statement ‘’Where are you from’’, as not being racist, but rather clumsy since it is usually based on a racist prejudice. She also finds it important that we learn to accept that different colors of skin do exist, and that all though we are all the same on the inside, we are different on the outside, which leads to us having to accept ourselves and others the way we are despite the visible differences. The author then states that it is important to evaluate the question ‘’where are you from’’, in order to figure out if the actual aim of the statement is towards someone’s immigration status, rather than from their social background or upbringing. Therefore, the author does not see the statement as offensive, because although it is formulated in such a way, the intention is not necessarily to be racist or discriminatory.

Comments

This article is quite interesting by the fact that it helps people to not over generalize the intention behind one sentence or one question and not stigmatize it. The concept of race being a social construct is something invented by humans during the seventh century until the ninth one in order to justify the socio-economical system of the time period (Smedley, 694-695). However, even if this concept is the product of someone’s imagination (supported by scientists and philosophers), it became anchored in our society’s mentality, which naturally tends to classify people in different categories. Indeed, the most common is ‘race’, which is prone to stereotyping. And form my personal experience; it could be frustrating to being told this question repetitively because of physical features considered as more ‘exotic’; while I was born in the same country of the people who were curious about my origins. It would be great if the author could have provide few solutions or alternative considering that this question of “Where are you from” is often perceived as racist, unpleasant or even awkward. People could say for example: “Where are you local”. This way people could talk about more than the origin of their skin color and still feel like they are being equal citizen of their country (for visible minority born in a country where Whiteness is a norm). This question can make any racial visible minority feel like eternal immigrant. I think that it is important to mentions that this question often asked is not necessary racist. However, bringing other options or various different ways to approach the subject could help our benevolent but often clunky society.