So the title!? I know that it may look foreign to some people. You may wonder if you clicked on the wrong page. I’ll make sure to explain it. Have you ever walked into any setting and been the only person in the room that looks like you, or representative of your race, culture or ethnicity? In a world that is at least leaning towards now giving lip service to the concept of diversity, singular situations are becoming more common. I’ve been in this spot a few times. At times its been purposeful. Partly because of the explorer inside of me, and because I’m interested in things (music, food, locations, etc) that are outside of the limits of what stereotype and mainstream dictate. This can happen to anyone. There’s not a race, culture or ethnic prerequisite. As a member of an interracial family, I have to tell you the first few years of interactions with my in-laws were BRUTAL! I made it to a point where hatred was being born in my heart I promise. This is not an easy place. I’m going to paint a quick picture for those unfamiliar.
You are a black (woman/man) walking into a room with only caucasian (or other different) people. Someone walks up to you and begins to start one of two conversations; one that involves Barack Obama or fried chicken. Every question is asked with the expectation that you can answer for THE ENTIRE BLACK RACE and all it’s participants good and bad. You begin to attempt to explain by gently opening the door to a world that is just as diverse as the birds in the trees with its individual sets of opportunity and obstacles. You realize you’re talking to someone who doesn’t have an earthly concept of what you’re mentioning. Instead they address you with a demeaning behavior and make it brutally clear that they believe you should act and react the way that media has told them you should. They start neck popping, quite horribly, speaking slang, and talking about “black people” as if it were a meat label. If you get upset because of “their” ignorance then you’re an angry black woman, further feeding the furry of ignorance. Ignorance is not derogatory here, it’s truly not knowing. This can also happen if a person had ONE bad experience with someone who represents your racial classification. You must pay! You are them, and you have the same ideas, and are a replica.
The title is ‘por uno pagan todos” It is a phrase in Spanish used quite often that says, “Everyone pays for one.” Does everyone carry the weight of an entire racial/ethnic classification on their backs? It’s amazing that one bad interaction; the person who cut you off in traffic or was mean to you in high school, can dictate how someone receives and entire group of people. This also happens when someone has never had an interaction and only knows what they’ve been told by people and media outlets. There are many rhetorical theory that say in bulk that we even gather & congregate with people who see interactions through the same lens. The only way to break down walls is to trust that one person can NEVER carry the weight of their race of their backs. I want to encourage everyone reading this to give a new person another chance. This time leave the rhetoric and bias at the door. I promise you can have a different, and even life changing experience.
Until the Next,
Others’Mother / @MarjorieIam