Thought Catalog
May 23, 2014

Why Is It Always About Race?

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What is the issue?
Ryan Rodrick Beiler / Shutterstock.com)
Ryan Rodrick Beiler / Shutterstock.com)

Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas said he never understood the notion that we could continue to focus on race in order to get over race. We know how much heat he had from some of the things he said. He was referred to as an Uncle Tom merely because he didn’t feel the need to bring up skin color in every case.

He made a great point. We have to stop going on about race if we want to get along as people, not as colors.

It’s usually nonwhites who feel the need to bring up their race and ethnicity and talk about how proud they are of it. In fact, unless the person was a full-blown Klansman, I don’t remember ever hearing a white person talk about their whiteness.

I know life was different for black America, and there is a whole month set aside to remember and learn about your black ancestors, but does it have to be mentioned in trivial things such sports, acting, and music? If it does, how long will it continue? Forever? When will you be happy and stop feeling the need to mention race? When there are no white people left? Perhaps that’s the ultimate goal.

Watching pro wrestling is a guilty and inexplicable pleasure of mine. There were times in the wrestling business, much like in sports and other areas of life, when a black athlete would achieve something. As this happened, somebody somewhere would feel the need to mention that they were the first black champion or the first black general manager or the first black color commentator (no pun intended). Until that was said, I had honestly forgotten about the color of their skin. I looked at individual wrestlers as nothing more than wrestlers. Commentators were commentators, and so on.

It’s the same in football, baseball, hockey, and whatever else. I see players. I don’t look at a team and think, “They’ve got four black guys, six white guys, and one Oriental guy. Not sure where he’s from; he looks Chinese. Let me find out.”

I can’t understand the persistence in constantly mentioning somebody’s race, be it black, Asian, Latino, etc. How can we stop seeing color if we keep mentioning color? I know someone’s color is apparent, and you’re always going to see it. When you describe somebody who’s black, you’ll probably mention that they’re black. If you buy Chinese takeout food, you might mention that the Chinese guy who sold you your chicken chow mein gave you a free bottle of Coke for waiting so long. It’s always going to happen, but it’s the situations where it really doesn’t need to happen where I would love to see it not happening.

It would be great to see a black actor getting an award and their skin color not being mentioned. We know they’re black, but that’s not what we’re celebrating here. Shocking as it may sound, being black is not an achievement. Winning an award for your acting performance is (well, to some people).

Barack Obama won the presidential election twice because he’s black, and many black people will proudly admit that they voted for him because he’s black. So the guy running America is doing so because of the color of his skin. I get it: For many years black people were oppressed and denied things because of their skin color. For many years white people had privileges because of their skin color. Now the tables have turned a little and a black guy has been put in to the White House twice because of his skin color.

Paul Mooney is to some people a legendary comic. I personally don’t like him. Why? He only ever talks about race. I can’t remember watching any of his stand-up comedy shows (and I’ve seen a lot of them) or seeing a single interview he’s done where he not only talked about race, but only about race. He might have mentioned not liking the Queen of England and a few other things once or twice, but his main topic was always the same.

Here’s a clip of an interview he did on Letterman. I admit he has a soothing voice. And I never said he wasn’t funny.

Before you call me a hypocrite for talking about race myself, the only reason you see articles like this one on race so much is because that subject is still alive and kicking all over America, the UK, Europe, and almost everywhere else. It never stops happening, and these were a white person’s thoughts on it. TC mark

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