The Color Spectrum: Is It Blacks Against the World?

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by Melanie Falu of The Blacktina Chronicles

Didn’t the George Zimmerman trial seem like the same old story? White man profiles black man, attacks him and gets away with it. Yep looks the same to me, except one thing, George Zimmerman isn’t completely white. As a matter of fact he’s a bit brown; which some may think is odd because isn’t the closest thing to black, brown? This statement may hold true in a Crayola box but in reality it’s a whole different story.

When I first heard Zimmerman’s mother and uncle Jorge take the stand, despite an obvious language barrier, they appeared educated, hard working, honest true American citizens with a hint of superiority. There was somewhat a pretense that they were more American than the Martins. A thought most likely George had when he confronted Trayvon. The sole idea lies that he thought he was better than Trayvon not because he was white but because Trayvon was black. Zimmerman didn’t have to be 100% white to feel that way, nope, just someone else being black gave him the feeling of superiority. It’s no secret this has been a feeling with some whites, but how could the Browns, Yellows or Reds feel the same way? I can tell you first hand speaking as a Black Puerto Rican I know without a doubt the Browns have no problems with thinking they are better than the Morenos translation the N word in Spanish.

While growing up, family members with the exception of my father constantly told me I am not a Morena, I’m Puerto Rican. Throughout my childhood, siblings, cousins, and friends were vilified due to their association with Morenos or God forbid date one. While some of the younger generation in my family is smart enough to know better, they’re still some that have that Zimmerman mentality. For example, my 29-year-old nephew is bothered by the afro-centric art in my home; yet he wears his hair in cornrows, go figure!

By culture I am Puerto Rican, by ethnicity I’m black. While I never discriminated against any of my friends, I was perplexed on who I should date in terms of race. At a certain age I realized I would date and befriend those who accepted me as they saw me. In my case more blacks accepted me than my cultural race who always referred to me as a Morena. It wasn’t until I spoke Spanish that the “aha moments” came to them and they found a way to accept me; by that time I could care less. Being on both sides I have heard and seen the way some Hispanics of all spectrums from the successful ones to the Tito’s from down the block think of Blacks. Sadly, the perceptions come from ugly notions of what they’ve been led to believe about what a Black person is coupled with the need to assimilate with white. Here are some common misperceptions.
  1. Blacks are dirty; apparently the skin color is not due to an increase of melanin but dirt mixed in.
  2. They’re lazy, can’t keep a job nor clean a house.
  3. They stink! (Let this one marinate with you, trust me I heard it)
  4. They’re criminals, un-trustworthy, will be always scoundrels. Hence, George’s comment “they always get away with it”. Someone needs to ask George “Who is “they”? and “What is it they always get away with?”
  5. Drug addicts, and poor, no contribution to society; therefore worthless and useless. 

This is only a smidgen of what I’ve heard. What this trial proved to the nation which I already knew, it’s always been Black vs. the rest of the rainbow. All of this is not new, back in the 90s the citizens of Crown Heights, Brooklyn voiced the racial tension that existed between them and Korean produce market owners. While I, personally, can go back to the 90s I’m sure they’re been many cases of color global discrimination against blacks throughout centuries. Slavery may have oppressed an entire race, but it also left a stigma which other races will gladly continue.

Although what happened to Trayvon Martin is heartbreaking, I hope it brings to light the global racism against blacks. As black people we have a lot to contend with and much more to do. How do we battle with more than one opponent? And as far our opponents, do you even know why you hate us? How do we move forward and lay out a level playing field for our descendants, who too will encounter this racism if nothing changes. I don’t know any of these answers, but sometimes just knowing the questions is a start! It’s time to confront and educate not the just obvious opponent but all others, if not sadly to say we’ll continue to see many more Travyons.


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