Do you really not see the color of my skin?

Posted on September 28, 2007. Filed under: Civil Society, Equality, Social Change |

While catching up on the news this morning before work, I heard about Bill O’Reilly’s most recent comments about race and ethnicity in America.

O’Reilly had eaten dinner at a black owned restaurant, with Mr. Al Sharpton in Harlem. Bill described is experience as no different than any other restaurant and made comments about ice tea and other stereotypical “black” foods. To his credit he was trying to say that Black Americans are no different than White or any other Americans and we should all be treated the same, but he did not do a very good job of saying it.

Watch the video for yourself to decide.

Really, my whole point is not to bash on Bill O’Reilly, all though he really needs to think before he talks, because I do believe he meant well by what he said.

Listening to his story it just brought up some discussions I have been having with my very intelligent, office mate. We were talking about her experience in the Institute on Healing Racism, through our local chamber. She was talking about the fact that some people believe they can say they are not racist, by saying I did not see the color of their skin.

The truth, she says, is that no matter who you are, how racist you are or are not, or how much you do or do not believe in stereotypes… “You always see the color of someones skin!”

She is right, no matter who I interact with, whether they are of another gender, ethnicity, or disabled I first realize that they are different than me and then I really get to know them.

The fact is we all notice the differences in others no matter who they are. What makes us not prejudice is how much we do to get to know others and not make snap judgments. Those that we consider racist in our society, are those that consider their ignorance the right answer to everything without figuring it out for themselves, or taking a chance on someone else, on someone different.

My new challenge to everyone is to get to know those around them, more than just their name and title. Really get to know your colleges and neighbors before you decide you do not like them, because then at least you will not like them for their character and not their physical characteristics. 🙂

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