Sunday, March 29, 2015

Eradicating Racial and Ethnic "Purity"

Racial and ethnic purity- remember this term from World History and Social Studies class? The first flashback of racial purity history that comes to mind is the Holocaust. What do you think of first? No matter what bit of history initially came to your mind, you thought it was only the Nazi, KKK, and other supremacist groups who have had an obsession with racial purity, right? Wrong, think again. Many of us have an obsession with this notion of "purity" and do not even know it.....yet.

Let me give you a couple current examples:

[In the news: March 25, 2015] This young woman, Miss Nagasaki Ariana Miyamoto, is Japan's first ever mixed-race (half African American and half Japanese) Miss Universe Japan. Nagasaki is being criticized for not being "Japanese" enough, which in other words she is not "pure Japanese" and does not have pale skin like millions of other Japanese. Horrible, just horrible. Miss Miyamoto, I am rooting for you and hope you come out on top in the Miss Universe pageant. To read more about her struggle, click here.

[In the news: Since he was rumored to be running for Presidency] Excuse me while I take a moment to take a good look at this stunning photo. Okay, I'm back. President Barack Obama was born in Hawaii (Mom, why couldn't you have had me in HI?) to a Caucasian woman from Kansas and an African man from Kenya. Combined with God's help they made this fine gentleman. He is half black and half white. Many Caucasians (not all) disowned him because his appearance is "more black than white" and his Kenyan roots. Would this group of Caucasians have been more accepting if President Obama were pale skinned and had been born with baby blue eyes? The world will never know, but it's painfully intriguing to think about.

There were also African Americans who denied him as being America's first black president. Check out what Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman said in a 2012 interview:

"First thing that always pops into my head regarding our president is that all of the people who are setting up this barrier for him ... they just conveniently forget that Barack had a mama, and she was white — very white American, Kansas, middle of America," Freeman said. "There was no argument about who he is or what he is. America's first black president hasn't arisen yet. He's not America's first black president — he's America's first mixed-race president."

To read more on NPR, click here.

There are many other world-wide news (throughout history) examples. Do your research; you will be appalled.

All of this sounds awful, right? Well, this mentality abides within many of our friend and family circles as well. I have been present in Latino circles (By the way, I am Latina) where some individuals think that our friend who is half-Latina and half-Caucasian is not really Latina. "She did not grow up speaking Spanish or watching Sabado Gigante; she's white." And I am sure that on the flip side, there were some Caucasians who subtly "disowned" her as well because she is not "Caucasian enough." It's that racial "purity" mentality. So, where do these individuals truly belong (racially) then?

To put it out there I am half-Puerto Rican and half-Salvadoran, which I blogged about not too long ago (to read, click here).  Recently I was at a social gathering and someone who is from one of my lands (I will not specify either Puerto Rico or El Salvador) found out that I had blood from another land. The person's expression (both verbal and body language-wise) was priceless, but not surprising even though it stings every time. It's as if they responded, "Oh, you are not really (or fully) one of us then." It's that racial/ethnic "purity" mentality again and it hurts. It was not the first time that has happened to me and I know it will not be the last. Where do I belong ethnicity-wise? [Special thank you to those who do accept me wholeheartedly and without reservations.]

Are our races and ethnicities elitist groups? We think it is ludicrous and appalling when we hear of supremacist groups issuing heritage and DNA tests to see if others are "pure," but let us also be mindful that we do not fall into the same atrocious (and destructive) mind sets.

Let us be the generation that eradicates racial/ethnic "purity," with God's divine help, once and for all.