Although it may seem from what you’re about to read that my goal is to create divisiveness among the races and within the Multiracial Community, I’m not. We often hear the expression that things must get worse before they get better. Part of “getting worse” is first addressing the problem. My goal, no matter what I write is about achieving one objective: paving the way toward equality.
For this week’s Sarah’s World Beat column, it had been my intention to write about the topic of women of color and our hair. I created a survey that asked a number of questions about present-day habits with respect to our hair.
My goal was to talk about how the Euro-centric beauty standards dominate all cultures, but in particular the global African one. The problem is that it took me down a rabbit hole I hadn’t anticipated and it made me realize just how complex and pervasive White supremacy is.
When we speak about White supremacy, it’s my belief that most people—both White and people of color—associate this expression with the KKK, Neo-Nazis and similar organizations that were created to do harm to African Americans and other people of color. And while that is certainly an element and agenda of White supremacy, it’s not the only one.
According to Dictionary.com, White supremacy is defined as: “the belief, theory, or doctrine that white people are inherently superior to people from all other racial groups, especially black people, and are therefore rightfully the dominant group in any society.” In other words, White supremacy isn’t reserved to these sick in the head fringe groups. It’s far more widespread than that. It’s systemic and present in our everyday lives—whether we realize it or not.
How this plays out are ways that are obvious and sometimes very subtle—such as marketing and advertising, things that are trending, like music, art and fashion, comments made by newscasters and even in curricula.
For Us to Begin Paving the Way Toward Equality, We Must Recognize Where It Stems From
From the music we listen to and how we dance and what’s popular (and how it’s promoted to us) to how we style our hair, the clothes we wear and the language we speak, all of this is predicated upon White supremacy. From the moment Christopher Columbus landed in the Caribbean and North America, the desire by White Europeans to suppress the culture and the virility of PoC has led to 500 years of White supremacy—in the form of colonization and slavery.
This is not to suggest that all White people feel they must dominate PoC. Quite the contrary I believe most White people want equality—or something approaching it. If I were to believe that most or all White people want to dominate people of color, I would ultimately believe that interracial marriage and multiracial families are—for lack of a better term—a bad thing. That in our struggle to be equal, we must be separatists to achieve this.
I don’t subscribe to these beliefs. I am the product of an interracial marriage, the co-author of a book about being Biracial, and I believe people should be free to fall in love with whomever they please.
For Us to Be Successful at Paving the Way Toward Equality, We Must Accept Some Uncomfortable Truths
Earlier I alluded to the ways in which Euro-centric standards dominate all cultures. I also mentioned that the survey and its responses led me down a rabbit hole I won’t be able to climb out of easily. I certainly couldn’t write a quick 500-word article about a topic like people of color and hair without discussing history, advertising, White supremacy and playing fields—more specifically unequal playing fields.
To that end, over the next few weeks, I am going to talk about how the Euro-centric standards not only dominate our culture, our lives and the choices we make—both daily and long-term—but address each one individually. My hope is that when I’m done, we’ll be able to look back and by taking baby steps, address each one and be that much closer to paving the way toward equality.
In upcoming Sarah’s World Beat, I will cover the following topics:
- Body image
- Our long, sorted and continued history with White supremacy
I don’t have it all figured out just yet, mind you. It’s a very complex area to explore and one I hope to explore together. I truly do believe to move on with our futures, we must address the wrongs of our past.
My name is Sarah and I am one of the founders of Multiracial Media. Not only am I multiracial (Black, Asian and White), but I’ve also lived in or spent long periods of time in several countries, throughout the United States and now my husband and I live on the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico. I see myself both in terms of my racial and ethnic identity as well as someone who appreciates the food, culture and customs of all nations—like a citizen of the world. Sarah’s World Beat column reflects this.
If you would like me to write about your culture or country, please drop me a line and suggest a topic.