By Chris Churchill
My friend Carla, a proud, hilarious, intelligent and Jeff nominated African American woman, has told people of my complexion, whom she deems friends, to "talk to your cousin" when another white person behaves in a shameful or ridiculous way. Well, here's where I talk to my "cousins", on behalf of my friend Carla, as well as my actual cousins and nieces and nephews and step-siblings who are not as “white” as me.
I want to address this issue of whiteness and blackness. Not because I think I can change a racist's mind with logic, but because I want to affect the complacent thinking of my more privileged and comfortable "cousins". When I hear these other white people (or sometimes I even hear groups from other ethnic minorities do this) complain about why there's a "Black History Month" or why it needs to be stated that black lives actually do matter or why is Rasheeda Jones "black" when she looks white to us? What do you mean the first president was black? What do you mean Eisenhower was black (Wait? What? He was white!)? And countless other knee-jerk reactions to affirmations that black people get to have nice things too. That black people get to be proud of their heritage and history too. Certain of my "cousins" get nervous when it looks like some of our "white" heritage (even though white people came to the Americas from many heritages, some will still claim "white" heritage) is being usurped. Are they trying to steal Abraham Lincoln from us? You can't have Slash! The guy from "Prison Break"?! Not THAT supermodel!! I just jerk--I was just lusting over her!! Aaaaaghh!! We're losing EVERYONE!!
See how precious we can be? I mean not me. I'm cool. Some of my best friends are black (I know, I know. It's a joke.)
Well, this is the thing, "cousins". You brought this on yourself. Or, rather, your most "racist" (in quotes for a reason I'll explain later) ancestors did.
You see, in this country, to keep an enslaved and downtrodden people down, my "cousins" threw the baby out with the bath water with a little thing called "The One-Drop Rule". As you may be aware, it was decided a couple hundred years ago that we'd better be really careful who we let in on this great American prosperity. "I know!" said Olde Cousin Whitington, "Let's say that anyone who has even one drop of "black" blood IS black! That will fix everything!"
So that means that, according to this most American of rules, that if your great grandfather is black, YOU are black. And of course, if their great grandmother was black THEY ARE black. "You see? That way there's no question! If you're even a liiiiiittle teeny bit black, you're ALL THE WAY BLACK! Clear cut!"
So let's check science. I know racists hate this but those of my cousins who just haven't thought of this might appreciate this one. White people are new. The anthropology suggest that humans have been around for a very long time but up until 7-10,000 years ago, none of them were white. Not one. Excluding what we would all albinos. Regardless, what that means is--(well let's call a generation back then, like 14 years--so take 10,000, divide it by 14, you get 714 and some change) your 714 greats-great grandparent--both of them--were black!
Oh wait! Stop right there, Chris! Humans only have 120,000 drops of blood! That means that after 714 generations (halving the percentage each time), there is way less than a drop of “black” blood in any white person. Now an imaginary Race Scientists pose the question, “How many individual blood cells do we have?” The answer is 10,000,000 (the number of cells in a drop of blood) times 120,000=1,200,000,000,000. Well, sure, that would be true if we weren’t already saying that one drop of “black” blood makes you %100 black. The first “white” person’s grandchildren are %100 white by the “One Drop Rule”. And their great grand-children and so on and so on and so on. That means that every single generation from the first “white” person on, by American racist rules, were actually black all along. The math is irrelevant. It means, we have always been black all the time! Which means that even that sickly kid you can see through, and who has to carry an umbrella at night to protect against the glow from Orion's Belt, is black, according to the one-drop rule.
There aren't ANY white people. Science and your own weird rules just killed them all! No wonder you hate science! But wait! YOU'RE still here! You STILL exist!
So here's why I put "racism" in quotes: I don't expect to change the English language here, and I'm not the first to point this out but it's not racism (since we're ALL black by the one drop rule, and we're all from Africa). It's actually Colorism. While we're all actually the same "race" we're all different colors and shades of those colors. But the darkest brown, the light brown, the reddish brown, the yellowish brown, the palest pinkish brown with the orange dots-- we were LOOKING for differences. Why? To know who to share our scarce resources with. Those who looked the most like us.
But now, some of my pale "cousins" want to hoard their culture, their wealth, their stuff. Keep it away from the other!
"But who's the 'other'? How will we define it? We don't know anymore! All those people we thought were white, and were the smartest, the strongest, the sexiest (Vin Diesel, for crying out loud) aren't white!"
Well here's your solution "cousins". Admit and embrace that we're all from the same place. We all share the same blood. Maybe YOU are as non-white as the beautiful Miss Jones. Maybe you aren't. Maybe you are, like everyone else, situated somewhere on that beautiful continuum of human color variations. Our favorite historical figures either didn't know, care or fully understand this when they ALL held their "othering" beliefs. But we, right now, know better. We're all on the continuum of all different drops of all different colors. And just like Maxwell House, if we're brewed with love, we are good to the very last drop.