Race is a construct. But racism is a reality. People are judged by the color of their skin in today’s modern context. That is true. Racism has measurable effects and is essentially the result of our brains pattern matching. Racial bias is real and has affects

You’re right everyone is mixed but terms like biracial and black are still highly relevant because they are ones everyone understands as representative of power imbalances based on irrelevant skin tone variations and other markers of “difference”. Other markers of race are nose shape, hair texture, culture, and bodied variations. They don’t scientifically mean anything but people use them to categorize each other. That’s real. You can see these effects in action if you look at basically any human data pool. Black people make less money in the same jobs, so do woman, so do queer people. Are you attributing that to bad character?

This isn’t an article about the science though. This is an article about how it feels to grow up in a racist society. One that, despite the science — which is still pretty new and doesn’t discount years of race based oppression — does believe in racial differences.

Are you saying that the civil rights movement was just people with bad character acting up or that race was an issue back then but that we have somehow already surpassed that thinking, in just a few years? The people who lived in and created that world were our grandparents. We aren’t exactly light years away from them culturally.

And you don’t address the prison industrial complex. How black people represent 12 percent of the US population but are 30 percent of the incarcerated population? People of color represent closer to 60 percent. Are you just saying that more black and brown people possess “character” flaws then white people? Because that’s a massive distinction for something that you’re saying is irrelevant because scientifically it doesn’t exist.

Religion doesn’t exist genetically yet people still murdered Jewish people in the Holocaust.

Race isn’t real. It’s a function in an unjust society which trains people from birth to value others less so that at the end of the day they can be exploited for profit or blamed for economic hardships.

I take responsibility for my actions several times throughout the piece. I blatantly say that my hurt doesn’t justify the hurt I cause others. Which is to say that blame doesn’t matter here, how you choose to address your mistakes and learn from them is what matters. Identifying influences upon my thought process isn’t the same as shifting the blame. I want people to know that it’s never as simple as bad character. Most people don’t think they mean harm when they act, even if thats the end result. Despite intentions — I’m sure my white teachers didn’t INTEND to silence me and distort information — we still cause harm if we are not actively trying not to.

I’m not blaming my mother for her inability to foster these conversations. They are hard. She probably hoped that race would have a small enough impact in my life that I wouldn’t notice much. Unfortunately that was too optimistic. She’s now quite adept at fostering conversations about race that are meaningful and supportive. I’m honored to be her kid. It’s not unkind to say that her choices impacted me growing up in ways she didn’t anticipate. That’s parenting in a nutshell.

I’m saying that the choices others made were obstacles I had to navigate in my journey. I’m still responsible for that uninformed things I said on the bus. I navigate that responsibility by trying to do better now that I know better

I’m still responsible for any race motivated actions and thoughts I’ve had in my life. This entire piece is about how I’m responsible and trying to do better.

If you just say whatever, race isn’t real when people are actively suffering the injustice of racism — which again, HAS VERY REAL EFFECTS — then you’re being obtuse. Willfully. You’re ignoring data that makes you uncomfortable and being altogether “very unscientific”, which lastly, fuck you for saying.

You elitist ass.

I hope you learned something.

Byleighgreen.com | Freelance Editor | Essayist | Culture Analyst | Pronouns: she/they

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