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THE THING ABOUT SKIN COLOR

Stay with me in reading this tongue-in-cheek post about the place of the color of one’s skin in today’s social world. There is a meaningful conclusion to my literary exploration in which we will deviate somewhat from the skin tone list of people who have a need to engage in such categorizations. The five basic skin colors from which I will venture are, not surprisingly, Black, White, Brown, Red and Yellow.

Skin color has not been an issue for me all my life, having had little contact with non-white families. In my small NW Kansas community we had only two or three Mexican families and the only Black people I ever saw were porters on the Rock Island Rocket passenger train that came through our town on a daily basis.

The anniversary of the slogan, ‘Black Lives Matter,’ having occurred yesterday when it began hitting the media and downtown areas nation-wide. I certainly empathized with the reason for its existence and intensity. Soon after, however, another mantra surfaced, the ‘All Lives Matter’ effort, with which I also related. Since that time, I have wondered why either philosophy shouldn’t be of an on-going preferential status in our everyday social agenda. Place your tongue back in your cheek and allow me to get back to this entry of questionable value into the literary world.

Even though folks of African descent are called Black people, how many really black folks do you see? Obviously, there are a percentage of people are indeed black, due to a factor somewhere in their genealogical heritage and, I am sure, proudly so. As a matter of fact, however, a vast majority of the ‘Black’ community are of varying degrees of light black, grey , brown and, in some cases, nearly white, whose heritage some may question. Remember, though, these designations as a means of categorizing groups of people are by those who have a need to do so. Further, all of this is of little consequence except for the purposes of this article.

Moving on, the only really ‘white’ folks are those who suffer from a skin disease which doesn’t allow the skin pigment to develop. Beyond that, this population is a sort of cream color, varying from a touch of brown to shades of, well, everything close to cream and light brown. Some folks, however, go to great lengths to achieve a brown , often dark brown facade in order to satisfy some mental urge. White skin, with all its Caucasian variations, however slight, probably share the world’s largest population with brown skins close behind. Please note, any such comparative statements have no empirical evidence to back them up. Is your tongue still in place?

Brown skins, however probably rank as the most consistent color of the world’s population. Some observers, at lease in this country relate Latinos as the best representative of the brown race but that group makes up only a small percentage of brown folks. This group ranges from the very dark brown from the country of India and the Pacific Islands to the lighter browns of North and South America.

Let me close with a short discussion of the last two skin colors, Yellow and Red, the two poorest designations of skin color imaginable. Yellow as a skin color is nearly all relative to the populations of Southeast Asia, particularly Japan. I heard this a lot during World War II by the media and as part of everyday negative conversation, such as those ‘Yellow Japs’ or worse. In other words, the color became a notation of disdain and even hate. To paraphrase a previous line, “how many actual yellow skinned people do you see? Again, a few who suffer from a skin condition, but nothing like a yellow crayon.

Finally, the color that I see as having been a product of rank discrimination is red. Like yellow, red doesn’t come close to representing the skin color of the Indian tribes of North America for whom frontiersmen and politicians was widely spoken. It’s apparent to me that discontent, even hatred, for the scores of tribes that inhabited the forests and plains of early America were used to justify military and social campaigns against them. Simply put, the newly arrived ‘white’ folks wanted what the Indians had occupied for generations, their land. Through media campaigns. legislative actions and eventually, military operations, the ‘savage red man’ was herded onto vast areas of largely remote and unproductive reservations. The point is, skin color played an insignificant role in this dark and disgusting segment of American history.

In conclusion, while the color of the various populations of the world is used by many to divide us, the over-riding point of all this verbiage is, there are major factors of equal and significant importance that all of us share: one, we all bleed red; two, everyone enters this world from the womb of a mother, in one way or another, and three, we all manifest from the same spiritual source and all will spiritually return to that same God-source when this manifested physical being has had enough. It will come about without the color of one’s manifested skin color and without regard to the social, religious and political consequences of physical life.

And so it is. Namaste.

Published inPERSONAL

2 Comments

  1. Alice Carey Alice Carey

    Rolland,

    I knew some of your family history but these writings have given me more insight.

    I remember the summer of ‘76 when my sister, her son and I drove out to Wichita to spend time with you all. Terry and you were such incredible parents and grandparents. Terry always reminded me of my mother. Beautiful woman. May she rest in her bliss.

    We always loved and admired your family. Rick was blessed with a wonderful wife and the mother of his children in your daughter, Anita. She is dearly missed.

    I am enjoying your writings and hope to read more!

    Alice Carey

    • Hi Alice. l am so sorry for my delayed response. I am just getting used to evem getting my articles on line, let alone becoming familiar with responding to to them. I remembeer on occasion your visit to and especially out interesting visit to Goodland during the 1976 all school reunion. Wow! Maybe we can talk more later. Love to all.

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THE THING ABOUT SKIN COLOR

by RW Doerfer time to read: 4 min
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