This is another post inspired by random conversation. However, in this case, it was inspired by something I overheard rather than a conversation I participated in. I was in a coffee shop the other day and the group next to me was a little loud so it was hard not to hear them. The basic premise of the conversation was that they were trying to convince one of their friends that she shouldn’t have ‘outside’ friends, that she should only hang out and date her own ‘people’. It wasn’t long before I understood that she was dating someone who was a different race than her and they didn’t approve.
Which made me think about race again…
When people say you should hang out with your own kind (or write about) your own kind, I always take it to mean that I should hang out with other Canadians and write about other cool people. Because where am I going to find another Ojibway/Scottish/ Irish/German/English/French mixed race person (other than my brother), let alone a whole group of them to hang with. And seriously, why would I want to write about myself and only myself… how boring is that?!
I love that my friends are a mixed bag of ethnicities and nationalities; it means I’m always learning new things (as they are). Oh, don’t get me wrong, we often talk about normal, boring stuff like guys and dating and babies but it’s cool that sometimes those everyday conversations have a twist. Like when a few of my female friends got together for an informal (not planned) baby shower and we started talking about Korean baby food.
Maybe I’m an oddball – okay, I am an oddball – but I think the world would be a better place if everyone had a little variety in their friends and loved ones. Perhaps being mixed race gives me a different insight because while I was joking above, I really don’t have a ‘people’. That may be the reason I have never worried about what race, nationality, religion or whatever a person might be when we become friendly; all that matter was if they were fun, interesting and I liked spending time with them.
And shouldn’t that be what matters?
No, I’m not naive. I realize that racism exists and that it’s often so institutionalized that those in the majority are not always aware of it. But I think that caring more about what’s on the inside rather than the outside is one way of getting rid of it. No, I’m not saying to be colour-blind. That’s impossible. We should recognize our differences and learn from them. Knowledge helps us overcome prejudice.
Overnight? Of course not. See my previous comment on not being naive. But I think that if more people were more open to making friends with people of different ethnicities, nationalities, races, religions, etc., then more people would realize that we may be different in some manner but we’re still people.
Ah, the dream.
But honestly, that conversation that I briefly overheard pissed me off – and not just because I’m mixed race and I can imagine someone saying that to my mom when she was just starting to date my dad. Why should we stick to our own people? Again, I’m not asking this because I really don’t have a ‘people’ being mixed race, or maybe I am, but I really want to know how anyone would justify such a racist comment. Thoughts?
And yeah, it’s a very racist comment.