Black & White

“I’m not black,” said DJ, age ye 11. “I’m Indian, Puerto Rican, white, and black.”

I’m not white. I am low Irish, dirty Dutch, Johnny Bull, and a squelch of Welsh. And that’s just on my father’s side, and worded as my grandmother told me.

The child is right. Cultural diversity cannot be summed up into one word based on general assumptions, predominant features, skin tones, accents, or language. White this, black that, anyone who speaks Spanish must be from Mexico… but that is what racial profiling does.

True, culture and race are not the same thing. I learned that on my first Thanksgiving away from home. Those white people ate some really weird food, traditional holiday fare for their heritage, which was completely different than what is traditional in mine.

Just saying we need to be more open minded, to stop trying to fence people into tidy little check boxes.  Life is not monotone. Take this color photograph, snapped in downtown Youngstown by DJ last summer. At first glance, it looks like a black and white image. It’s not.

Photo credit: DJ 2014

Photo credit: DJ 2014