For some people, race is a topic, something that comes up from time to time. To those people the topic comes up only when something big, bad and important enough happens to make the news. When the news story breaks, people who see race as a topic rise up, protest, talk and make big scenes. Once the news cycle dies down, those people can go back to ignoring race and their normal lives.
Many people say that they are color blind, that they never see race or color when they look at a person. I have never been that way. Since the first time I remember seeing people, I remember seeing color. My mother was a golden-yellow that reminded me of the sun and flowers. My father was a chocolate-brown that reminded me of the Tootsie roll treats he brought me for snacks. My four sisters and brothers were all different shades of brown. All my life, whenever I see people, I see race and color. However, I never saw color as a problem, as a bad thing or a good thing. I have always seen color as just another fact about people, a way of remembering them and identifying them
When I was growing up in Southwest Philadelphia, in a neighborhood full of prejudiced and racist whites who made me fear for my life each time I left or returned home I saw them as white. I saw myself as a young black girl and I knew there was a difference. When I went to college and law school and saw very few people who shared my light brown complexion, I noticed race and color. When I walked into courtrooms as an attorney, and saw few if any, other black or women attorneys in the room, I noticed race and color. When I raise my children, walk through malls and even watch television, I notice race and color. I notice race and color because they exist, they are real things. In my mind, in my world, noticing race and color is not a bad thing, it is noticing things that are real and exist in the world.