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Categories: Inspiration

Let’s Talk About Race – Who I Am

I was invited to participate in a discussion about race and my views on it and who I am.  This essay is my contribution to the discussion, my thoughts on race and who I am as a black woman. Check out the whole discussion that is going on by visiting Rachee Fagg of Say it “Rah-Shay” where this discussion will be taking place with many other bloggers.

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.

There are other people, people like me, for whom race is an everyday thing, something that is not put aside. Based upon who my parents are, I was going to be born black, there was no option. Based upon how the genetics lined up, I was born a black woman. These are two facts that I am unable to change, alter and had no control over. Other facts about my life and who I am I got to choose. I am a Christian, wife and mother. Those choices I freely made. It is interesting to me that the choices I freely made to determine who I am, as a Christian wife and mother have never caused me problems and controversy. On the other hand, the things that determine who I am, that I had no control over, my race and my sex have been the source of a great many problems and controversies.

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.

I am Janeane Davis, a black, female, Christian, wife and mother. I am a black woman. You should notice that because it is a real thing, it is who I am. You should notice it and then move on to see what else there is of me.
Janeane Davis

View Comments

  • Great post! I love that last line! If only everyone followed along those lines.

  • Powerful post! I love how differentiated between how race is a topic for some people and something that can not be set aside for others.

  • Wonderful post, Janeane. I also see race and a rainbow of colors every day, but I don't let it define my opinion of people.

  • Great post! It's hard to believe that people still look at the color of other peoples skin to define who they are as a person.

  • Great post! I agree with you and feel the same. Yes, I notice and are aware of those of different races, but that doesn't make me treat them any different. I'm in Hawaii, so there are so many different races here that color is usually not an issue. I for one, am of a mixed race. I am white, Hawaiian, Filipino, Japanese, and Chinese all in one!

  • We should honor and celebrate who we are. Celebrate that you are a woman. Celebrate your ancestry. Celebrate it all. If those around you don't want to celebrate, their loss. Great post.

  • As a member of a multi-racial family, the color of our skin and our differences are celebrated as much as the things that make us alike.

  • What a great post to share. I like to think people bring something to the table who with they are and that includes race and ethnicity. To say that we don't notice differences is silly in my book. To me, it's all about appreciating the things that make us each different. In my studies I was taught to think of people as more of a tossed salad where all of the ingredients are different but added together for a tasty dish...... and unlike a "melting pot" where all of us are thrown in and are turned into one thing. I've always tried to use that focus in my life, it's refreshing too.

  • Notice and move on....that's a good way to think of it.

  • this was a great post... I love how you said as long as we move on and it's soo true... thanks for sharing and will share with my friends...

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