I’ve Never Been So White
‘’I’ve never realized just how white my skin is until the Zimmerman Trial took place. Don’t get me wrong…I know I’m a white chic, but I’ve really never FELT this white before. The death of Trayvon Martin made me angry, sick, and furious. At first, I thought Zimmerman was doing his ‘’duty’’ as a neighborhood watch man. But, as the details of the trial came out, I realized this was all about race and hate. That my friends, makes me really pissed off’’ ~ Dr. Gayle Joplin Hall.
Everyone has had their say about the Zimmerman Trial – I realize that. Today is my day to deliver this message to the world or at the very least, to those who read my words. ‘’Damn, if ever I’ve been feeling white, this is the time.’’ Please let me explain.
All my life as a child and as a young teen, I was bullied for having red hair and freckles. I was never part of any subgroup…I was not the most intelligent one (yes, smart, but not the smartest), not into drugs, not a cowboy, and not a cheerleader or into athletics. I was just me – the one who questioned everything and rallied as an underdog for others who were in similar shoes. I cannot stand to see anyone being bullied. When I finally started wearing make-up at the age of 15, I was not bullied anymore and even became ‘’cute’’ – or so it seemed. I had boyfriends.
You see, when we are in our teens, the normal things to think of (if you are a white girl) are, ‘’Do the boys think I’m cute?’’ and ‘’Is my outfit hot?’’ Most WHITE boys are thinking of things such as, “I want to get that hot girl’’ and ‘’Man, that’s a really cool car…I want to go banging in it.’’ Okay, so what’s my point in all this? Before a BLACK girl or boy leaves their home to go out for the night, they are reminded of what to do or not to do, just in case they are stopped because of their color. Forget the fact that one of us may be wearing a hoodie…I wear them every time I fly and I haven’t been a teen for decades. My opinion is this – it’s dangerous to be BLACK in our society, especially if a creep has decided to target you. So, how do I know this firsthand if I am so white?
I used to conduct Race Discussion Panels in my college classrooms. These were not part of my written, dictated curriculum, but rather, something I did as a method of bringing awareness to all ethnicities with my students, while bonding and educating them. As the Professor, I set up the ground rules, but that’s it. I did no teaching – my students became the teachers. Quite often, the Panel Discussions became very heated and when they did, I would switch around the hot-seats. Students wrote to me in advance to be in my classrooms for my Panels, to participate, to listen, and to learn.
One of the first and without a doubt, the most significant thing I learned during the Race Discussion Panels in my Psychology Classes was that if you are BLACK, you must be fearful if stopped by the police – just because you are BLACK. One of my black students explained this so eloquently and stated that the darker the skin tone, the more in danger you are.
Interestingly enough, I referred to my students who were black as ‘’African Americans’’ and was quickly told by some that they were not that and had never been to Africa. They wanted to be labeled as ‘’BLACK.’’ I had several races in my classes including Hispanics, Asians, Blacks, Whites, and Latinos. There were also gang members in some of my classes, along with Skinheads. Everyone learned. My boss and Department Chair sat in on one of the most heated panel Sessions. She watched as I took control when it became escalated and afterward, told me she wanted me to teach other professors how to teach. That never came to fruition, unfortunately.
When my WHITE son was 17, I never had to fear that he might be killed if he was stopped by someone and questioned. The only thing I worried about was that he would speed and kill himself, thinking he was invincible (most teens in the U.S. die of automobile wrecks).
I already know that my article, ‘’I’ve Never Been So White’’ is going to piss off many people and you want to know what I think about that? GOOD! I have never been part of any big crowd that just goes with the flow and I never will be. Nope, that’s not my style. I am so sick and tired of seeing people be quiet, not saying what they really think, not sticking up for the ones who are hated, who are stereotyped, and discriminated upon. How would YOU feel if it were YOU who was hated, just because of your skin color, your freckles, your hair, your size, your IQ, or your socioeconomic status? Yes, that’s what I thought. You would not like it. I know how my champion, Dr. Martin Luther King, would feel about all of this, and I feel the same way.
Now, go out and do the right thing. Your comments are welcomed on my website: www.DrHallonCall.com. Go to the article, write your comment, and submit it for review.
©Copyright – Gayle Joplin Hall, PhD. All rights reserved worldwide. None of this material may be downloaded or reproduced without written permission from the author.