Today is Blog Against Racism Day. Here's my contribution:
Racism is only skin deep. It doesn't go any deeper than that because it can't. Don't believe me? Look at the skin's structure here.
The human skin weighs about six pounds. We all have roughly the same amount, give or take a few ounces. Melanin, produced by melanocytes in the deepest part of the epidermis, is what colors everyone's skin, unless you have a skin pigmentation disorder, in which case color isn't an issue for you because you're an albino.
Take notes, there'll be a pop quiz on this later.
Any medical person can tell you that under that thin layer of pigmented cells we're all the same. Same major organs, same circulatory system, same skeletal structure, same tissues, same nerves, same everything. Reproductively speaking, we're either innies or outties, with the respective plumbing, but otherwise? No difference.
Skin is cool. It protects us from infections, helps regulate our body temperature, keeps things like our intestines from dragging around on the ground and, if the Clearisil works, gets us a decent date for Prom night. If it's sunburned, it hurts. If you cut it, we bleed, you guessed it, the same red blood.
So tell me, why does it matter what color this particular six pounds of us is? You wouldn't judge me by the color of my liver, or my uterus, or my brain tissue, would you? So why look at a person and only see six pounds of them? Why let the amount of melanin in that six pounds decide whether the owner gets a job, is good enough to date your best friend, or should have their new book shelved next to mine?
I don't care how anyone tries to justifies their racism. Treating a person in any way, shape or form with prejudice solely because their skin is darker or lighter or a different shade than yours is like saying the Christmas present isn't going to be as nice if you wrap the damn box in red paper instead of green. It's stupid.
It's also all that separates us. Six pounds.
I'll now direct your attention to two ladies who are far more eloquent than I will ever be, and who have written two of my favorite sledgehammers against racism: Dr. Maya Angelou's poem Still I Rise, and author Octavia E. Butler's NPR Essay - UN Racism Conference.
(Thanks to Monica Jackson for the heads-up.)