Re: Grist for the Mill

Nils Zurawski (zurawsk@UNI-MUENSTER.DE)
Thu, 6 Apr 1995 15:02:10 +0100

>>Years later when I
>>recalled we recalled the incident and my still best friend added that
>>the professor had no right offering the course and that white people had
>>no right discussing the matter with people of color. "People of color
>>should talk about it by themselves and whites should do the same" she
>>told me.

If this is the policy then there will never be any understanding, only
identities that won't move an inch, but therefore will suffocate its
members and die as a useful ressource for an understanding across ethnic

>>My whole life I've known that throughout the world
>>most people of color wake up each morning knowing what color they are
>>considered by their societies and they are not allowed to forget that
>>identity. Whereas generally white people think about their skin color a
>>great deal less.

This looks very ethnocentric to me. I have the impression that you take he
situation as it is in the USA and assume that it is the same the world
round, But skin colour isn't the most important thing, to most of the
people. Take Ruanda and Burundi for instance. Tutsi and Hutu have the same
colour, but are killing each other, because of something that is said to be
ethnicitiy, aka cultural identity. I believe that cultural identity
/ethnicity that are socially
are much more important than skin colour.
Skin colour can be one factor among others that makes a different
ethnicity. And it may be used to supress others. But ethnicity is dynamic.
Given a different situation, People of different ethnicity and/or colour
would consider themselves as "WE" as opposed to "Them" whoever this might
be then.
I think nobody in Africa will think of being a person of colour the same
way as someone in the USA will. Their concepts of we and them are different

>>In grad school I learned that whether or not a white
>>person ignores or forgets another person's color, a person of color will
>>never forget another one's color or lack thereof. Any paleface
>>conscientious enough to want to enter this dialogue will
>>soon be shot down. Go home little girl, you don't belong here.

This also depends on the situation. Does skin colour play a role in the
particuliar situation or no?.

And to shut someone out of a discourse isn't that much of an issue of
ethnicity but of power structures.

Ajd one last thing, correct me please when I am wrong. Isn't it in The USA
that even though aperso is of white colour and only here father/Mother or
grandfather/mother is a person of colour he or she will be considered
"black" with all its connotations and dis/advantages?

Even colour seems to be dynamic to me and therefore socially defined.

best regards