Written By: Jordan LeRoy Holt
I am Jordan. I am American. My skin is brown in color. From America’s perspective, my mother is “white” and my father is “black”.
Let’s face it. The color of the words you are reading right now do not match the color of my skin. These words are black. The tires on a car are black. Coal is black. Asphalt is black.
My skin is brown.
From this same perspective, this background is white. Snow is white. Milk is white. The stars on our flag are white. My mother’s skin is not white (admittedly a hard pigment to define, yet assuredly not white). Why is it that I am referred to as “black”? Why is it my mother is referred to as white? How long are we going to pretend like this is okay? When will we realize that these terms of classification are not only offensive, inaccurate, and pejorative, but the very foundation of racism as we know it today?
At it’s very core, race is ignorant. Its existence cannot be refuted, however the validity of the differentiation in its entirety stands to be re-examined and ultimately eradicated. Race as a classification has not only been disproven, but condemned by renowned scientists and anthropologists for hundreds of years. Some even see it as potentially dangerous from a scientific and medicinal standpoint, as it creates the potential for threatening situations such as the misdiagnosing of a medical patient due to analytical reports concluded using incorrect data. In our country, the battle to decide the politest term to use in reference to a person of darker skin pigment, specifically those who are descendants from the continent of Africa, has been long, redundant, tiresome, and contradictive.
In the early slave days, the common term was nigger, which was superseded by the term colored, then superseded by the term negro, then by African American, Afro American, and black. Over the course of one hundred years the socially and politically acceptable term in America has taken the form of many different words or phrases. All terms of which, at some point, met a living wall of human disapproval and were eventually forced to change for the sake of controversy avoidance.
The justification used by the powers that be for the creation and perpetuation of racial differentiation is that through its use we are able to systematically collect statistical genetic data at scale which then allows us to find solutions to problems through the identification of unique patterns & factors found in those sharing skin of a similar pigment. Also, as statistics will clearly show, race has become the seed which sprouted the ugly tree of racial discrimination, segregation, and hidden systematic oppression. The word niger in Latin means black & is the stem of the word Nigrum, from which the word Nigger originated from. So, essentially, to refer to a person with dark skin as “black” is to refer to them as a “Nigger” using the quiet manipulation of American English terms. (I know. I’m crazy, right? Leave it to the black dude.)
I find it derogatory in every way. Every time someone calls me black, or I notice I’ve called myself black in conversation, or I have referred to another person or heard someone do the same, a small, identical version of my face winces inside of my mind, although my exterior remains composed. A quiet voice inside of my head says, “Clearly we all recognize that we collectively call the color ‘brown’ “black”, right? Is that weird to anybody else?”
Yet, I remain un-phased. What else am I going to do? Ask someone to stop calling me black because it hurts my feelings?
Get yourself labeled as the neighborhood fuckin’ racist doing some honest shit like that. Thus, the perpetuation of the ignorant color-based racial divide continues. Hiding quietly behind the naïve moral perceptions of those who would argue that being offended by this is just ridiculous.
Well, my fellow Americans, that’s just not good enough. We can do better. We must do better. I very much, in every way, respect the groundwork that has been laid before us through the passionate work of our predecessors. Those who fought this fight before our time. Those who dared to stand up in the face of racism to say: “We are not inferior.”
However, in our time, it is apparent that there is still more work that needs to be done. To say that we must do more is not to discredit the progress made during the Civil Rights Movement in any way. We must improve upon the foundation that has been built! We must stand together as ONE race, undivided by trivial differences like skin tone, and say “WE ARE ONE.” Together we can make a difference. Together we can erase the unfair labels of race. Together, we can make the world a fairer, more loving and understanding place for the generations behind us.
It is our duty to follow the example of the great leaders of our country’s past and show those who have come after us that unity is something worth fighting for. It is up to us to show them that this is an achievable goal. Let us come together to leave this world better than it was left to us vs. accepting things for how they are and letting our kids deal with the mess instead.
So please, don’t call me “black” anymore.
Just call me Jordan.
Jordan LeRoy is the founder of VSTRO brand clothing, a clothing line that aims to promote local music, fashion, and artists in a spirit of unity, love, and understanding.