The Importance of Skin “Color”
Oh, did you think there was one? Importance? Er… No. None, whatsoever. A person’s skin “color” should have nothing to do with anything, yet in our society it still seems to “matter” to far too many people. Unfortunately, there are still people who seem to judge others based on the pigmentation in their skin. A person’s skin “color” is wholly irrelevant to who they are as a human being. It should not make one more loved, or more hated — more accepted, or more rejected. It should not determine one’s fitness for a friendship or a love relationship — or to be your neighbor. It should not determine whether one is, or is not, qualified for a job, or a promotion, or an internship, or a scholarship. One’s “skin color” (I literally hate even using the term.) has no bearing on the quality or character of a human being, whatsoever. None. It does not determine who a human being is, or what they stand for, or what they can contribute to society and achieve personally. It does not determine “goodness” or “badness.” It does not make one better than, or worse than, any other human being on earth. It does not give one greater or lesser beauty, or intellect, or courage, or talent. It does not make one more or less compassionate toward others, or more or less generous, or kind, or hateful, or gentle, or violent — or honest, or dishonest. It does not determine whether or not one is dependable, or honorable, or anything else. One’s skin “color” is a completely benign — inert — superficial — unremarkable — unimportant physical characteristic. It has no effect on one’s character, or personality, or psychology, any more than eye color does. None. Skin “color” is simply a physical, visual representation of the density of certain substances (such as the pigment melanin) in skin cells. Skin pigmentation does not determine or affect one’s behavior or character — at all. It is simply our bodies’ evolutionary adaptation to varied climates and levels of UV exposure. According to Wikipedia, it “evolved to primarily regulate the amount of ultraviolet radiation penetrating the skin, controlling its biochemical effects.”
So a person’s skin “color” doesn’t (or shouldn’t) matter in any way to any us. It’s a nonexistent “problem” that society created and turned into an actual problem by grouping and labeling humanity according to only one of the trillions of attributes and characteristics that comprise each unique, individual human being — and oddly, it’s not even an important characteristic. Can you imagine if they had decided to group us together according to our eye color, or our thumb circumference, or our shoe size instead? Grouping humanity according to skin tone is no less asinine. It serves no purpose — except to governments, politicians, and industries, because it makes us easier to divide and manipulate for various (rather obvious and nefarious) purposes. Such grouping by skin tone has never served humanity’s, or the individual person’s, best interests, however.
Besides, no two so-called “white” people are the same “color,” no two so-called “brown” people are the same “color,” and no two so-called “black” people are the same “color” either. No one can say where the “white” category ends and the “brown” category begins. No one. Neither can anyone determine where the “brown” category ends and the “black” category begins — and to be truthful, I have never actually seen a truly “white” or “black” human being. The truth is, that we are all “people of color.” All of us. We are all some shade of brown. Some lighter, some darker. Collectively, we human beings are all varying shades of the same smoothly gradient brown color palette or spectrum. We are all brown. Humanity’s ridiculous, senseless (almost childish) habit of grouping, categorizing, and then labeling people (regardless of the intent/motive) can sometimes be extremely problematic — and irritating. And it is usually very divisive, in the end.
Again, one’s skin “color,” or tone, or shade (however one chooses to term it) says nothing about who a person is — what they are made of — what they are capable of. People (of all races, ethnicities, cultures, and nationalities) who are fixated on “skin color” as a determiner of character, or as a basis for judging others, need to enlighten themselves. They need to evolve beyond the lunacy of placing importance on unimportant physical characteristics like a person’s skin tone, and just start treating their fellow human beings as they themselves would like to be treated — “according to the content of [that person’s] character” (in the words of my personal hero, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.). That alone, would solve a great number of our society’s problems.
When I served in the U.S. military, we literally never referred to one another’s skin color. To erase that potential mental divider from our minds, we said that we are all “green” (referring to the color of our camouflaged utilities, our t-shirts, our socks, our camo paint, and so many other items of our equipment back then). We referred to one another as “light green” and “dark green” Soldiers/Sailors/Airmen/Marines. It became an endearing and very unifying thing for us. I believe it helped everyone to see past our completely unimportant physical differences (that civilian society had taught us were somehow important), and view one other as equals — as brothers — as family. It was very unifying. We were all green. In that same spirit, maybe the rest of us can just be brown — “light brown” and “dark brown.” Maybe we civilians, too, can learn to overlook our unimportant differences and come to view one another as equals — as brothers and sisters — as family — as neighbors — as friends. It’s just a thought.
Finally, I offer the following for your further consideration:
Be kind to one another.
“I am here to challenge your comfortable and familiar perceptions and paradigms — to help awaken you — to make you think.” — AAJG