Scott Shaw.com Be Positive

Racial Insensitivity

I was flipping channels last night and I came upon Saturday Night Fever. It’s currently in rotation on one of the major power movie platforms. Saturday Night Fever is one of those really good movies that though you may have seen it many times, you can watch a little bit of it here or there just for a moment of distraction. …At least I can.
 
As I started watching it, I had come in on one of the parts where the characters were throwing a lot of very racially derogatory statements. I looked over at my lady and said, “You could never make a movie like this today.”
 
That’s the thing, I think times have changed and at least the evolved of society have progressed. They no longer use racially derogatory terms like were commonly used just a few years back.
 
I know I’ve referenced this way too many times, but when I grew up, being the only white kid in my grammar school, every day of the week I was called, “Honky,” or “White Paddy,” That derogatory labeling didn't really bother me that much. I just felt it was a sign of the time. But, I guess, it got so bad that one of my teachers, an African-American lady, Mrs. Larson, told the class that they really needed to stop it. Most tried, some did not. But, that kind of racially explicit language went on everywhere at that point in history, on all sides of the spectrum.
 
Speaking of movies, I think to this very good Colin Farrell and Salma Hayek film, “Ask the Dust.” In it, Collin Farrell’s character directs a lot of racial insensitive comments towards her. Nearing the end of the film, he apologizes, saying in essence, that is just what he grew up hearing and that is how he learned how to behave. I believe that’s true with all of us. We learn what we learn from experience. And, from that, we mimic what we have heard and learned shaping how we treat and speak to and about others.
 
The thing is, we can each choose to be more than our programming. We can rise above how we were treated and what we learned from the way others behaved towards us and spoke to us. We can be more than our lessor counterparts and we can become more than our lessor self.
 
I am certain that all of us have made racial insensitive comments, whether knowingly or not, at some point in our life. I know I have heard them, in any number of languages, all across the globe. If an individual is not intentionally being racially insensitive, I guess we can forgive them. On the other hand, if they (if you) are saying those racist things intentionally, we need to separate ourselves from that person as we do not want to be defined by their unenlightened profiling.
 
Seeing a person for who they are, not what they are, is one of the greatest gifts you can give anyone. Allowing a person to Be and to Become not defined by what color of skin they were born into allows the all and the everyone to be a true and pure example of what they have to give to the world.
 
Don’t define or judge a person by what color of skin they wear. Define them by what they say and what they do.