Controversial Topics: Raven Symone and her OWN interview
Updated: Apr 19
So before I go digging really deep into this I’m going to give everyone a chance to watch the video and be able to see for themselves what Raven said this interview with Oprah and be able to build your own interpretation of it. So here’s the link to the video: http://youtu.be/QXAho8vlmAI
Now you’re all caught up…this could literally be a debate. I’m honestly open for one because what was said during the interview could be taken in so many different directions. People have very strong opinions about Raven after she decided she wanted to be “colorless” and “without a label.” Oh what a privilege it would be to truly live in this world and race not matter. However, it does.
On first glance when people see you they “pre-judge” you, and we call this prejudice. Everyone is prejudice and it is okay, so long as you do not act on your negative prejudice honestly we Gucci. When you act on negative prejudice hate crimes and terror groups such as the Ku Klux Klan (also known as the KKK) are created. So when we are judging people the first time we see them, we end up giving them a label. Labels are defined by Webster as,
“a piece of paper, cloth, or similar material that is attached to something to identify or describe it : a word or phrase that describes or identifies something or someone : a company that produces musical recordings.”
So in Lehman’s terms a label is something used to describe an object, material, music, or a person. Or you know a record label. We give people labels when we first see them. We assume so much about their lives when we label them. We may label them as homosexual, lesbian, heterosexual, Black, White, Spanish, and so on. Heck, sometimes on first glance you may try to label someone as Christian or Muslim or another religion. Be real, if you’re a college student and you see someone mid summer with a trench coat, you give them a negative label.
So my opinion on the whole Raven controversial colorless issue is I agree with her, but only to a limit. And no I do not agree with her on the colorless part, Yes race is a social construct. No there are no biological differences between a White person, Black person, Spanish person, or a person of any other race. However, do to the whole fact it is a social construct race does matter. If it didn’t there wouldn’t racially constructed institutions and of course racism, just blatant racism and the dehumanizing of people of color. So nah Raven, being colorless is just a dream.
On first glance people will look at me and label me. I would be labeled as a Black/ African-American young adult, college student, rebellious (because of my Afro. You know even though it’s 2014 the business world still isn’t progressive about it. Oh.), a Christian because people assume most Southern Black people are Christians. I mean I do live in the Bible belt. And for some who may know me, these labels may seem true, but as I have done research into my own self, and my family I’ve realized at least some of these labels are FALSE.
For starters, I’m technically, technically not African-American. I have not traced my roots back that far and I know I can find some in Africa because that’s where civilization itself all began, but from the research I’ve done I know some places for a fact I’m connected to. To throw a crazy fact in there, my last name is actually Scottish and my family on my father’s side claims the Scottish last name and some of the Scottish ties. My mother was not born here in America. Her birthplace is St. Vincent and the Grenadines located in the West Indies or the Caribbean sea. My father actually was born here in America, but his parents were not. His mother was born in Panama and his father was born in Jamaica and grew up in Canada for the most part. So technically my father is Caribbean American or West Indian American, and my mother..well she for a fact it West Indian America.
So am I technically African-American? …No. But when you look at me you would say I am. For the sake of filling out tests, people’s opinions (or assumed knowledge of my life) and the fact I don’t feel like explaining, I say I am African-American, but I would like not be labeled and people actually inquire about my heritage because it is really cool and interesting. Growing up I of course knew of Hip Hop and R&B, but I mostly grew up on Reggae, Calypso, Dancehall, and Soca. After I learned how to do the chicken noodle soup at school I learned how to whine with my other West Indian American friends. I was and still am spoken to in Patois every time I speak to my grandparents and my Nana used to speak to me in fluent Spanish (Yo hablo español un poco). I of course still have the same struggles as an African-American person. I’m brown, with kinky hair, a shapely body, born in Bed-Stuy, growing up down South, so I get all the issues and struggles. I’ve literally lived and breathed them. I still do.
Now imagine I take my Americanized behind to the West Indies to visit my cousins and the flack I would get because I’m so Americanized, but have West Indian parents.
Another label I do not take keenly to is the fact I’m rebellious. I guess I could be considered so because I question the system, but I’m taught to question everything in my major. Just because I choose to let my hair grow in its natural state does not mean I am any particular type of way. Hair is not a personality. It could have its own personality but it does not define me. Wearing it natural is just a choice I made about my hair. And I love it. It’s more manageable and versatile for me personally.
So really and truly the only thing I agree with Raven on is labels and how they kind of suck, but in a sense people label us on first glance without getting to know us. But honey I love being Black and I am pro-Black (not anti-White) and even just pro-People of Color because we all have similar struggles, but it is very obvious the Black man has a large target on his back and is not valued by this society. And I love our true non-people of color allies who listen to the struggle and aid in the fight to make things right. Love them. But sometimes labels are full of crap and hold a lot of negativity to them. Sometimes labels can be like a prison and lock you in and not let you out to be free and expand to do your own thing. Shoot, sometimes labels are like stereotypes…do I really need to explain that? You label a person, or she’s this so she probably does that…lies.
In conclusion, let’s not continue to separate ourselves with this new black and old black thing. Like I understand and I get it. I understand both sides. The “new blacks” think of a colorless world and that we’re all just humans. They want all the people of the world to band together and believe we are all one race, the human race and we must stand together to fight the good fight to make things better. And the “old blacks” believe we are who we are, and to say we’re colorless is like a slap in the face to our ancestors, so we must band together to fight the good fight to not have Black people or People of Color oppressed anymore.
Not really sure how I feel on all of it but I do get tired of us constantly separating ourselves into so many different groups. From a social stratification standpoint, all those people who are being held down and controlled by the system should band together and fight for humanity. They want you to ignore race and put the differences aside and see the common factor which is we aren’t in power and we should be.
Eh..it’s all complicated and stuff. So what are your thoughts on it all?
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