I remember the first time I was told that black is an inauspicious color. We were in my fifth grade art class, and all of us were busy drawing fireworks in the night sky for a project on Diwali (festival of lights in India) when my art teacher stopped me and asked that I change the color of the sky from black to a very dark blue. It was because, she said, black brings evil and does not portray happiness.
I didn’t think of it much back then until I came across a similar situation when I was in middle school. By then, everyone knew what clothes they wanted to wear, how to flirt with boys, and who they wanted to be. You’d say I’m lying when I tell you that the judgments passed in middle schools are very similar to those by Regina George. The pretty, popular kids dressed up in bright, expensive clothes, the nerds were in cardigans, and the goths wore black. Once again, I saw black being compared to something society sees as unhappy, uncommon, or dark. Dark, as in, dark intentions. Consequently, if you’d wear black clothes and thick black eyeliner, you’d be one of those kids.
The more I ask about how people perceive the color black, the more there are reasons I hear of how black does not imitate well being.
The color black, I had learned, was a negative color in society. Whether it is on paper, clothes, or even your skin -- it is always perceived as skeptical.
And when the symbolism of material objects starts to reflect our perspective on human beings, these superstitions and nonsense traditions become a problem. It becomes a problem when people begin to demoralize the beauty of people of color or think suspiciously of them. Moreover, these silly beliefs, for example, in Indian society, have paved a way to justify racial discrimination. Many Indians believe that facing racism in foreign countries is normal, and they should be prepared for it. Now, this is just one example from one community. Still, if you look into the Hispanic community, the Asian community, or the Black community, you can see that not only are many people targeted by white privilege but they’ve been living under the impression that people will treat them differently.
As the Black Lives Matter protests have intensified, I have started to think of how it is not our responsibility as people of color to demand anything. Racial equality is not supposed to be commanded or asked for. It should be an obvious right. Segregation within humanity shouldn’t be the reason for conflict between people. It is not our responsibility to teach those who practice racism already. Rather, the past few months have taught me what to focus on—the type of people I want my children to be, how the future generation should absorb society, and the kind of path we need to pave. I am more concerned about changing the future and slightly less concerned about how to change the already developed minds of the radicals trying to justify their actions with ridiculous accusations against minorities.
Even though racial discrimination has been exposed worldwide through the past few months, we must remember that this fight has been fought for several hundred years ever since the initiation of slavery. Ever since, the white-privileged people have thought it is okay to depower people of color.
What makes a person racist is not what the news shows or what the people around them believe. It is what they think that draws the line. But it also doesn’t mean that the negative portrayals of different races and prejudices delivered publicly do not hinder a person’s judgment. Every sort of information open to the public is always twisted in a million ways. And when we need to choose sides at times like these, we look back at our values, we look back at what our parents have said, and to what our teachers have said. And when those values reflect outdated opinions and meaningless superstitions, the next generation follows in the same footsteps. Basically, it is not about how we can ultimately change the past and the people who believe in such backwards thoughts; I believe, it is our responsibility to focus on shaping ourselves to be better human beings and shedding light on the correct path for future generations.