Martin Luther King Jr., Oprah Winfrey, Muhammad Ali
Graphics: UB Media Affairs and Publications Office
People call me black. They call me that because I have dark skin. Those are the people who are different from me when it comes to race and skin color.
Some people treat us differently. They think we – what they call the "black people" – are incompetent, inferior, or simply bad news. But just like any other races, a member’s adjective doesn’t necessarily apply to all the members of the entire race. Just because one person from a group did something unacceptable doesn't mean everyone will do the same, too. One person's misbehavior or wrongdoing should not define the behavior of his entire group.
I remember one time when I was waiting in a public vehicle and I got to sit next to a woman who does not have dark skin. She immediately moved to another seat. I'm not sure what she was thinking but that just made me feel that she did it because she got scared of me. I did not do anything bad to her. I just wanted to sit and I just have dark skin. There was also this one time at the mall – there were three seats and a woman was sitting on the first seat. Her bag was on the second and I happened to be sitting on the third since it was the only available seat there. She immediately got her bag, put it on her lap and hugged it tightly, in a very protective way. Now I did not have any bad intentions toward her or her bag, but doing what she did made me feel uncomfortable.
People call me black. But they were not born knowing that is what we should be called. They are taught to call us that.
I searched what the word black means and found out that it is associated with the following: dark, fear, evil, sorrow, grief. It is also often negatively used – blackmail, blacklist, black hole.
Whenever we are discriminated against, whenever we are singled out, we feel small, confined and detached. We have feelings, too. So I promised I would never look down on myself.
There are some people who don’t call me black. They are the ones who don’t see me as any different. They don't care what my skin color is or where I’m from. They treat me just like they treat their families and friends. Still, there are some who are disturbed by my color. But I am still proud of my color. Oprah. Muhammad Ali. Martin Luther King Jr. These are just few of the countless black people who have impacted – and continue to impact – significant changes in the world. One’s color should not define what he’s capable of and of what he’s not capable of.
Our skin color is just a color. It should not give us limits. It should not define us, who we are, or who we can and cannot be. Nor should it define what we can and cannot do. – Name Withheld