On Sunday, Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Raven-Symone premiered on the OWN network. Raven made comments about being “tired of being labeled” and only being “American” instead of “African-American.” Oprah was shocked and even warned her that Twitter will be on fire after the interview aired and boy, was she right. If you haven’t seen the interview yet, here’s a clip.
At first, I had no opinion on it. I believe that Raven is entitled to classify herself any way she feels, even if it makes the public feel uncomfortable with her statement. That’s just her personal right. Yet with further thought and reflection, I began to think of the implications that “colorlessness” held.
First, let’s address the fact that American and “colorless”are not interchangeable. American is an ethnicity, and I guess “colorless” would constitute as a race.
In theory, refusing to see color may be what some believe to be a solution to racism. Why should we be worried with the color of skin, if after all, we all have a common color; the red blood that pumps through our veins. However, refusing to see color does not help to end racism. The reality is that we all have different colored skin. Instead, we should embrace the pigmentation of our skin and teach younger generations to be proud, no matter what skin tone. Being “colorless” strips away one’s identity and uniqueness. I, for example, love my brown skin that represents the two races I that am: white and black. I don’t want to be colorless. I’m brown and beautiful and here to stay!
What I and many others don’t want, however, is to be a victim of racism. But racism is born to discrimination and prejudice. Negative stereotypes associated with skin color is the problem! The topic is so heavy right now because of what is going on in Ferguson and other cases of unfair police brutality that might be occurring because of blatant racism. That is why I believe that Raven is getting so much backlash as well. The black community may feel betrayed that she ditched her race for what some may see as a fantasy view of the world. Being “colorless” is essentially turning your back on your community and essentially compromising your identity.
In my opinion, I don’t think anyone should hide behind the curtain of “colorlessness” for the ignorance of others. Continue to be who you are because at the end of the day, we all are different colors. That’s not where the problem lies though. I think we will be closer to ending racism when we all can love and respect each other despite the difference. Then, maybe Raven-Symone will feel comfortable calling herself African-American.