Letters to the Editor: How useful is ‘person of color’? Look at the experiences of Black Americans to understand the question. As we all know, many Black Americans have had, and continued to have, difficult experiences with the police, a disproportionate share of those being members of the Nation of Islam.
I was a member of the Nation of Islam with a friend that was beaten by a policeman one time. We were walking to the Temple when he was attacked, although it was an open confrontation. He beat the white officer as he was being forced to the ground, with my friend being on the ground attempting to defend, on the receiving end of a punch to the face, breaking his glasses.
As a member of the Nation of Islam, I was always taught the difference between whites and them. The white person is a predator, a rapist, or a criminal. But the Black person is an enemy of the white world. This was a simple explanation that was based on the experience of whites and Blacks.
I have a black friend and a white friend, both of whom I consider to be true friends. I am always asked questions about differences between my two friends and a lot of the time they are not fully understood.
I am also asked, “What is the difference between race and color?” I have to explain that the white race is a biological race that is based on an ancestral basis and not on physical characteristics, such as the color of the skin. The color of the skin is an individual’s physical characteristics. So, to say that you are black is to say that you have the genetic heritage that is associated with that color. The color of the skin is not a race.
For the record, I consider my friend, the white person, to be my “black friend.” Now that it is so clear in my mind that there is no difference between a race and a color, I can move on to talk more about the Black experience.
There are millions of Black people that live, work, and play in America. It is hard to tell them that they are all different, but it does become more difficult when race is introduced as a differentiator.
I think it makes a statement about the American society when race is called a “difference.” The black experience is complex.
But here are some things I can share that are