February 26, 2010
We are reading so much in the news about problems between the police and "Black" people.
It's a shame that we have come to a time when it is not considered proper to refer to someone as "Coloured" and feel obliged to accommodate by calling someone "Black" when very few Negro people are really Black. They are people from deepest Africa and their skins are stunningly blue-black. I have only seen such people a couple of times in my life. "Black" is a political designation, not a reality. There are Dravidian people from India who are just as "black" as most Negro people. Their culture is totally different from those of Africa and the Caribbean.
The tragedy is that we judge people in groups rather than as individuals. Law enforcement in our part of the world needs a lot more training in people skills. Some Montreal police officers can hardly speak English, so it is easy to see why they would not have the awareness and understanding of people they see uniformly as "black".
Apart from the fact that there are good and bad people in all walks of life, people who have dark skins are as diverse as people who are Caucasian or Asian. African people from different countries can have very different cultural backgrounds and experiences. People from the Caribbean can be very different from Coloured people who have been American for more than a hundred years.
My beloved husband, born in 1902 in New York, considered himself proudly "Coloured" and he hated the term "Black". When he was young, "Black" was always followed by "bastard." It is about politics, not reality.
We are all too quick to judge people by appearance or by groups. Get to know a person before you decide. The trouble is that the police rarely get to know individuals. They just come on the scene and make snap judgements. And that is the beginning of tragedy.