Why do we call Band-Aids “flesh-colored” when theyaren’t the color of everyone’s flesh?
If a band-aid were the color of Native American or AfricanAmerican skin, would you still call it”flesh-colored?”
Consider this, you are “flesh-colored” and apply fora job. You are hired and welcomed aboard.You show up for work andare no longer “flesh-colored,” but Native American orAfrican American.
Would they still unconditionally accept you for the job?
White privilege refers to a level of comfort whites enjoy as themajority, which is not shared by the minority.
Although non-whites probably don’t care if band-aids comein different shades, the”one-size-fits-all-and-that-is-white” notion of skincolor is what bothers them.
I grew up on the south side of Chicago during the 1960s and therace riots.
Back then minorities were treated very poorly.
Although segregation in the North was less legalistic than theSouth, it was still very strict.
It was dangerous for a non-white man to make eye contact with awhite woman on the street. Whites frequently told racist jokes infront of minorities.
When entering a business in Chicago, a minority never greetedyou.
Any “front” position was reserved for whites, andminorities were hidden.
Therefore, I am disappointed when I hear young whites argueagainst affirmative action or the notion of white privilege.
I am tempted to tell them how as a child, I saw Chicago Policeon TV slam
African American protesters against the wall with fire hoses andbeat women with billy clubs – not far from my home. Or how weboycotted lettuce and grapes because migrant worker conditions wereso horrendous they died in the fields from DDT poisoning. Farmowners secretly buried the bodies, believing no one cared. I recallgoing to the Chicago American Indian Center with my mom and seeingwomen sift through donated piles of dirty clothing dumped on thefloor, or beg on the streets for food and money because they couldnot get work.
I feel the need to explain to them that recognizing whiteprivilege does not require any real action on the behalf ofwhites.
It is just a matter of adjusting our “lenses.”
Seeing people subjugated, laughed at and humiliated haunts you.It affected me deeply as a child, and it still does.
Whites never worry about skin color when applying for jobs, butminorities do.
Whites usually aren’t the only whites in a classroom, anddon’t worry that missing a lot of classes will reflectnegatively on their race.
Whites don’t feel out of place in America, but if theyweren’t white, they might. Minorities in America fought anddied to earn some very fundamental human rights, which we take forgranted.
So, the next time you put on a Band-Aid, consider how it wouldfeel if your skin were not white.
Although a lot has changed, the color of that Band-Aid is asymbol of what remains unchanged.
Also, try to be patient. Some wounds take a long time to heal nomatter what color of Band-Aid one chooses.