Take a picture; it’ll last longer

The Olympic Games won’t be the only spectacle in Sochi. If you can’t afford a ticket to any of the events, you’re welcome to gawk at the black girl walking around Russia.

Yes, I am black. Racially speaking that is. Ethnically I’m Honduran and Cape Verdean, but my complexion would say otherwise. When I fill out government identification forms, I check that I’m African American because that’s what I’ve been taught to believe.

It’s easier to say I’m African American. It’s easier to categorize me as black then to break down the mechanics of my real identity because there’s no denying I have a dark complexion. I can call myself Hispanic, but still be classified as a dark-skinned Hispanic.

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People who say they don’t see color are lying to themselves. Our minds unconsciously pick out an individual’s physical traits and classify them into specific categories:

Curly hair = Hispanic

Big nose = Jewish

Dark skinned = Black

These are stereotypes. They come off as being offensive because they are, but it’s a way for us to identify people who look like us – people with whom we feel more comfortable.

We tend not to align ourselves with the other, when we can find solace in our own groups. That’s why if you were to travel to Miami, Fla., you would find neighborhoods like Little Havana where it’s predominantly a Cuban community, or Little Haiti for Haitian immigrants.

Tirade aside.

Being told I might get stared at because I’m darker than the fair-skinned Russian doesn’t affect me. I go to school in the Midwest. I have piercings and tattoos. I’m a woman. I’m already being stared at and judged on a constant basis.

So when my fair-skinned counterparts freak out about being mistreated because they are Americans, I’m like join the club.

Welcome to Prejudice. Your ancestors have been doing this for centuries. I know it’s hard, but take a cookie and relax.

Besides, I’m a dark-skinned American woman. I win.

 

BSU at the Games is a freelance news agency operated by 22 student journalists reporting from the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games through an immersive-learning program at Ball State University.

 

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