They all look alike…

Last night one of our hosts said “Do you think all Ugandan’s look alike?” I don’t, but even if I did I would never say that. Not at all P.C. She said “We think all Ethiopians look alike, don’t you?” Nope, we don’t. I mentioned that it was hard to tell if someone was from Japan or China or Korea and she replied back… “They all look alike too.” I told her, if someone said that in the States they would be considered culturally incompetent. It would be discriminatory. She looked at me like I was a crazy woman.
The other day at the airport, we were talking to a Canadian who was also flying to Uganda. She was describing a minister she works with there: “He is this tall, broad shouldered kind (and then she whispers -black-resume normal voice) man. Why did she whisper the word black? Why, when we talk about a black person do we hesitate when we use that word to describe them? It seems o.k to say Asian, or Hispanic, or Native American, but somehow, saying “black” seems wrong.
Is it because we are not sure if we should say” black” or “African American”? Does it have to do with the history of oppression of black people in the States?
I started to think about describing people. We always take for granted that they are white. Is that a type of white privilege I was thinking about the other day? So when we have to use color to describe someone we have to recognize this privilege again? Or is this only a problem I seem to have and everyone has total confidence in their race?
This maybe is too deep for an early morning with not enough sleep. I think I am going to head back to the coffee pot and ponder over something less complicated than race… maybe world peace…


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