The “I Don’t See Color” Story

Written by Gene.

Flash fiction is a literary genre the goal of which is to render an entire story with a limited word count. The word count varies according to literary group preferences. I choose 100 words to be my limit. The following is an effort at flash fiction from 2011.


THE ALLY

She had come to the meeting to support the cause – but now everyone was looking at her like she had crashed the party.

It’s because of that black woman, she thought, who had responded to her magnanimous contribution to the discussion with,

“If you don’t see my color, you don’t see me.”

Are Healthy Cross-racial Relationships Enough?

Written by Gene.

Phyllis and I were on our book tour and had been invited to do a reading at a private residence. This is a setting we enjoy for the intimacy it provides. Among the guests who were gathering in the living room was an African American woman who seemed restless and asked several times when the reading was going to begin. I thought, Great! We’ll have an active contributor to the discussion.

Phyllis introduced us and I read a story from our book. I had barely finished when the woman raised her hand to speak. With a tense but controlled voice she asked what we were doing about institutional racism. I said something about the necessity of forming healthy cross-racial relationships as a prerequisite to… but I was interrupted, and what followed was a torrent of passion that escalated into what felt like an attack. “You can take your book and get out of here,” she finally said. And the reading was over.

Urgh! Not White Privilege Again!

Written by Gene.

I went to my first race unity dialogue workshop back in the early 90’s, and that’s when I began to get some clarity about racism and how it related to me. The compelling statement I remember was: “Racial prejudice plus power equals racism.” The argument goes: If you’re white, you access power from a system that was created by and for white people, and, if you believe there’s nothing wrong with that, then you are racist. Okay. That’s logical. But, there was another concept, ‘white privilege’, I heard mentioned so frequently in videos and lectures that the message, for me, boiled down to this: Racism is sustained by white privilege. If you’re white, you’re privileged and therefore racist. (This was just my personal interpretation.)

Rocket Science

Written by Gene.

I remember hearing an African American lecturer state that racial prejudice will be eliminated over the breakfast table. The idea was that we needed to get to know each other, see each other’s humanity and embrace it. Years later I saw this man at another conference. I hurried over to him as he was entering the dinning area, and while he held the door for me, I said, “I remember what you expressed at a conference a while back about racial prejudice being eliminated over the breakfast table, and I just want you to know that since then Phyllis and I have talked to hundreds of folks over the breakfast table – and the lunch table and the dinner table – about the oneness of humanity and the need to eliminate racial prejudice. We’ve found it to be a major part of the work we have to do.”

Perception and Choice

Written by Gene.

Recently I watched the first episode of the reality series, “Black. White.” with some friends; we were evenly divided racially, four of us black, four of us white. The series lets us observe two families, one black, one white, that live together in a house for a short period of time to learn about how whites and blacks experience race in LA. (Check out the series here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0494185/ ) With the help of cosmetic makeovers, the participants head out into the community and experience being members of the other race.

Dots

Written by Gene.

Connecting the dots reminds me of those wonderful coloring books that include the mazes and dot-to-dot puzzles I loved so much when I was a kid. I’ve watched my seven-year old granddaughter sitting at the dining room table on weekend mornings, effortlessly joining numbered dots with assertive pencil strokes until a delightful image emerged—a clown holding an umbrella and dressed in baggy clothing and big floppy shoes. I've seen her finish this first stage of the drawing, put her pencil down, and gaze at the page in the book of brain teasers smiling, satisfied that she had cracked the code, unlocked the mystery, and given meaning to dozens of dots which only moments earlier appeared to be unrelated and possessed questionable shared purpose. Of course my granddaughter knew what their purpose was when she opened the coloring book.