Tokenism: Is it just me?

The popular cartoon, South Park, is now in its 16th season on TV. Even though I watch the show infrequently, one character has always been brought up in my presence: Token.

The Token character is so named because he is the only regular black character on the program. Tokenism is making an effort to include at least one member of a minority into a predominantly majority-heavy area.

But what does that have to do with me? My dad is white and my mom is black, but out of 6 girls, I’m the only one that “looks black”. One day, someone told me at lunch: I didn’t hang out with other black people. “Hah! That’s ridiculous!” I laughed it off and looked around. It was true. I had friends from India, Alaskan villages, and white friends, but that’s when I first heard that I was the Token Black of my group

After that, I looked around a lot. Was I the only black person in this board meeting? Yes. On this broomball team? Yes. In this classroom? Well, not always. The point is that I was looking. Was I really color blind before?

I’m  categorizing people based purely on their skin color because of something that was brought up over lunch. But did I do it before? Perhaps unconsciously as a kid. And that’s what I want to find out with this blog. Children are natural sponges in this world. Is there a difference between what is taught outright, what is subliminally taught and what children understand by themselves? More importantly, are any of those options considered “good” or “bad”?

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