When I saw a fb friend’s status as “Doppelgänger week on Facebook. Change your profile pic to someone famous you’ve been told you look like!” I thought it would be fun. So I immediatly changed my profile picture to this:
At first it was fun to see my other friends join in this little game. I told one of my colleages that I thought she resembled Pink, another person posted a Sean Connery picture. And then I saw my friend Joyce’s comment: “hmm.. out of the <5 asian american actresses that are out there, i look like none of them.” And then I saw my friend Gracee’s update when she joined in “alicia keys, my doppelganger? Or are we just two biracial chicks with white mama’s, a black daddy, braids & an afro puff?”
I started to think about how much I assume the world is about me, looks like me, and puts people who look like me on t.v., in magazines, on greeting cards, public service announcements, an endless list beginning to run through my mind. I started to feel so sad that the culture that I take for granted everyday is geared towards me as a white women and that too often I take it for granted. Moments like reading Gracee’s and Joyce’s update remind me that every single day I have the choice to use the power that is unfairly distributed for people who are marginalized because of the color of their skin. It uncomfortably reminded me of my white privledge. If you’re unfamiliar with this term or have no idea what I’m talking about- check out this article on white privilege.
I actually started to google “asian actresses” and “korean celebrities” to find someone who Joyce could use as her profile pic. It was a quick search. There wasn’t anyone, not just because of hair color or chin shape that there isn’t someone famous that she doesn’t resemble. There is simply no one to compare her to (partly because Joyce is beautiful, smart, funny in the best sort of quirky way, and wears a really sharp green vest that I always admire. She will be totally embarrassed that I said this in my blog) because most of the celebrities are women from my ethnic background.
If you’re wondering why I said “ethnic background” instead of white it’s because of a book I read a few years ago. As a white woman, I can either choose to be guilty about this unwarranted power I’ve been given culturally, try to pretend it really isn’t there and do nothing about it, or use this power on behalf of others. The book Being White by my friend Doug Schaupp deals with a lot of these issues & explores what it means to be white in a multi-ethnic world.
When was a time that you became aware your ethnicity? Can you remember a time where you realized that you were being treated better or worse because of your race?
This has been one of the things I’m most grateful to God for using InterVarsity; for teaching me the ways that scripture has so much to say about racism, social injustice, the beauty of God choosing to make himself known through the diversity of people, and the power of the gospel to break down barriers. Thanks be to God that justice and reconciliation are actually possible through Jesus- the one who broke down every dividing wall of hostility!