This is a response to Prince Ea’s viral poem, ‘I’m not Black, You Are Not White.
Originally, I did not like nor agree with the message of this video, because of how impractical the message itself is.
In the video, there are different people who lip synch the poem, showing support of the message. Ea’s poem heavily describes the use of labels and how they should be rid of, because they artificially define us and stop us from being who we truly are. He claims that when we are born we are taught to be our race, (or in his case, Black) and that the labels make us who we are.
It then raises the question then ‘If you weren’t what society labels you, who would you be? White, Black Mexican, Asian, Middle Eastern, or Indian? No, we would all be one.’ Prince Ea’s philosophy is that these labels blind us from really seeing each other, and that is we let the artificially label define us, then we confine and divide ourselves. Therefore, conflict will start and these tags are the root of war and social/ economic problems.
Overall, I think the message and idea of the video/poem is completely impractical and unrealistic for these reasons;
The message of ‘labels defining us’ is only partially true. There are negative characteristics that can be put onto people, without their say, unfairly. Such as calling black people lazy or racially subordinate. Or calling Middle Easterners dirty or terrorists, or calling Spanish/Mexicans illegal immigrants and drug dealers. Those are labels that have been deep rooted in society, that are unfair to these groups. These aren’t labels that the people in these groups chose to have, they’re labels that have been given to them unjustly. They did not create these labels to separate themselves from everyone else.
On the other side of the argument, there are labels that aren’t detrimental to our identities. Even though in the video they claim ALL labels are unnecessary to us. Woman, for example. The term woman is commonly (and in history) to be referred as inferior to the man. Women have been struggling to close the gap between them, in terms of equality. Men earn more money, get more economic advantages and receive more respect than women. When you can finally be able to overcome these pressures of being a woman, you can become confident in the comfort of who you are… thus becoming a feminist.
A feminist is someone who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes, as said by Chimanda Ngozi Adichie a Nigerian feminist. Feminists, whether man or woman or any other social class, fight for equality amongst everyone. Many people from different walks of life call themselves feminists because they want equality among everyone.
A feminist is someone who wants justice among everyone and embraces everybody for who they are, no matter what they’re apart of. No matter what racial group, what sexuality, gender or anything else they might identify as. They don’t ignore people’s lifestyle, their ‘labels’ or anything else.
That is why the system they talk about labels is totally unrealistic. Many and plenty of people of proud of their labels. Being black or being called black isn’t a bad or negative thing to be called. For the record, I am proud of my blackness and I am proud of being a woman as well. I don’t know if that ‘defines’ me per se, but if I ever see another person like me wronged for being who they are, I will defend them. I won’t erase their identity because I understand them.
Because of this, I believe some labels are acceptable. Plenty of people are proud of their culture, proud of their way of life and don’t want to get rid of those things because ‘everyone is equal, so we shouldn’t have them’.
The problem isn’t that we are different, the problem is that we cannot accept each other's differences.
Don’t erase other’s individuality to be equal. You don’t need to do that to realize everyone is equal by stripping them of their labels. Religion, race and sex don’t separate us in society, it’s the ideas and stereotypes and warped philosophies about these groups. If everyone was stripped of their labels, no one would be unique or able to be named as anything. Imagine a world where you couldn’t express your ethnicity, religion or sexuality in a word or phrase. These words or phrases help explain who we are. Transgender, Black, Catholic or Muslim aren’t terms to be ashamed of. So why get rid of them?
In a perfect society in my eyes, everyone would be proud of their beliefs and races, because everyone can accept them. :)