Who Told You That You Were Different?

by Corey B. Buckner

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Who told you that you were different? Who first approached you with the notion that solely based on appearance you were an isolated embodiment of the human experience? Who told you that those who didn't share one specific characteristic with you, that being skin tone, were alien to you? Who taught you to look upon the cornucopia of human genotypes, and view the beautifully vast array of DNA compositions walking around and not see multiple variants of what you are, but instead to see something that you believe you aren't? Who turned human beings into binary code for you, as in nothing more than ones or zeros; with ones being those that share a single specific physical trait with you, skin color, and everyone else being zeroes? Who did that to you?

That brainwashing has uncomfortably stuck to you like the stick of a single strand of a spider's web that you've walked through face first on a hot and humid summer morning. Those lies that taught you humans are essentially multiple separate species born upon a hierarchy in which our appearance equates to compatibility. A wise man once said that man looks upon the outward appearance, but God judges what is inside. God of course, being wiser and more knowledgeable than man, is equipped with the understanding that our outward appearance has comparatively little to say about whether two people are "like" one another.

Pull two opaque cups out of the cupboard, one red and one blue, sit them on the counter and pour equal amounts of the grape juice into each. Then pull from the cupboard another red cup and another blue cup and sit them on the countertop as well. Pour into the second blue cup lemonade, and pour water into the second red cup. You would have a red cup of grape juice, a blue cup of grape juice, a red cup of water and a blue cup of lemonade. Tell me which two of those cups are most alike?

While some would say the two red cups or the two blue cups are most alike, others would say the two cups continuing the grape juice are most alike. This is because, in actuality, to get a definitive answer the question as asked would require additional information to be adequately answered. The most pertinent follow-up question to ask would of course be, "In which way are you asking that the cups are alike." If we are trying to match the cups to the decor of a kitchen, then we might be referring to their color. If we are serving drinks at a gathering, then the blue and red cups containing the grape juice are most alike. In these ways, something as simple and near-binary as cups containing liquid require some measure of deeper inquisition in order to determine their degrees of likeness. In every instance except those dealing strictly with appearance, you need to know more about what is inside each cup before you can make a final determination on which of the cups are most alike. Simply examining the exterior of those cups is not sufficient for providing an accurate response to the question as asked. No, in order to come to a final conclusion you need to, at minimum, examine what is inside each of them before making that determination.

Yet, someone has convinced you that the infinitely complex forms of matter and thought that are human beings can somehow be immediately classified as "like you" or "not like you" simply by looking upon the exterior. Someone has you convinced that the single most important factor in determining who should be included or excluded from your group on the basis of similarity is what you can see with your eyes from across the desk in a classroom or office. Our history as a country and as a species is rife with decisions, laws, and common practices that were made solely on the notion that people who look different from you are different from you. When this country excludes a person solely based upon what can be seen externally we are not excluding a black person or an Asian person or an Irishman; we are losing the contributions to humanity from brilliant doctors, scientists, engineers, programmers, inventors and more. When we exclude people on the basis of what is seen externally, even those who are responsible for those exclusions lose out on the medical, technical and intellectual advancements that rooms filled with brilliant minds of all backgrounds could produce for humanity.

Imagine suffering a heart attack and instead of seeing a doctor sitting next to you on the train you see a black man. Imagine suffering food shortages in your community and instead of seeing a farmer passing you on the road, you see an Irishman. Imagine struggling to solve a complex math equation that would again allow mankind to travel through The Van Allen Belt and instead of seeing a brilliant mathematician waiting to be interviewed, you see a woman. In each case, should your preconceived prejudices cause you to exclude these people simply based on what someone told you about what you see, you wouldn't only be robbing those individuals of the opportunity to practice their craft; you would also be depriving mankind, and yourself, of the work that their geniuses would produce. All because someone told you that they were different from you; and thus inferior to you, and I want to know who told you that?

Who told you that a white farmer and a white lawyer are more alike than a white lawyer and a black lawyer? Who told you that a black factory worker and a black sociologist are more alike than a black sociologist and an Asian sociologist? Who told you that? Who color-coded humanity for you and subsequently taught you to paint by the numbers when establishing your communities, workplaces and schools? Who told you that the most important determining factor that you have to consider when choosing neighbors, co-workers and spouses is the color of people's epidermis? Who turned humanity into an epic-level of gang warfare in which humans somehow wear our gang colors around our muscular systems and become warring factions at birth solely based upon the skin that was given to us?

Who told you that? Who told you that makes you different?

Who told you that embedded in our skintone is the whole of what makes us who we are? Who told you that mankind was a 6-billion piece jigsaw puzzle that must first be grouped and separated by color before we can begin solving it? Who was it that told you that multiple books of a single anthology series by a single author must be kept in separate sections of the library because their covers bear different colors? Who was it that told you that?

Who told you that humans bearing breasts were worth 8-tenths of the wages that humans with male genitalia receive? I bet it was the same people who told your ancestors that men and women who were adorned with darker skin were worth three-fifths of a vote and zero percent of the wages of a man with lighter skin. Imagine that. Imagine someone using lies about our appearance to manipulate both the people they lied on and the people that they lied to. Imagine having fewer paid job opportunities because you were told that a group of people who look different from you were placed here by God to do it for free. Imagine that. Imagine struggling to find a good paying job because you were convinced that the people who look different from you are different from you and the work that they are doing, which is worth billions in profits, is beneath you, so those other people should do it for little or nothing. Think about it and ask yourself, "who told you that?"

Imagine being single and alone, unmarried and unloved because someone told you that the person on the other side of town with different colored skin is not the same as you. Imagine two unhappily single people living within a few blocks of each other, seeing one another on a daily basis, returning to their empty homes alone every night because the thought of them being together was never even an option. Why? Because they were both told that the other of them was something different. So alone you sit, while the ones who told you that enjoy the lifetime of love that led them to repeatedly carry out the physical act of companionship that created you. But because they told you that you are one thing, and that the other person is another thing, and ne'er the two different things should be betwixt together; both of you sit at home alone. Despite overwhelming evidence that human combinations like the two of you absolutely can work, and that human copulations of your sort produce beautiful offspring the likes of this you cannot be made without your combination of humans; you stay alone because of what someone told you.

So I ask you one more time, who was it that told you that? Who was it that told you that people who do not share the same external physical description as you are not the same? Who was it that told you that? I'm sorry; I realize that I have wasted your time, for I have not asked you the question properly. Thus, in an effort not to belabor the point any further, I will attempt to ask you this question in a more accurate manner. The question that I should be asking of you is not, "who told you that?" The actual question that I should be asking is, "who lied to you?"

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