I'm not White; I'm JoJo

This week's misused words are black and white as they are used to describe people.   I really don't like labels.  People are so much more than the labels we want to put on them.  God made individuals with various and wondrous complexities, not a bunch of stereotypes that fit a few predetermined molds. When I look at someone, I don't see the color of their skin, their gender, marital status or nationality.  I see a unique person with views, ideas, likes and dislikes, talents and hang-ups, strengths and weaknesses, needs and gifts all his own.  I see someone I might learn from, someone I might be of help to and someone I might connect with. From the time of my youth, people have looked at me and underestimated me, put me in boxes and were confused when I didn't quite fit.  Though I'm all of 5' nuthin', I am quite resourceful and have found ways to reach the unreachable star.  ;D  I also looked very young until recently when my children have noticed I'm getting very old. lol  Due to my lack of height and my child-like face and voice, most people thought I was quite young until I was well into my thirties.  While sitting on a bench outside the elementary school where my dd attended, a teacher asked me to go inside until my mommy arrived!  ROFL Looking at me, many decided the soft spoken, short, young girl they saw was weak and clueless.  While buying a used car, a much younger (and considerably taller) salesman actually patted me on the head!   Today, I'm rather independent and quite outgoing.  I never did quite fit in with my peers, especially as a young girl.  I was not your typical teenager and I am a fairly odd duck as a more mature adult.  I didn't vaccinate my son, I homeschool, work from home, am one of the only Christians in my extended family and I'm quite mad about purple.   Just about everything I own is purple.  I'm an odd, PURPLE duck. Having been misjudged so often in my life, based mostly on my outward appearance, I am conscious of the complexities of each of God's children.  So it really bothers me to put people into little boxes, especially on something so superficial and irrelevant as skin color.  And it often doesn't serve me or them to do so.  Here's what I mean. I can understand that if I'm going to be meeting you for the first time, you might want to know what I look like so you can recognize me.  So I guess I'd be the white woman with long, reddish hair and glasses wearing purple EVERYTHING!  ;D   However, if you think about it, the terms we use for skin color aren't really very descriptive at all.  I've never met a truly white person nor have I ever met a truly black person.  Most of us are shades of tan or brown.  I must admit, try as I might, my legs might be about the closest thing to white of any white person...except for the blue veins which would be much less obvious if my legs were a bit more tan or brown! I've heard some people with very dark brown skin complain about the term African American because their ancestors were not from Africa.  So that term isn't descriptive either. Another issue is how to report yourself if you happen to be of mixed race or ethnicity.  We were filling forms out for our daughter to enter college and had a hard time finding the box she fit into.  My husband was born in Mexico and I'm of Russian descent.  So I suppose our children are "Ruxican."  Curiously, there was no Ruxican box on the form.  lol  There really was no box for her to check that made sense.  If you were considering only her coloring, she is more white than not, though she is much more tan than I am.  If you are considering her Mexican side, she didn't have a category.  They did have an "Other than White," but she really is half white, so that didn't make sense. In 2000, the US Census Bureau had these races listed: White, Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, Some Other Race and Two or More Races.  Some Other Race includes Mexican, Puerto Rican or Cuban.  That sounds rather like an afterthought, doesn't it?  Some Other Race?  Your race isn't important enough to have a name...  ROFL I am so much more than my skin color, gender, age, shoe size or illness.  Aren't you?    Have you ever been at a hospital and heard the doctors and nurses talk about a patient as "the cancer case in room 27" or "the sprained ankle in bed 5?"  Referring to a person as the sum total of their illness sounds completely ridiculous.  Referring to people by the color of their skin is equally as ridiculous. I'm more than the lack of color in my skin, the lack of height in my stature, my insomnia or thyroid problem.  I'm much more than the sum total of my outward appearance (thankfully) as I age.  I'm silly, I'm full of fun, I love to sing, I don't like the smell of melted American cheese.  I'm a writer, a dreamer, a daughter of the Lord.  I have small feet and small hands, no torso to speak of and large thighs.  I'm a daughter and I'm a mother. I'm a friend and I'm a wife.  I'm a sister and an aunt and don't really like to dance. I am so much more than what you see and so are you.  I'm not white; I'm JoJo.  How about you? ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ JoJo Tabares holds a degree in Speech Communication, but it is her humorous approach to communication skills which has made her a highly sought-after Christian speaker and writer.  Her articles appear in homeschool publications, such as Homeschool Enrichment Magazine and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, which also endorses her Say What You Mean curricula, including Say What You Mean Defending the Faith.  You can also find JoJo on web sites such as Crosswalk.com and Dr.Laura.com.  For more information on communication FUNdamentals and Christian-based communication skills for the whole family, please visit http://www.ArtofEloquence.com


  • cindy holman

    So true JoJo! We are more than just our height and weight – and what we look like on the outside! I don’t see color either – I like to look at people and dig deep to get to know them – one of the things I love – one on one with people! If more people did this – less would judge. I’ve been judged too – I was always the ‘goody two shoes’ in junior high and high school – and it was terribly hard to live it down. Even today people will pat me on the head and say, ’you’re so naive’. Good grief. If I hear that one more time – I’ll scream. I’ve been through situations that would make their skin TURN a different color – and they think I’m naive!!

  • jojosblog

    I know what you mean, Becky Joie. I think so many people are judged for what folks see on the outside. I think mostly because it saves time. People are so busy these days that they don’t take the time to talk to their neighbors, friends, relatives… We don’t really know each other.

  • jojosblog

    Oooh! The People. I like that!

  • BeckyJoie

    So true, JoJo. I’ve been misjudged and under-estimated alot in my life too. The great thing though is that time makes up for it. People who never thought I would do or be anything are amazed at what God has done in me. They have said things like “you’ve changed” but really it is they who have changed and realized who I was. LOL. The thing is, I always tell the proverbial “geek” in teen years not to worry. They are left out now but later they will be looked up to. Geeks are the bosses and achievers in the world. Anyway…. good post.

  • Carla

    Oh, I so agree with you! In US History 1 yesterday, we were talking about the various Native American Tribes and the names they have been called and why. Know what the so-called Indians called themselves? Very simply. . . “the people.” Sounds good to me!

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