"True Colors" Reflection Essay

1119 words - 5 pages

In seventeen and a half minutes Diane Sawyer’s “True Colors” exposes the truth about skin color prejudice in America. She set out to answer this question, ‘How much difference does the color of your skin make in everyday life in America’. And the answer is quite shocking.
In this film, we meet John and Glenn, two well-educated, well-dressed, polite young men. They both were raised by middle class families in the Midwest, they both attended big ten colleges, work together and even play on the same softball team. For all intents and purposes, they are the same, they are equal. Two men, one and the same, with the exception of their skin color. John is white and Glenn is black.
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25). Clifford Alexander, an expert on social and economic consequences of race in America, who was interviewed for “True Colors” explains why the black salesmen ignored the black customer, but was happy to assist the white customer. Clifford stated “His life lesson is the same life lesson that the white salesmen got, this is a group of people, that for some reason, I should deal with differently”. Now we are not only talking about racism but discrimination among others with one’s own skin color. Shouldn’t there be some sort of comradely between two men who share what Bucher (2010) calls dimension of diversity or specific traits viewed as distinguishing one person or group from another (p.25). I find it hard to believe this kind of situation would ever exist. It’s as though the black salesman is a victim of assimilation, the process in which people lose their cultural differences and blend into the wider society (Bucher, 2010, p. 21), and became discriminatory towards his own people. To disregard someone because of their skin color is wrong. To disregard someone because of their skin color, the same skin color as your own, just because society tells you to? I don’t understand it.
The one case where Glenn did get a little extra attention was at the electronics store, and it wasn’t the good kind of attention. Instead of being asked if he was looking for anything or had any questions, instead of doing his job and being helpful, the salesman trailed him the entire time. Diane Sawyer brought up the question, who do we blame this kind of behavior on? Clifford Alexander replied “It isn’t a question of blaming the white person following; it’s a question of understanding why he follows”. I think he follows because, as a white man, it is in his culture. Bucher (2010) tells us culture is a way of life, learned, shared and transmitted from one generation to the next (p. 2). Culture includes language, rules, beliefs, values or things that people view as important or their general way of thinking, as well as material things. Bucher (2010) adds “As we internalize culture throughout our lives, it influences who we are, what we think, how we behave and how we evaluate our surroundings” (p. 2). No one is born a racist, it is learned. He...

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