One day, two siblings chose to part ways. One wanted to discover new lands. The other wanted to stay in their homeland.
Years passed. The two siblings each had one child.
The child of the first sibling was named Noir. The child of the second sibling was named Blanc.
Noir and Blanc grew up without knowing each other. Travel wasn’t easy, nor was communication easy.
One day, driven by the desire to discover new places like their great great great grandparent, Blanc IV set out to travel.
Meanwhile, the great great great grandchild of Noir lived and thrived in their home, observing the many teachings that were passed down through generations.
When Blanc IV and Noir IV met, they were shocked by each other’s differences.
“Your hair is too soft. You look like a sheep,” Blanc IV commented.
“Your skin is too pale. You look like death itself,” Noir rejoined.
“My skin is normal. It is what everyone else looks like where I am from. And we make our houses from stone,” Blanc IV said.
“No. My skin is normal. Look around you, everyone here has black skin and black eyes. And we make our houses from whatever material we like,” Noir replied. “Why did you come here to criticize me? Who are you?”
“Well the material is not as good as stone. It looks like you don’t have the tools or the know-how to create the things we do,” Blanc IV replied. “And I’m not here to criticize you.”
Noir IV didn’t trust Blanc IV, but was completely unaccustomed to strangers presenting themselves in such a way. They were pretty rude, but they were also pretty new. Noir IV was especially curious. Having had visitors come and go throughout the years, there was always something new or valuable to learn.
“If you didn’t come here to criticize me, then what are you here for?”
Blanc IV shrugged.
“To share my knowledge with you. It looks like you need it.”
Noir IV nodded hesitantly. On the face of it, it was true. Everyone benefits from knowledge. Everyone can benefit from each other.
“You are welcomed to learn our knowledge too,” Noir IV replied.
And that’s how exchanges happened. That’s how they should’ve happened. But Blanc IV was never taught about his great great great grandparent’s sibling in the south. Or if Blanc IV was taught it, they certainly forgot it. And so, unfortunately, Blanc IV told all their children about an exotic and inferior race of peoples, whose skin was as black as obsidian and eyes as dark as night. In Blanc IV’s home, black became synonymous to all things bad and filthy.
In Noir IV’s home, white became synonymous to all things violent and hateful.
Time passed and Noir IV and Blanc IV passed these legacies down to their children, Noir and Blanc V.
Blanc V took his father’s message to heart, and began hurting his great great great grandparent’s sibling’s children. Siblings and their children shouldn’t fight each other, even if they live and look differently. But Blanc V didn’t know Noir V was his cousin from the south, so Blanc V continued to hurt Noir V and even taught his children to hate Noir V and their children.
Unfortunately, Blanc V’s children and Noir V’s children were robbed of ever being on good terms, without the abyss of bad history and hate between them. Even now, some of Blanc V’s children still believe the uninformed story that Blanc IV told Blanc V.
Noir V’s children are still recovering from centuries of hate, violence and discrimination.
Maybe one day far, far in the future, once all of Noir and Blanc’s children recognize the need for intentional, purposeful reconciliation, there will no longer be strife between cousins.
Forthcoming: Sexual History for Children…or Closed Minded Dummies
Of course, this story is far more complicated. But as the title suggests, it’s a very simplistic rendition, which can be explained to children, or to racist ‘dummies.’