Dark-Skinned Lives: An Observation of Adult Development. John Paul Sharp2
I am a writer, director, and performing artist living atop the Capitol Hillneighborhood in Seattle, Washington. For the purposes of furthering mylearning in human development, I reached out to friends, colleagues, andfamily with different backgrounds from my own. I asked them sixquestions exploring their views on their culture, family, and choices fortheir identity between late adolescence and early adulthood.I received two responses: one from my theatre colleague, a self-described
skinned American female (i.e., ‘Sally’),”
and one from my partner,who is also a dark-
skinned American male (i.e., ‘Sam’)
. Sally is a 43-year-old actor who led a relatively privileged childhood in both urban and ruralsettings along western America. Sam is a 40-year-old HIV testing counselorand grew up from a poor family in Texas and spent his early adulthood inKansas. While Sam identifies as black, his mother was Mexican and hisfather is Afro-Caribbean, from Puerto Rico.
Colorblindness vs. Multiculturalism
Almost defiantly so, neither Sam nor Sally seemed to attach themselves toany kind of Black culture as adults in their 40s, but noted it was somethingthey thought about often and seriously in their 20s and early 30s. They bothalso spoke of being a little lost during this time, engaging in risky behaviors or just not taking life seriously enough. Today, they are bothmore focused on career and family goals than ever before.It seems to me, from my own White American experience, that BlackAmericans, and minority groups in general, are grouped up andgeneralized more often than White Americans by education leaders,politicians, scientists, and the media which report their views. Could it beall this stereotyping has moved both Sally and Sam to a colorblind ideologyas adults?Some psychologists believe colorblindness is a form of racism and suggestmulticulturalism is better (Williams, 2011). For me, as a White American,