I am black. I may not talk how a “black person” talks. I may not walk how a “black person” walks. I may not have the skin tone a “black person” should have. But best believe, I am black.
For you, I am too dark to be white and I am too light to be black. This is not meant to be some sad pity on the life of a lightskin girl, this is you needing to understand who you are talking to and what you are saying.
To take away my identity is the most offensive things you can do. And yet you do it so effortlessly, I wonder if it even crosses your mind before it crosses your lips. To say, “You’re not actually black so it’s okay if I say nigga around you” or “You’re not actually black so you can’t actually play basketball, right?”- How demeaning. How dare you.
When I respond to the same things that I’m told six times a day from equally as many people, all I can say is, “Both my parents are black. But of course you wouldn’t know- that’s totally my bad.”
Though, I’d probably be better off keeping my mouth shut.
All you do is look at me and laugh. And laugh. And laugh. And laugh some more. The audacity to laugh in my face. But you don’t feel audacious, no. You feel comfortable- and herin lies the problem. Within your comfort you strip me of my own.
But of course we have gotten used to it because we have overcome and we will continue to overcome the naive minds of this world. It’s always we, but you forget that this we is ours– not yours. This is my we. This is not us, nor you and me.
This is not race specific or gender specific because this shaming comes from your friends, your family, the media. It does not stop. While growing up I never knew what box to check on the NJASK. I had questions for the questions I was being asked. Does the tone of your skin affect your race? Does it change who I am? Good question. No Answer. There is something profound at being so confused by something so simple while being so young.
Maybe if my hair was just a little bit nappier (urban dictionary will help you define that word) I would be accepted. Maybe if my elbows were a little less ashy (once again urban dictionary) I would be cool- aight. Maybe if I wasn’t living in the Dead Man’s Land of skin tones in my community then I could be the girl. But I’m the other girl, because you created sides that don’t exist. There is no one or the other. Not to me, at least. Not with my we.
Thoughts constantly flow throughout my mind. What if? What if I was actually black? What then? A friend of mine once told me that,
“They just will not ever get it. They can’t get it because they are too deeply seeded in their delusional belief of what a black person actually is like, and you don’t fit that criteria. So, to them you’re not actually black. You’re like an exception to the rule. You’re their friend. Not some black person.”
That conversation will stick with me. How will this affect you? Friends? I hope you’re listening, because I want to know. How will this affect you? Or should I say how will this affect the people you absentmindedly degrade? Or should I say will it only affect me? What should I say? Who should I be? What would you prefer?
Tell me who I am again. But do it knowingly. Create a standard. Lower me to it. Do all the things you always do and look me in the face, remind me of my color- of its excess and its lack thereof. Just remember, whether I be the black girl, the other black girl or just that black girl you met at a party, I will always be black.
Featured Photo: Angela Davis from Black Enterprise (Image:Getty)