February 4, 2013
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I decided earlier this year that I would start to take my crafts more seriously. One of the items on my list was my writing. That is why I am trying to take my blogging more seriously. To that end I have started following some writing blogs. One of the writing prompts that I received today came from The Daily Post as a weekly challenge. The the prompt was to write about something divisive. I immediately thought that I would write about something near and dear to my heart, “Race”.
As an American who is also Black, race is part of my daily life. Even when I am not actively thinking about race and the issues that come with it, it is a part of my day. People will interact with me based on their preconceptions. One of the easiest ways to categorize me, after gender, is by the color of my skin and the kink of my hair. And we all know that humans like to take the easy way. Hell, I do it too. I have preconceived notions based on a person’s skin and hair. I automatically assume that the peach colored chick with the sandy blonde silky tresses is not Black. I automatically assume that the dude with Dreadlocks and Mocha skin is Black. I would approach them with these notions in my head. I know that there is chance that I am wrong in both cases, for I have met Latinos who look black and Blacks who look White. I also know that “race” is a purely sociological and psychological construct invented to prove the superiority of Europe over the rest of the world. Yet, the talk of “race” does not offend me.
I am more offended by those who claim to be “color blind”. By you choosing to be an enlightened liberal, you are taking away my ability to speak my truth. You don’t see race, so how can you see me being followed around a store when I am doing nothing more than trying to find a way to spend my money? If you don’t see race, how can you see the inequality in education? How can you see that the media contributes to institutionalized racism? How can you even see the institutionalized racism? You are color blind so when I mention an injustice based on race you say I am throwing out the race card. This is not a game so why would I throw out a card? There have been books written about the color blind phenomenon. Most of them agree when Blacks say that something is racist, Whites deny it. But if the same topic is reviewed by another White person it is like a veil is lifted from the eyes of the others. I am not bitter just aware that this is my lot in life. I can either embrace race or try to pretend it does not exist.
I choose to embrace race. I define my race as Black American (sometimes Negro American). I am not African American. I am not dissing Africa or Africans because those are my “cousins”. It is just that I have never been to Africa. I have not spent a lot of time around the different varieties of people from Africa. I have a few friends on FB that are Naija or from S. Africa. I was raised in a family that stressed learning all of the history I am entitled to have. I know that I share history from the African Continent but my experience and life has been purely American. As such I would not feel right claiming something that is not totally mines. I claim America as my own because I am the perfect example of America. I an admixture of a few cultures, but I am most definitely Black. I am proud of the accomplishments of the Americans who look like me. I try to be good example of Americans who look like me. I am raising my children to be the best examples they can be. I am instilling in them a sense of pride for their brown skin and kinky hair. I let them know that they should be Black and Proud. I know I am. What else can I be.