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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Acting Black

Yeah okay so that title just sort of makes me go hmm since it has been the bane of my existence. I have always been the color of milk chocolate. I was raised in a household with parents and a brother who were colored like me.

Then I went to school with kids from all different racial back grounds. My first crushes were on white boys and nothing has changed but the date.

In elementary school I ended up best friends with a Mexican girl and another Black girl both of whom lived near our school. I had to walk a mile to attend.

Moving to the preppier school closer to my house that last year in 6th grade would bring the first hint of trouble. Suddenly in a new place where people had known each other for years and as puberty erupted I felt vulnerable. No one was overly welcoming in terms of the kids I was left to make friends with.

I saw a girl who had come from my old school a year or so before me so I moved towards her and a couple of other odd ball misfits. These girls were all white which should have been a non issue.

Except of course for the Black girls that I had not sought out to interact with. Soon they were picking on me as only those who understood things like ashy skin, corn rows and kinky hair can.

Now I recognize it as a spiritual assault on a God given calling and assignment over my life. At the time I just saw it as a notice that being with people who looked like me would require group think. This said to me be aware and stay away.

“What’s wrong with you?”
“You don’t act black.”
“You must be an oreo.”

These are things I would hear in various forms over and over again.

How is a young person supposed to respond to their race when being told assimilate or be ostracized?

I opted for trying to put it out of my mind as much as possible. Finally when God sent me to a church with a Black pastor without asking me to change I began to have an epiphany.

God loves my quirks and that I do not ‘act black’. I am exactly how He wanted me to be from the very start in many ways. I am perfectly suited for the things He has called me to do.

As usual I need to use my voice and the platform it affords me to tell people where to go and what to do when they get there if they start criticizing me.

Being black cannot be reduced to a mentality or set of behaviors.

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