Many times over the course of my 33 years on this Earth, my “Blackness” has been challenged! I know that I look like a woman of color, but in moments of conversation-turned-debate where my opponent no more facts to support themselves, I am stripped of my “Black Card.” Oh, Black Card, you invisible piece of fiction, you wondrous argument-ender and judger of all those who do not toe the acceptable line of what it means to be Black.
So the truth is: Our Black may not be the same. I was not born pre-Civil Rights. I was born of a Caucasian Mother. But my Father was darker than new asphalt, and I am a PROUD BLACK WOMAN. Does it bother you that I am 53.4% White (Thanks, 23&Me), but still able to feel Pride as though I have 100% African blood pulsing through me? Does it bother you that I have found a way to be ME, while still showing respect to the woman who bore me and rejoicing in the sense of pride I feels in my “Black Experience”? What is it that makes us want to thumb our noses at the idea that Diversity is the most basic of bricks that built this free world? Let me know if you know, but I am at a loss for words to describe the moments in life where my heritage is called into question. I cannot talk Black, I cannot walk Black, I will not explain how Black I am because my hair, my shape and my AWARENESS got the memo and my antagonists did not.
Oh, how lovely it would be to see more of my Father in my features, to bask in the glow that is chestnut skin and the scent of cocoa butter… But I am still Black. Black like Malcom X, Black like Condoleezza Rice, Black like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Black like President Barack Obama, Black like Trayvon Martin, Black like Nikki Giovanni, and Black like Cassie Rae Bailey.
Our stories will not mirror each other, our moments of weakness will not measure the same, our skin will not tan identically under the sun, but we will ALL still struggle at the hands of people who want our self-identification to fall under the same school of thought that only a brown paper bag could solve.
But you don’t hear me though…