May 14, 2009

brb, have to go be black a minute

You know what?

Sometimes I just feel like being black and nothing else. Some days I don't feel like going out and fighting against religion or fighting for marriage equality, and when the two meet on the same ground? Ehhh. I'll see you guys.

Sometimes I just feel like being black.

For the longest time, thanks to my fancy book learnin' I was considered white by both my black & white associates. Despite my rather obvious skin color I was never black enough. I was a white girl. I listened to the wrong music, wore the wrong clothes, had the wrong hair even when it was permed flat. I was never enough of my own people. I didn't get to have a black identity until very recently I decided, indeed, I AM black.

I am not "/or African American/Caribbean" which I can never spell right on the first try (don't hit me) (why can't it be two Rs). I am black. I consider myself black. I don't really mind being called African American but it's not one or the other, it's BOTH. That's who I am.

I'm many other things, but I've come to realize, in the eyes of many, no matter what silly color I paint my nails or color my hair I will be black first and foremost. I will always know the latest Lil Wayne song or why Pacman Jones is still with the NFL. I will always be able to freestyle and I'll always have like 10 kids tucked away. I'll always be called by the wrong name despite having the simplest name in the English language you can get with 4 syllables.

Yes, I'll forever be black until I wither and die and I'm in the grave. Everything will more than likely be somehow connected to race until the day they put me in myd decorative urn (I like these, christmas gift?) and probably beyond that, even thanks to my choice of burial (cremation, although I'd rather just be thrown in a hammock and propped in the yard). Even where I take my final rest may be disputed--no dead negroes in white spaces right?

Indeed, I am black.


I also have other identities that tug away at that black identity. Being gay, for instance, is a no-no in black communities, being atheist even worse. At some point I felt truly eroded because of this, I couldn't even stand up for a cause that I knew would directly affect me because, well, what if someone knew? What if someone found out?

After some thought and a sort of label crisis I need to talk about later, I wondered, why do I feel so tugged at in different directions by my different identities. Why can't I uplift everything? Why does it have to be so hard? Why can't I just black MWF then everything else the rest of the week (except Sunday)? I still don't know. I don't feel tugged in so many different directions as much any more because I realized, I can do all three or however many I need to do, because I sort of have to or I might as well rally with the people that oppress me.

You don't see my inner identity. While we discussed Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man (which was farcical as many discussions in American Lit II were), that's the point I wanted to get at. I am invisible except for my blackness, you can't see whether I'm gay as a glittery rainbow unicorn with sunshine on the inside or what. I don't really have the luxury of so many identities for I am black and my fate's already written. I just wish it weren't so.

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