I ignored that the color of my skin was darker ,than most kids around me , up until the age of 16. My high-school was considered a “white school” and attending a white school for me was like having glow in the dark skin and all the lights were off. I wanted to stand out sure, but people there only knew me for my race. When I opened my mouth however, a calm charming voice rose and shook the very souls of the kids who had preconceived notions about me before I said a word.
I wasn’t your ordinary “black kid”. I grew up on the country side. I made mud pies. I rolled in the grass. I wasn’t aware of “gang violence” and death always laying at the back porch door. That wasn’t my life style. The only Projects I knew of were cut and paste or book reports on Martin Luther King. How many book reports would it take to convince everybody that racism didn’t exist and that everybody loved each other. Well kids are still writing reports til this day so I guess we may never know.
After graduating high school. I had a weird sense of style. I loved being tacky, and hated anything that associated me with black stereotypes. Air force ones, Jordan’s, those bulky race-car jackets, etc. I wore head bands, and light makeup, and ultimately adopted a vintage type style. I love dresses, that “Free People” type style. Not white tees, really tight jeans, whatever classifies black people.
I started realizing that although other races were more accepting of me, I couldn’t really fit in with black people. Because I’m not loud or obnoxious when making an entrance in most cases, I don’t normally associate myself with a lot of black people because I’m not alley or ghetto. I never have been and never will be. It’s funny because you’d think our people would be more welcoming (Not saying that other races love you and every-thing’s all dandy, that’s not the case) and understanding since we do share the same past right? WRONG. I suffer more racism from black people than I do anybody else. The only people I’ve ever heard use the N-word are in fact black people and it makes no sense that you demand respect but you can’t begin with yourself.
Why should anybody take you seriously, when you kill off your own brother with words, and slurs. When you’d rather “gang-bang” in the streets than get a serious education. You wait in line at the mall for those old Jordan’s, but you can’t wait and stand up for something that’s right, like mending our broken culture.
I don’t claim being AFRICAN-American because I’m not. I get offended when people talk about me being from Africa. I never stepped on African soil so how on earth am I African American. I’m just American. A brown American struggling to find a crevice to slide in so I can hide myself from all the negativity that parades around in black skin. Have you ever noticed that when you fill out a job application, or survey and it asks for your race there are always two bubbles: African American OR Black…I’m always relieved to know someone knows the difference between the two but then I wonder..What’s black exactly.
I love being different, but what’s the point of trying to be more than the stereotype when that’s all people will see at first glance. I don’t dress like the stereotype. I don’t be-friend the stereotype (No matter how stuck-up that makes me seem. I promise I’m nice as can be) and I most certainly don’t fit in the mold.
I’m too beautiful to be cast into the mold that’s defined blacks for years. Blacks are always the subject of something, and most recently it’s been the Trayvon Martin case. Why can’t we be the highlight of something more positive. We need more Oprah’s. More Tyler Perry’s (he’s actually started to highlight more negatives in the black race than anything) so maybe more Langston Hughes type men. We love a poet you know.
What do you think? Do you struggle with the color of your skin? Are you feeling over-shadowed by all the common black stereotypes? Do you want to be known for more than the color of your skin?
This is Part one of the Brown War