Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My Thoughts on Racial Identity

Where do I even begin with this one?
I guess I’ll start with myself. I am a Black woman. I was raised by two Black parents and if anyone is to ask me my race, I will tell them I’m Black, every time. I am, however, mixed with many different other races. My maternal grandmother is a mix of many different European bloods and a drop of Native-American. Her husband was Black, Jamaican, and even a little Mongolian. My paternal grandmother is Black and Native-American. And my grandfather is Black, Native-American, and white. With all that said I’m obviously mixed. Most people assume that just looking at me. But first, foremost, last and always, I am a Black woman.
I think it’s crazy that I have to defend my Blackness in this society. Other Black people want to label me, call me mixed, say that I’m not Black, and I think that’s absolutely ridiculous. Why? Well I hope you don’t think your Black ass is pure. I don’t know if you all forgot about that long history of slavery, when they were raping African women and having babies and whatnot, not to mention the Native Americans who kept slaves or befriended and reproduced with them. Not that there is anything wrong with not being pure, but unless you can trace your entire lineage back to a hut in Africa, I’m going to need to take a seat near the rear of the class.
And even if you can prove that you’re pure, who the hell are you to tell someone whether or not they are Black? We can’t control who rapped who, who married who or any of that in our family tree. We just know who we are today. If we were walking around calling ourselves mixed or bi-racial then you’d act like we thought we were better than Black people. At least we’re proud of our heritage; the heritage that is usually the strongest branch on the tree. I love my Blackness more than anything and I’m not about to let any damn body tell me I’m not Black.
I find it funny that there’s always the talk that light-skinned people think they’re better or don’t have it as bad as darker people and that is sometimes true. However, the funny part is the people who think that, are usually the darker ones. I know I’ve never walked around thinking I was the shit because I was lighter or acted like my life should be easier because of my complexion. But I’ve had plenty of darker people tell me this. It’s far from true. Believe that.
I never try to separate myself from other Black people, dark or light. We are all the same. I mean, the beauty of Black people is that we come in so many different shades and colors. We are as diverse within our own race as humanity is as a whole. When I see a Black person, no matter their color, I acknowledge their Blackness. We are all equal. Besides, when other races look at us, they see us all as Black. During slavery (and still to this day at times), no matter your shade, you were still a nigger.
There is no escaping or controlling the racism we experience from other races. But the internalized oppression and self-hate that we inflict on one another is damaging beyond belief. Why would the white man have to waste time tearing us down when we do it ourselves?
I will leave you with this (I believe I’ve written this somewhere before) Black people are the most beautiful people in the world because no matter what you define as beautiful, there is a black person somewhere who will fit the description. From those with blonde, straight hair and blue eyes to those with thick curly hair and deep brown eyes, Black is beauty. Stop being so concerned with who qualifies and just embrace your brothers and sisters. Strength from within will help us stand and rise as a people.