After reading this post, I thought I’d share a few of my experiences with the author. However, once it became obvious I was writing a novel, I decided I should probably post it on my blog.
THANK YOU!!!! Omg, you don’t know how many times I’ve been asked this question. I also get, oh is that a weave? Ummm, no! I’ve got freaking dreadlocks. I’ve always been in an odd position, I was the first black and/or African American to go to one of my schools. I got into a fight with a boy on my first day, luckily I kicked his ass, so nobody else tried to mess with me.
Over the years, I’ve had people ask to feel my hair, where I bought my eyes from (I have light honey brown eyes), how come I don’t talk like a black person, and what did your parents think when you brought home a white guy. The above experiences occurred with members of my peer group, those who were both African American and/or black (believe it or not, there is a difference between the terms). You see, I was too white for the black people and too black for the white people. Of course, not everyone acted like a dumb ass, but there were more than I needed to know.
I have ALWAYS been somewhat of a smart ass, so when the person asked me why I didn’t talk like a black person I said: OMG!! The doctors are right, I really am white. I just put on a fresh coat of black paint last night, has it worn off? To the black guy who ask where I bought my eyes, I replied: I went to Mother’s Womb, they feed you there and everything. I’ve given several answers to the what did my parents think about me dating a white guy question. I’ve said, as long as the man/woman treated me well, they didn’t care. I’ve said, they didn’t care. Just like they didn’t care when I dated the guy who immigrated from Taiwan, both of the African princes ( I know this sounds incredibly hoke, like some Nigerian email scam but it’s true), they guy who was Hispanic, or any of the white guys.
The more offensive experiences, were all at the hands of educators. My first grade teacher called me a Nigger everyday, until my mom’s boss picked me up from school and realized that something was rotten in Denmark. One of my middle school teacher asked me in front of the class, what did I want to be called. He then went on to list a number of offensive examples, to which I responded that my name would be just fine. In college, I had several racist professors. One of them asked me to tell my Sociology class what it was like to go to the “black church”, and to grow up in a household of multiple single mothers. He was really pissed when I said I never went to the “black church”, and that my parents were still married, and I’d lived where all the rich white people wanted to live. A different Sociology prof asked us to raise our hand when he said the name of our racial group He asked all the Afro’s to raise their hands, and he was really pissed when my hand didn’t go up. He called my name and asked why I hadn’t raised my hand; I told him that an Afro was a hairstyle from the seventies, not my racial group.
Just when I thought things couldn’t get more offensive, I went to meet with the department chair. He told me that I needed to act more subservient. I rather enjoyed the look of shock on his face when I said that was probably how slavery lasted so long. When I met with the woman in charge of dealing with discrimination for the university, she asked if the problem was occurring because I was having a difficult time understanding what he said, due to his accent. I laughed, then I told her that was NOT the problem, that I was getting an A in my Japanese class and it really was in a different language. I can look back at all of these experiences and laugh, but at the time they were very painful.
Btw, when people ask me what I am…I tell them I’m Creole–French, African, Native American and Irish….smdh
Kristin Booker would like everyone to stop asking her where her ancestors came from. It gets old when you get the same question every day:
“Where are you from?”
“Charleston, West Virginia.”
“No, I mean where are you FROM? What’s your racial background?”
“No, I mean which one of your parents is white/Asian/other? Because you can’t be ALL black.”
This is where the compulsive pedant in me rears its head and says something about how probably a sizable majority of African-Americans have some proportion of European ancestry, so “you can’t be ALL black” is a brainless thing to say. There’s a difference between genetics and cultural identification, and when Booker answers with, “I’m black,” she’s making a cultural identification based on the fact that all of her parents and grandparents make the same identification. I could go on talking about the one-drop rule and what…
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