In answer to the Day 14 Question “Have You Ever Been Asked To Speak For ALL Black People?”
When I was accepted into Medical School, I assumed it was because I was intelligent, had an impressive academic history, and clinical + research experience. When I arrived to orientation, I realized I was one of a select group of four specifically chosen black ambassadors. Our mission, to speak for the entire black race. They covered all their bases, both an east and west african, a west indian, and I was the prized black american. Although my parents are both Jamaicans, my kings county birth certificate and backstory meet all necessary criteria for American blackness. I was born in the hood (Bed sty) in a single parent household. All the stereotypes minus the prison time, drug addiction, STD, and unwanted pregnancy. The problem, four years of public education in one of the most diverse colleges in US, deluded me into believing my education allowed me to rise above my race/culture. I was smart/scientist, not black.
So naturally I rebelled. “I am not Martin Luther King,” I exclaimed, and “I ‘m not your black ambassador.”
I remember the moment my small group teacher tried to casually bring up the issue of race and medicine, to hear what we had to say about it, all while looking at me. Thankfully, my white classmates covered for me. They spoke up and dismissed the question.
Mostly, I have failed to live up to my schools expectation. I’m a slippery negro. Whenever the opportunity arises, I remain silent, maintain my heart rate at a resting rate, and pretend not have noticed the opportunity to interject an opinion. I remind myself every day, I can always run away to Africa, like my dad did 2005.
sometimes I hate being “black.” i wish I could just be a doctor, or a research assistant, or have any other job, than to help white people feel more comfortable about their position