In answer to the Day 2 Question “How ____ Are You?”
How Black Are You?
I’m not black enough for black people, including my own family. They’ll call my house, hang up, call back and swear that they’ve just misdialed a white lady. Most of the time, I’m just black enough for white people. As a person who’s been interchangeably called mixed, high yellow, redbone, yellowbone, (what’s the difference there?), color of piss, mulatto, oreo, what have you, my level of blackness has always been up for public discussion. When I danced as a child at family gatherings, I was told that I didn’t have no rhythm. I refused to dance publicly for years. As a teenager when I busted my moves in the suburbs, I was high fived and complimented on my unique skills. Magically, I had danced like a black girl. It was a constant tug of war on how to preform in certain situations, whether I was holding back at school to protect myself from bullying, whether I was just chillin with my family in Houston, and whether it would ever be okay to just be myself. Then I wrote a poem about it, performed it in public a few times, and felt better about never being black enough. Now I’ve read my fair share of literature and blogs, listened to enough jazz and early hip hop, to drop knowledge on those who still try to enforce the idea that there’s only one way to be black.