If you are black, then odds are you’ve been told a version of; black people do *insert common thing here*, black people don’t do *insert uncommon thing here*. Here’s an example of what I mean, when I was a kid and I liked boybands that were white, I was told I must want to be white and I was racist against my own race.
I’ve grew up hearing those kinds of judgements and by the time I became an adult, I had a complex about whether my blackness was “enough.” For example, I have a pair of suede knee-high fall boots that I treat like a small child (I love them that much). I was told by my sister that that meant I was white. Now I suppose, one could ask:
well what if she’s just joking?
I could understand that line of thought if it wasn’t persistent and only ended there, but it didn’t.
This is more than boots and boybands, much more. We all know the one about if you speak “proper English” (technically no one speaks proper English and we all speak differently depending on surroundings) that you’re “being” white. I hated that shit and it was compounded by the fact that I had ignorant white friends in high school, who insisted I wasn’t “one of those black people” read: ghetto
In the past, I’ve written about struggles with my mental health as a black person, and that contributed to whether I was “black enough” to be accepted by family. I wondered why I couldn’t be as strong as black people were “supposed” to be, why couldn’t I just deal with my shit without talking to some white woman or needing a prescription pad?
It took time, but eventually, I started to accept my weirdness. The things I liked, or my mental health, didn’t rob me of my identity. It wasn’t until I became an adult that I realized there were tons of black kids from everywhere who experienced the same exact shit and it was super common. I thought maybe I should ignore those who insist there’s only one kind of black person as opposed to the polylithic we are.
Whether you like, boybands or Cardi B (or both), are a Code Switch master or not, watched College Hill or The Real World, we are a wide range of people. And you should be where ever you’re most comfortable!