Her Story: I Am Not Ashamed to Be Black

“You are literally the whitest black person I know.”

“You’re such an Oreo. Black on the outside, white on the inside.”

“If you can do so many accents how about trying a black one.”

“Only white people listen to that type of music.”

If you read each of those and were offended or surprised, welcome to my world. Each of these sentences have been spoken to me and some of them even more than once. If I had a dime for every time someone brought up the fact that I’m not an “average” black person (whatever that means…), I’d be rich!

From the time I was young I have lived a comfortable lifestyle in areas that lacked a strong minority population. This has led me to grow up talking a certain way, behaving a certain way, and having different interests than those who look like me. It wasn't until I got older that all of this even seemed to be a problem. People consistently point out the things that make me ME, and then use it to attack how I feel about being an African American. I AM NOT ASHAMED TO BE BLACK.

Let me repeat that again for those who choose to disagree. I am NOT ashamed to be black. In fact, I am proud of it and appreciate everything my race has provided me with. A different culture, trials and tribulations that only help me grow, and people who inspire me every day to be better and not settle for anything less than I deserve.

Black people before me fought and worked hard for me to live my life the way that I do. I don’t disregard our history, and if anything I admire it. So it really bothers me when people assume I don’t care about any of the current events and problems that people of color face, because I do. I may not have had many first hand experiences like some others, but I empathize and want to educate people just as much as any other black person.

We need to stop trying to push a certain stereotype on black people because just like any other race, we are all different. I have my own personality and interests that may not be considered a part of black culture, but I definitely still enjoy black culture as much as anyone else.   

Do I listen to pop punk and screamo music a majority of the time? Yes! But I’m also obsessed with SZA and political filled rap that makes me think. Do I watch shows like the Bachelor that lack diversity? Yes! But I also love Grownish and Dear White People because they both feature strong black female leads. Do I have a lot of friends that are of a different race than mine? Yes! But that doesn't mean I don’t love meeting other black people that I share a common interest with, and who I can share an open dialogue with without judgment.

If you read this article and felt that I was trying too hard to prove that I’m not ashamed to be black, you now understand why being different from what you “consider to be black” can be so difficult. Even though the month of February and Black History Month are over, please keep in mind that it’s always important to recognize how you treat people of color who look different than you or even just act different than you. Whether that’s being an ally in today’s society to black movements or being aware of any micro-agressions you may use against people you consider friends. Remember just because someone doesn't fit into a stereotype doesn't mean they enjoy your hidden criticism (or lack thereof).

GIF: 1

Image provided by the author 

Thumbnail Image: Hacker Photography (@khackerfoto)