Race

not ‘black enough’ for some, ‘too black’ for others, i’m black and i’m proud

October 14, 2016

If I had a nickel for all of the times someone told me, praised me, bullied me, “paid” me the ultimate insult-wrapped-in-a-complement of, and/or accused me of:

By Jacqueline-Elizabeth, AFROPUNK Contributor*

“Talking like a white girl”,

“Acting like a white girl”,

“Sounding like a white girl”,

“Having a ‘white girl’ name”,

(Not being) “Like other BlackGirls”,

(Not being) “Black”,

(Not being) “Black enough”,

(Not being) “Thick enough to be a Black Girl”,

(Not being) “Thick enough for Black men to be attracted to”,

(Being an) “ ‘Angry Black Woman’ ”

(Being a) “White girl”,

(Being an) “Oreo”,

(Being an) “Uh-Oh Oreo”,

(Being the) “ ‘Token’ BlackGirl”,

(Being the) “ ‘I’m-not-racist-my-best-friend-is -(a)-Black(Girl)’” friend,

(Being the) “I’m-not racist-my child’s-mother/girlfriend/fiancée/wife”-is-(a)- Black(Girl)’ ” friend”

(Being able to) “Speak so well (for a BlackGirl)!”

(Being) “So articulate (for a BlackGirl)!”

(Being) “So intelligent (for a BlackGirl)!”,

(Being) “Cute (for a BlackGirl)!”,

(Being) “Really pretty (for a BlackGirl)!”,

(Being…)

Well. We’d be here all month were I to try and compile and complete this very incomplete list.

The point is, I’d take every last cent of my $525,600,000 million dollar payout, and donate it all to a cause for a greater good that neither race, nor gender, religion or creed, can ever divide, as we all stand, hand-in-hand, hearts united in solidarity as one, to struggle for, shed tears for, and proudly support one another in our hopes and dreams to achieve our one, common goal:

Buying Trump a decent lacefront.

I, too, Have A Dream, Dr. King.
I, too.

I’d probably have a lot more if I took into account the payout I’d received for every time I uncomfortably, reluctantly, or ignorantly replied “Thank you” to those who have ever called themselves “paying” me one of the aforementioned backhanded-compliments stemmed from the notion that the color of my skin was an indicator of my (often shocking) ability to properly conjugate a common verb, or my perceived ability to conduct myself in a socially acceptable (“white”) manner in total contrast to what they were expecting.

And I’ve lost count on how many people to this date think I’m joking when I tell them that not only was I born in Chicago, but I was raised on the Southside.

The funny thing is that the very first people to accuse me (and severely bully me for), of “being” and “acting” like a “white girl” were members of my own, Black family, and fellow classmates.

I never fit in; I wasn’t allowed to, either.

I “wasn’t Black”; I wasn’t allowed to be Black.

I was “born on the wrong side of the tracks”.

I was “adopted”.

I was “white” for my early dislike of rap and hip hop (still can’t stand Gangsta Rap, but love hip-hop), and felt ashamed of my love of Nirvana and Guns N Roses, or even admitting to finding Kurt Cobain hotter to me than any of the B2K squad (I still feel the same way. Fight me.)

My early-developed love of video games, anime, and manga didn’t help matters much either. BlackGirls “didn’t do things like that”, and I because I did, I was just trying to “act white” or “act Asian” (and I had my Black Card fully revoked I started dating white dudes and asian guys).

At eleven or twelve, I begged my Mother for a skateboard for Christmas, and so she scraped together the money to get me one.

The sad thing is, I eventually grew too ashamed to even use the thing anymore. This came from my cousins and classmates (especially my cousins and classmates) constantly bullying me for having a “white girl” hobby.

School was a living hell; from Kindergarten and upwards, through high school graduation and beyond.

However, nothing holds a candle to middle school. In sixth grade, I transferred to a very Pan-African school that taught me who I was as a young Black Woman (as opposed to cramming white history down my throat as per the course of nearly every, single school in America).

While the curriculum was absolutely enriching, there was a reason I had three suicide attempts in the two short years I was there.

I wasn’t bullied. I was tormented by the kids in my school for “talking like a white girl”, my “white girl” hobbies (reading as a hobby, apparently), my skinny body, and a constant target for some rather deplorable acts of cruelty you couldn’t fathom twelve and thirteen year olds capable of.

I was certainly no angel, but no child should find themselves standing in alone in bathroom with a bottle of stolen pills, and weighing suicide against having to spend one more terrifying hour sitting in a classroom wondering what little “joke” someone is going to play on you next, as they “tease” you over the way you talk, look, and start a “harmless” and untrue rumor that got your math tutor fired for being accused of molesting you, when not only was he innocent, but one of the few adults you trusted in the school to protect you instead of turning a blind eye to the bullying, but what does it matter now? A good man’s life was ruined, everyone hates and blames you for getting the “popular” girls responsible for starting said rumor suspended, and people leave you constant anonymous notes saying things like “kill yourself”–all the while never knowing just how close they came to having their wish come true.

When high school rolled around, I came within a hairsbreadth of almost flunking Freshman year at my first high school.

While a lot of it had to do with constantly moving around in the wake of my mother’s first aneurysm, the bullying had become so severe that I took to hiding myself religiously in a roped off section of the library just to avoid going to class.

Moving around to suburban areas helped, but I could never fully escape the “Oreo” label.

Sure, I fit in for the first time, but even in the suburbs, I was still a “white girl” to other Black People (especially after founding my high school’s Anime Club, and even then, I think people in general were surprised to see it had been a BlackGirl who had started the club), or had white friends who proclaimed to be “Blacker” than I was, and went from calling me an “Oreo” to an “Uh-Oh Oreo”.

Over time, I grew used to being the “token” Black Girl, and began feeling more comfortable and accepted around white people and non-Black people than I did my own.

That is, as long as I didn’t own my Blackness or act “too Black” for their tastes.

I could never let myself forget I was Black despite everyone else around me saying to the contrary.

Black People didn’t want me to own my Blackness; white people didn’t want me to own my Blackness. I had to learn how to proudly own my Blackness after being denied it for so long, while unlearning how to deny myself of the blessing it is to be Black.

I’ve always been Black; I’ve always been like other Black Girls.

I Am Like Other Black Girls. And I couldn’t be prouder.

There are still those who won’t let me own my Blackness, but to those people, I’ll just go right on ahead phrase this as articulately and eloquently in two words:

Bless you.

I’m owning my Blackness, and it’s with great pride that over the next few weeks, I will be featuring several, different Black Women, from family members, to friends, who had to deal with the stigma of never being “Black” enough to their families and friends, the positive and negative effects it had/has on their identities today, owning their Blackness, and being Like Other BlackGirls.

In the interim, and if you already haven’t, here is one of, if not the, smartest video you will ever see on the whole “Talking like a white person” nonsense:

#IAmLikeOtherBlackGirls
#ImJustLikeOtherBlackGirls
#ImLikeOtherBlackGirls
#LikeOtherBlackGirls

*Chicago-born and raised Androgynous AltModel and Pokemon Master, Jacqueline-Elizabeth (AKA Kurosune Suicide / JaxJax Attaxx of the SuicideGirls, and Cosplay Deviants) developed a lifelong love of reading and writing at ages two and three, scored her first big writing gig as Nerdy But Flirty’s first, Black writer, and was later recruited by the Jace Hall Show (now TwinGalaxiesLive!) as also not only their first Black writer, but their first female one as well.

Her interests include watching anime, cosplaying, modeling, reading manga, gaming, 420 shenanigans, surfing, increasing her number of tattoos, rainy days in bed journaling, and writing about anime, manga, and hentai for Jamie Broadnax’s site, BlackGirlNerds.com

Twitter: @jaxjaxattaxx
Instagram: @jaxjaxattaxx
Website: thetempest.co/author/jaxjax-attaxx/ Blog: http://blackgirlnerds.com/?s=Jaxjax

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