“Think for one minute of those who have loved you up into this day.”
“Looking outside my window; watching the birds soar the skies that marry the lake. I can almost hear their wings resist the wind scattering about their existence.”
“Why am I trying to become what I don’t want to be … when all I want is out there, waiting for me the minute I say I know who I am.”
I just not so long ago (really) read a short thought written by a very good friend of mine, in which she battles with a sense of racism. In this short piece of writing, she seems to be pegging her inherent characteristics to that which she feels is expected of her to have. Like a cage match between the underdog and the macho Arbeto the house has come to accept as the strongest. What I mean to say is, she has a hard time reconciling what she is to what she thinks she is supposed to be (at least how I understood it).
Now I would like to say up front, preference to certain characteristics instead of others is not racism. It seems obvious that the kind of things you like, do, think about, worry about, dislike and want are not things one would peg as ‘obvious’ traits to be expected, given your race(Black and Nigerian). What I fail to understand is how this somehow became a problem of yours. You say very clearly
So I’ve always felt kind of stuff in between. I don’t feel like I’m a good or accurate representation of my race or ethnicity, nor do I feel that I completely fit into the ones I have been surrounded by my whole adolescent life.
There are a few problems with this view. You have from the get go assumed that there is a standard, an accurate and unfiltered representation of your race and ethnicity. This then drives you to ask the age old ‘Is there something wrong with me?’ I have a problem with this view, what is it that defined the standard of being a Nigerian black woman? What law states that you are to follow such a standard? Whatever racial thought that lingers stems from a society that has stressed time and time again that one should and must adhere to a standard they cannot control, making it easier for them to categorize an entire group of people. An assumption that the color of your skin is equivalent to you joining a club and having to swear an oath never to break its invisible rule. These are lies that walk in the night of a fallen society, unable to see the dawn of multiculturalism. As I have know you so far you’re a woman that has lived in 3 countries full of cultural diversity, so why then must you expect to harbor traits from a specific culture? You are not inherently racist, you simply have a preference. You have black friends, you have white friends, you do not hate people but you do not condone certain characteristics. All I see is you creating a false problem.
But I realized some time ago that I don’t embody what one is “supposed” to see in a black woman. I’m not outwardly strong or extroverted (though I’m not shy either), I don’t give off the independent woman vibe and I certainly don’t have a good sense of style - or at least I don’t conform to what society calls “a good sense of style”.
One is not meant to see anything in a black woman except a black woman and whatever she wants one to see in her. Sure you’ve stated the various stereotypes attributed to women of color, but extroversion, strength and a sense of style are nothing more than traits to define a person, not a race.
So cheer up, you aren’t racist. And if by any chance you don’t feel ‘Black’, well I hate to tell you, you really cant do anything about that. A person is defined by what they do, not what they are, especially what they could not help. Be the a bit shy, quiet lame black woman lacking society’s sense of style that you are. Fuck the standards you think you have to meet and if you don’t like those standards in a friend then don’t make a friend with such standards. There’s a reason the term Acquaintance exists, it filters the people you really care about from the people you do not hate. This doesn’t make you racist, for if it does then I am one racist mother***er.