I am not b/Black. But when I step out into the world, I am Black.
As you read my writings about Race amongst humans, I feel you need to know what I think. I think race is stupid. The content of melanin in our skin is not a good basis for division, delusions of superiority, and discrimination. I find this mentality to be sorely outmoded at best. Sure, there are some health risk correlations such as diabetes and sickle cell anemia that are valuable to be able to predict. As these conditions still exist across the societal spectrum I do not think “race” as we hold to it holds value.
I take great umbrage at being called “Black”. I learned the color black when most did; as a child. I could point to my hair being black. As I aged my favorite color became black. The phrase “black as night” made sense because that time in the daily cycle was comparatively devoid of light. But when I looked in the mirror I was not black. Plus, black was so often a bad color. “Bad boys” wore black leather. Bad guys in movies were in black cloaks. Black was bad. I was not bad.
At some point, I learned that society viewed me as “Black” based on the color of my skin. I disagreed with the label. But everywhere I turned, everyone I could ask, I was Black. Other people who had my skin tone had pride. Led by James Brown and many others I learned to Say It Loud and share that pride. Not due just to the color of my skin, but the shared sorrow of a people who do not know their heritage. My history is lost. I can’t spin the globe to the Eastern Hemisphere and say “I can trace my family back to here.” The only ancestors I know are buried and otherwise interred here in the United States. I feel forced to look ahead because there is so little behind me.
Every now and again new descriptors emerged. I also disagree with being called “African-American”. I am not from Africa. Most of those of like skin tone I know have naught to do with Africa. I have known people who came from the African continent. I could accept that they were African American, failing knowing their country of origin. Perhaps even their children would be African-American as they could draw a powerful, distinct, and singular line of heritage back to Africa.
I don’t even like the catch all “People of Color”. Though, for once, it is a touch more accurate.
I don’t like ANY of these terms because it implies a difference that matters. At this point in the story of Humanity we are either all People or we aren’t. And if we are not all People, then that needs to be brought to the forefront, discussed frankly, and resolved definitively. If the color of my skin make me lesser than you, then we have problems to resolve. If we are all equal, we need to raise up the bottom so that no one suffers needlessly.
Per my norm, I digress.
I view myself as a creature of choice. I am a writer and gamer most assuredly. I am working to be an author, as it distinct from just being a writer in my mind. I am a good friend. I could be a better human. I know this and I work in that direction every minute of the day. I know who I am as I sit here and write. The simplicity makes me happier. It is part of why I stay in my shell so often.
When I step outside to walk a dog, drive somewhere, or even engage in conversation in a public forum online, I feel saddled with aspects I do not choose. I have to live and move through the world. While my self image is important, I have to admit to how the world views me as I interact with it. In sharing my thoughts about what goes on in the United States I have to take on being Black. Like much of this countries’ history, refusing to speak on it will bring no change. So I will wear my “public mantles” and I will speak.
I am called b/Black. I’m not black. I don’t want to be Black. I just want to be me.