2007-12-22

You're not like the others



As you know I grew up in predominantly white neighborhoods all of my life. I know until middle school, I wasn't even fully aware of race. I knew I was black and the other kids were white, but it wasn't a bit topic of discussion aside from kids noticing my hair was different and my skin was brown, but the inside of my hands were white like them.

In middle school I became painfully aware of my blackness, ironically from four black girls. They told me I thought I was white, talked white, and I was an Oreo, black on the outside, white on the inside. By high school I had moved to another area, again predominantly white. That is when it really started. Questions about my background, why did I talk white? People's parents telling me I was acceptable because I came from good stock, rather I didn't live in the ghetto, speak ebonics, and my parents weren't on welfare like they thought all blacks did. I started making friends with white kids that would show what they learned at home about blacks from their parents. I would get the dreaded "Why can't more blacks be more like you?", "You're not like the others", and "When I talk about black people, I am not talking about you, you're different."


Uuuggggggghhhhhh those comments are the bane of my existence. I really hate these things, I hate these comments even more as I become older. I think what bothers me about these things is that:

1. People think that blacks are some homogeneous group that all thinks the same

2. Most the people who have said this to me have very little interaction with black people aside from what they see on MTV, BET, and the news. There perception of black comes from the media, which doesn't always paint the best picture of blacks (shocker I know).

So why do people think I am so different for a black person?

-People used to say the music I listened to. Hey I listened to Fishbone, Bad Brains, Michael Franti, they are all black, they just don't get airplay on black radio stations and they aren't R&B or hip hop, but they are very much in on the black music scene? Why aren't they considered "black music". I listen to old stuff too, just because I don't want to listen to R. Kelley make 5,000 songs about being in a closet, doesn't mean I don't like black music. I also listen to Three 6 Mafia, but I hide that, because as I should be, I am ashamed to let anyone know that I know all the lyrics to "M.E.M.P.H.I.S.", "F*ck Yall H*es" and "Mafia N*ggaz". Yeah they spelled it with a damn Z. Now you see why I am ashamed.

-The way I talk. I talk like me. I don't have a twang, or speak ebonics, and I guess that throws people off, of course I don't know a bunch of black people who speak ebonics either.

-I do white things, i.e. go to concerts, museums, try new restaurants, and read (yeah someone told me that). Sorry to disappoint, but what exactly do black people do that I am not aware of? I know many white people who don't like museums or trying new food (hell my husband is so picky with food, if it ain't deep fried or meat he won't eat it)

So why am I so different? I don't understand it.