The First Stone Casted Was: Color

“Oreo”

“Whitewash”

“Whitey”

” You’re not black, you’re white, your skin is just confuse”

“Yup, I’m really white, I just have a great year round tan”

Those are phrases I’ve heard/hear plenty of times before.  The last one even indicates, how I have come to the habit of tagging myself with similar phrases.  This is something that has become apart of me. Something fortunately I’ve never had a true problem with. I’ve always held that prejudice into a positive light. I’ve somewhat always prided my self on being “white-like”. Because I COULD  and did ,easily and naturally assimilate with my white peers, I’ve never thought of myself as better than anyone else for doing so, just better off. Better off in the terms of attention(in school/community), in the terms of oppturnities and considerations.

I’m not like some/most black people. Not to stereotype, but I don’t like or take part in some of the common things that black people do. And before I get bombarded with the Sterotype Soapbox, let’s just cut the crap. Pos or Neg, there are common trends found amoung races. PERIOD. Since I break the stereotype, I in turn give everyone the benefit, of not assuming anything, based on color. 

Black people judge me on my level of “blackness”. I’m often judged, quite harshly I should mention, because of the way I carry myself. Because I don’t talk in slang, and broken English, because I don’t smoke weed, I’m not black. I listen to just about every musical form in existence, but because I perfer Rock or Pop or Alternative over Rap, or Hip Hop, I’m not black.  I hate how the word urban has become synomous with meaning “BLACK”. But I don’t like wearing “Urban” clothing. It’s just a style that isn’t for me, oh yeah that makes me, guess what… not black. Pretty smart and articulate and not afraid to use it, say it with me…NOT BLACK. I I know it’s silly; the idea of acting a racial color; acting white, acting black etc.  But on some level we have to realize that, white people and black people carry themselves differently. ‘ll admit the black community is getting better with this, it’s just moving way to slow. 

Similarlly I’m judged by white people on my level of “whiteness”. The difference, is that, once a non-white meets a certain level of white-ness, that person is deemed safe, harmless, and far more appraochable. (that statement in itself opens another can of worms, anywho) I’ve learned how to quickly make myelf, the most unthreatening black person. If my clothing doesn’t immediately put your mind to ease, my vernacular and the contexts of which I speak, usually does the job. I’ve found more acceptence, I guess with white people, at least once I’ve met the critera. It wasn’t wasn’t simple emulation to fit in. I’m from a county and school system that was predominatly black. It wasn’t until college, when I became a minority. I’ve been surround by black people all my life. Perhaps tha’ts it, I Rebelled against the “my norm”. But isn’t usually rebellion done on purpose, with purpose. What do you call it when it’s natural, or mostly inborne?

Oh yeah, and if I’m seen with a white female(even if that person is just a friend), I’m immediately written off by black females. I can tell by the way people look at me, the noses, the facial expressions, the whispers, I can feel the disdain, the lack of understanding. The negative engery radiates, strongly at times, but I try my best to just repel that. I would sometimes rather people call me names or something, but I get none of that. Atleast then I could put a face on it.

Why put so much engergy into negative outlets? Why do people judge so negatively?  Why are we so afraid of diversity? We accept it, but when do we truly embrace it? Generally I could care less about what people think. What bothers me is the reasoning behind the judging, the critiizing. It’s like: To be who I am, is to be wrong–But I’m not wrong. I’m right, because I’m me. I’m Happy being me, and honestly that’s all that matters.

I know the subject matter, is somewhat heavy, but please feel free to comment at freely as you would like. You cannot offend me, believe me. Secondly I value your opinions, and reflections.

Here comes the next stone…

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6 Responses

  1. Can I say “BLACK” on this blog?

    I’m sorry, I could not resist. I think I would like to hear what you think about ethnic labels, like “Black”, “African American”, “Caucasian”, etc. (BTW, I needed the spell checker for “caucasian”.

    Wow Justin, I didn’t realize how much and how differently you are getting judged by your own peers (white and black). I agree this is a heavy topic, but isn’t discussion what blogs are all about?

    I just have a couple of things to say. One, is that I’ve been listening a lot to public radio, NPR, WNYC here in the NYC area. I tend to just keep that station on and I like listening to all types of talk shows, including Tavis Smiley (I am not sure if I spelled his name correctly), and some others. He usually has current discussions pertaining to the Black (African American) communities in this country (USA), with a panel of popular personalities, pro and con for whatever they are talking about. I do like to hear the different opinions that come out; but what I really dislike about these shows (and other political talk shows) is that time ALWAYS runs out before any resolution can be attained. It leads me to believe that none can be gotten, at all… at least that is what I get from it all and it really bothers me.

    The second thing I wanted to say is that no matter how close I got with my Black friends at work, it never moved to a closer, personal level, meaning socializing after work, or even visiting each other’s homes… Oh, but one time I did go to a coworker’s baby shower at her home and I totally enjoyed it. Still, I have always felt “the line” between the races and I guess, I was too naive to be proactive about getting rid of it. What do you think of this “line” or do you think it’s just my imagination?

    Justin, I am glad that you refuse to give up who you are just to fit in with your peers. I am just sorry that they are so closed minded. It amounts to the same judgments they are receiving from white people. You would think that a persecuted people would be extra sensitive to that issue and take extra care not to inflict that pain on others, especially someone of their own race. Would this be the same as white people calling other white people “white trash”? I am also sorry that you must “assimilate” into white culture to be accepted. In a learning environment, you would think that a person would be appreciated for their abilities.

    Your story fascinates me because I have fought for my identity my whole life. I was a tomboy growing up and really kept that bearing throughout my life and I have found it to be totally beneficial to being self sufficient. However, when I find myself among the ladies, I find it difficult to carry on a conversation about “curtains”. Growing up, I was always told that I must ‘act like a lady’ and that I was too boyish. Then there was the “hair” issue. I loved long hair and refused to cut it. My mother always wanted me to cut it. She said that if I could not keep it nice, that I had to cut it… but she never thought to actually TEACH me how to keep it… another story… anyway, just before high school, she just about physically forced me to have it cut, mutilated just in time to start the new school. I spent the entire 4 years growing it back so that I could have my identity back.

    Rereading some of your post, and I really admire how you picked up on, and implemented the subtleties were needed for you to fit in. I could see myself doing stuff like that. Sorry if my comment does not really address your specific issues… I was also pretty sheltered among my own kind growing up. Then I had pretty good experiences from then on… except the time I got felt up on the train, my first working year after school… that was by a Black man who, I should mention, was well dressed and seemed pretty conservative up until then.

  2. DM,

    Of course you can say Black on my blog. LOL.. Thank you for taking the time to read the post. I could see the similarites between your Tomboyism and my White-ness.

    “I think I would like to hear what you think about ethnic labels, like “Black”, “African American”, “Caucasian”, etc. (BTW, I needed the spell checker for “caucasian”. –I’ll serve you up a post on this later. Should be fun.

    You bring up a great point about talk shows. They bring lot of issues up to the plate, but nothing is never done about them. Or I should say resolution is never an objective.

  3. Yes, I guess the whole point of some of those shows are to entertain. I guess I am not a very patient person and when I see people really working hard to analyze and work out a problem, I hate to see it all for naught. Maybe the whole point is just to get people talking… but all I HEAR is talk whether on the radio or politicians.

  4. This is a really good post, Justin. I’m on a multicultural committee at work, we try to find talks, events, etc. for groups that may not be represented at my institution. We’ve had a fascinating talk by a researcher on the laws in Virginia in the thirties. Only Caucasians and Native Indians were allowed to marry and vote without problems then, so the State Registrar compiled a list of people’s surnames and sent them to various county registrars. He said that people with on that county’s list were “claiming” to be Indians but they were really “Colored” and not to let them claim that status to vote or to marry any white people. The researcher (whose family was on the list) said there was no real rhyme or reason to the list. People in adjourning counties with the same name weren’t labelled “colored” and vice versa. A scary example of labels….

    I’ve read about lawsuits involving a lighter-skinned person vs. a darker-skinned person so I’m aware of the judgments made by people within their own ethnic groups. I’m so sorry that you are treated badly based on your language, education, and who you are friends with — but as my mother would say, “do you really care what people like that think about?”

    I’m afraid it’s easier these days to be negative about people, places or situations than it is to be positive. The popular media loves to tear down people for entertainment purposes. And, to be fair, entertainment doesn’t really allow for diversity — it has to be labelled with very little nuances anymore.

    Great post!

  5. Dear Justin,
    A day late( or two years) but I ran across this post and it resonated with me. Especially, ” Black people judge me on my level of “blackness”. I’m often judged, quite harshly I should mention, because of the way I carry myself. ”

    It seems there’s been some black on black crime. At any rate, excellent post, and I shall continue reading your blog.

    Signed,
    Patrique

  6. Patrique,

    Thanks for stopping by the blog. I think some of my eariler post are more personal more profound. I often find my voice here only to lose it later.

    I’ll be checking out your blog as well..

    justin

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