Black Enough

As a biracial kid, in order to hang with the black kids I had to be even blacker. My light skin was a liability where to prove my qualifications for membership, I had to act blacker than the blackest kid. My dark skin required me to behave whiter than the whitest kid in order to belong amongst the white cliques.

So, I kind of understand the Rachel Dolezal situation. In order to belong in the social group she chose, she strongly adopted the culture and did whatever she could to belong.

1935818_605476453633_5614386_nDad is much darker than I. He’s on the left. I am on the right. He was raised to operate in middle class white culture, which is how he in turn raised me. Correct pronunciations. No Southern accent. Table manners. Social obligation. The power of clothing on impressions.

By a strict interpretation of my state’s former law, I have knowingly broken it by at times checking “White” on boxes with race. If I produced kids with a Caucasian woman who in turn produced kids with a Caucasian person, then my grandkids could then check the “White” box. I was making a point to society by arbitrarily alternating between checking Black and White boxes when forms forced me to pick just one. When I got a box that was Multi-Racial (and often Other), then I went with that option. I am happiest with the “Pick all that apply” style option.

For me, people should respect how I identify. Whatever I claim to be, respect my choice.


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