• BLACK LABEL •
“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Labels are great for knowing how to handle clothing. You may not want to mix your whites with your colors… or your delicates with your cottons. Not with humans though. I’ve always raised an eyebrow when someone refers to me as “African-American.” How come Caucasian Americans are not referred to by their ‘continent of ancestral origin’?
I’m a Brown-skinned American. Black American. I have yet to visit Africa and haven’t done 23andMe.com yet to know which specific countries all of my ancestors are from.
Labels seem to be for humans that need a justification or category to put you in so that they know how they want to treat you, stereotype you, or make false assumptions about who you are/how you should behave and what you’re into based off of something so arbitrary- ‘What We Look Like’.
It’s absolutely fucking exhausting not being Black enough for some.. and being too Black for others based on their notions that usually came from the biased media (entertainment/news).
Me however, I am a GOT-DAMN AMERICAN. Just like YOU.
I embrace ALL of my ancestors for each and every strand of DNA is responsible for every essence of me; from the top of my scalp to the bottom of my heel to the blood that bleeds red.- white and blue.
There’s no doubt that I have African Heritage, Africans who probably came to America by way of slaves. But to acknowledge that fact, I must acknowledge that some of my ancestors were also slave owners.
I was working an event with a bi-racial (Caucasian/Filipino) woman recently who had questions about my hair. I showed her a curl chart as I wanted to educate her curiosity and perhaps remove stigmas that Black hair isn’t normal.
Her response to all of that was, “Well you could wear your natural hair in Africa.” I asked, “Why do I have to be in Africa to wear my natural hair? I’m American.” She argued, “No, aren’t you African?” Historically speaking, my African and Caucasian ancestors have been here in America longer than her Filipino and Caucasian ancestors. Africa is a large continent with over 50 countries.
While I don’t think her intent was to be mean, her response and thinking is how most non-Black Americans feel about Black Americans. We are ‘Othered’ here for being the way we were made. We are told that our version of natural is unprofessional or ugly. Furthermore the ‘Afro’ is not a 70’s hairstyle when that’s how Black hair grows out of our skin regardless of the got-damn decade.
These views and comments have been normalized by institutions and the media for so long that even the kindest non-Black people, don’t realize they are still perpetuating that racism by having these flawed belief systems that put down Black people.
I asked the young lady what she meant by her statements and she said that, “Well in Africa more people look like you.” I corrected her ignorance calmly and advised her that America is my home and people here look like me too. But I do hope she realizes where her thinking comes from. Black Americans were beaten and enslaved into BUILDING America yet now our olive – darker skin and hair that grows towards the sun are treated as if they aren’t worthy of being equal in the place we know as HOME.
Fuck institutionalized racism. Fuck ignorance.
Hey, if we keep having interracial sex/love to fight these shitty systems and beliefs, one day the whole world could be BLACK (Brown). 🙂
While my skin color has made my experience on this planet unique… there’s so much beyond it that my skin color does not define.
Anyway… I like my Scotch Neat. Black Label.