***This blog post while not vulgar may be offensive. Please know it was not written for offense, but for clarity and understanding. My intentions were not to harm, but to open up a discussion with a stating of my perspective***
Nix the bunnies and the cute and cuddly. I just want to talk about racism. It’s odd, but race in America, racism, racist comments, stereotypes, and all topics that intersect at multiculturalism are my favorite topics.
It is crazy to consider myself as a black person in a different context. At Georgia State, I never considered myself black, because black people were everywhere. Georgia State’s campus is an extremely diverse, but it was diverse within Downtown Atlanta. Downtown Atlanta where there are 3 HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities) within walking distance of the campus (Morehouse College, Spellman College, Clark Atlanta University). I knew I was black, but I was not aware of it. I was not aware of how it affected me because truthfully all I saw was black people. I saw black people of all shapes and sizes and personalities and nationalities and creativity. Diversity was celebrated and revered at Georgia State. Move 799 miles west into Houston, Texas. Where in the city it is still extremely diverse, but my life happens where there is a disparate majority of white people. I find myself becoming more aware of the fact that I am black and other people are white. And it is crazy. I feel like I have always known how to behave around white people at home, but now I am just like why should I have to behave around white people? Aren’t they just people…who are white?
I remember watching two documentaries in my Multicultural Issues in Psychology class (perspective changing to say the least), Skin Deep and The Color of Fear. A quick synopsis of both, Skin Deep brings several college students from across the nation, of different ethnicities races, and genders to discuss racism in both and interracial and intra-racial context; The Color of Fear is more focused, it bring 8 North American men (2 Caucasian, 2 African-American, 2 Latinos, 2 Asian Americans) into a community to discuss their race and the context they live in America. Both films slightly dated to the early ’90’s; both films still relevant almost twenty years later. I didn’t watch either and become hate-filled towards white people, though white people were ostracized in the film. I did realize that white people don’t often contemplate their whiteness. I am not going to blame white people in 2012 for the sins of white people decades ago and centuries ago. However, I am not going to be a fool and admit that modern-day racism does not exist.
Perhaps it is human or an American concept, but it seems to me that when a problem or a tension cannot be swiftly and effortlessly dealt with we push it down until a catastrophe occurs. I think racism is making a comeback. I think racism is already back. Racism is in our media, it is our marketing, it is (and always has) been in our government. And you know I think it is everyone’s fault. I know it is my fault. I recently discussed with my coworkers what my biggest flaw was and I blatantly said, “I am racist”. Unlike, the stereotypical “I hate (insert race here) people” racist, I am more, “I am a black person, and there are things black people do and there are things white people do. You do what you do and I will do what I will do. Respect my blackness, and I will respect you whiteness” Sadly, I am only like this with white people, and find myself completely accepting of Latin Americans, Asian Americans, Arab Americans, Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, and all other non-white people. While, my personal version of racism sounds cruel it is true. There are more habits that are more characteristic of black people and more habits characteristic of white people. It doesn’t make it not true or less racist if you don’t say it. Maybe it is just crass because I say it? But is it really crass or offensive to the listener? We often call foul-crudeness to something because it brushes us the wrong way.
Everyday I stay here and I am continually thinking, “I’m a black person. I am the minority. I wonder if any of these girls know any other black people? Am I the first black person they are meeting? Am I setting a good impression of black people?” Then, I acknowledge how much pressure I am putting on myself, but the thing is, I hate to think of that. Because it is rare, oh so very rare, that white people have to consider themselves a minority. I don’t blame them for that but it is the truth. I could be wrong, but it seems like most races accommodate to white culture. I feel like I have to trade in my race to survive sometimes. I don’t get to be the full extent of who I am because I am constantly warring with if who I fully am, and I if I will be accepted by people who are not like me. And it is so hard to communicate this to people in a manner that does not seem cruel or hateful.
I am not the way I am because I hate white people. You can interview a ton of black people who don’t think I am “black enough” and consider me to be “too white”. Whatever that means? Allow me to be self incriminating, up until the age of twenty years old, I was solely attracted to white men and my goal in life was to marry a white man and have cute mixed children and live in the ‘burbs. I wanted that so bad to be appealing to white men that I pushed back against the part of me that is Nigerian. I don’t hate white people. I love white people. There are so many white people who have been such amazing people. They are not good examples of white people they are just good people. All in all, I just don’t want to accommodate any race anymore. I am not going to stop asking question and bringing up my blackness. What people want to do subliminally, I will do bluntly.
Maybe, I am setting a bad impression of what black people are like to white people here. Maybe my racism runs deeper than I am letting on. Reigning supreme to my role as a black person -and all other roles I carry- I hold a title more dear and that is my role as a Christian. If there is any characteristic, behavior, or action that I take in from one role that does not line up with my role as a Christian, my other role is quickly amended to fit my role as a Christian
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139: 23-24). God you know my heart better than I know it. You know where my deepest pains, longings, joys, and temptations lie. You know where my intentions lie. However if my intentions and actions are insubordinate to Your will for my life, silence me. Silence these derogatory words out of my sinful mouth. Chastise me, O Lord. Allow Your Light to illuminate the root to this problem in my life. Allow Your Holy Word be a Sword to cut down this tree of sin. Allow Your Holy Spirit to be a shovel that ultimately uproots this root, and there in dwell. Dwell.
As I wind this rant down, and browse through my Facebook photos, I am grateful. I am grateful for the diversity I have experienced in my life. I am so grateful for it. I love seeing all nationalities and all colors and so many people. So many beautiful people. I am blessed to be a graduate of 13th Most Diverse University in the United States by the US News & World Report. College was a trip, and now that ride is over, but so much of who I am now is because of Georgia State. Wow.
……I told you I like to talk about race.