Am I Black Enough For You?

This is probably going to be a highly controversial note, but it just needs to come out. I strongly encourage opinions and thoughts to be shared because that's how I roll. If you can't be respectful, then you know how I rolls on that too.

As you can see by my title, I have posed a question. I am not asking about myself, but in general..

Somewhere in time, there came this mentality that being Black was not just about race. Apparently, it is an experience, a burden, a joy, a pain, a wish, a steppingstone, an honor, a curse, an attitude..

..a dream..

..a nightmare..

..a mentality..

..a whole lot more than the box you check when you apply for a job.

This is why I am a bit curious. When did being Black become so much more than your race? Why is it now an all encompassing being? Is it really like that symbiote that took over Eddie that changed his very attitude?

All of this pondering stemmed from Sheila Johnson's little janky comments about Oprah's network not being Black enough. It opened up the larger can of worms that I've had for so long. Why is it one Black person's responsibility to entertain, enlighten and educate all of the other Blacks? Sheila created the monster that was BET, and now she wants Oprah's network to be more "Black".

How does a channel be more "Black"?

The comments under the article were scathing at best. People said "Oprah has been disconnected from the Black community for years" and "Oprah thinks she's too good for Black people so she caters to the rich Whites". These were other Black people who were attacking the unspoken motives of a member of our own race. But as someone who has watched Oprah and the shows that have spun off from her, I have learned so much. I have learned how to manage my finances, handle relationships and be positive when life seems to chuck one negative after the other.

Yet, Oprah is disconnected from Blacks. I, a Black woman, learned how to be a better person from her shows and articles. Yet, she is "better" than me because she doesn't have Quishika on her show trying to find her baby's pappy? Why is her message of self improvement not "Black" enough? Is there an unseen quota to be filled where you must have 25 Black guests or shows annually or else you aren't "Black" anymore? Sheila Johnson was better for selling her channel to Viacom and paving the way for the best Coonery in the country? According to the comments I read, yes. Why? Because Sheila helped pave the way for the channel that resurrected "The Game".

Sheila said that Oprah should "open up her circle a little more" and tap into the minority equivalents to Suze, Phil, Rachel and others. It's that same "stay Black or die" mentality that made people think Charlotte Bergman could win. If Sheila's ideals hold true, Black people are supposed to associate and deal with Black people as much as possible in order to stay true and uplift our Black race. Is Oprah supposed to renounce all White people because she doesn't want to offend us?

Hell no.

Sheila and the child she put up for adoption (BET) are examples of the insanity amongst our Black people. We are supposed to accept entertainment from Blacks regardless of the quality, and we should support it by any means. That's really funny to me. Mainly because Tyler Perry decided to make Black plays and films, just to be labeled gay and have his work attacked as being formulaic AND bootlegged by...Black people. It's also funny because Spike Lee's movies were too "deep" and "misogynistic" and Black people wanted to LAUGH instead of think all the time. Oh, and Lee Daniels had award winning success with "Precious" just for Black people to complain about the abuse in the film. Right there, I named three examples of Black filmmakers who were condemned by our own Black people. But hey, Sheila said we have to keep our circle open.

It appears to me, as if there is no pleasing some Black people. As sad as it seems, a lot of our people just rather be angry about things..even the ones that cannot be controlled. I have also caught wind of Black people being angry about the dramatic decline in "good Black men". However, if you ask some of these Black women what made a Black man "good", you would get a list that's three items away from Jesus. But these men are supposed to be that. In turn, Black women complain that other races of women are taking away the Black men. Who revived the law that said only Blacks can date or marry each other? It's probably the same bastard who wrote the law that said you have to "be" a certain way or you aren't "Black" enough.

Yeap. And it wasn't George Jefferson.

Another of many complaints is that Black people have to behave a certain way or they aren't trying to be Black. I have been teased about my "Corporate Voice". Referred to many as "The White Voice", it's the reason why I still have a job. It's the reason why MANY of you are gainfully employed. You know, it's the way you talk where you use proper English, no slang and govern yourself with maturity and sense. But some of our good people think it's selling out. It's also apparently "not Black" to get an education beyond high school, have friends of other races, move to a better quality of neighborhood and learn how to address people with respect. God forbid if you think you're BETTER than other Black people. What's wrong with attending an HBCU? Why did she have to go to Harvard? Why couldn't she stay in the hood? I guess she got enough money to move to the suburbs with her White neighbors. I'm not making any of this up...these are things I have heard straight from the mouths of Black people.

I have been teased over time for not being/acting Black enough. Attending White Station after transferring from Central wasn't a very "Black thing" to do. I don't really listen to a lot of rap, and at times, I am likely to play a random Zeppelin song. Oh my God, and relaxing my hair???? How much Blackness am I rinsing away when I do THAT?!?

It's CRAZY how it seems that you just can't seem to be Black enough in the eyes of many. As I teased the other day, some of our Black people should have more desire to fight for causes. Imagine how much better life would be for many if people would focus all the anger from the following into solving actual problems:

*Thinking people wanted to be White.

*Assuming that a light skinned person thought he/she was better than us Darkies.

*Rolling eyes when a Black person's circle is mostly non-Black.

*Calling people "Uncle Toms" for deciding to make positive changes in life.

*Watching BET.

*Coming up with new rules to gauge a person's Black Quotient.

I know a lot of those Super Black people will likely look at this blog and chuck me into a category of thinking I'm better than my other Black counterparts. We're supposed to be breaking stereotypes, but our actions and decisions are pushing things farther than ever. Yes, some of our good Black people do think highly of themselves. That's being elitist and not an attack on their race. All we have to do is stay Black (or whatever your race may be) and die. Stop trying to make mountains out of molehills. All that unity that was fought for before some of our parents were born is going to hell because Black people are doing a busload of infighting and side eying.

Just be yourself, be happy and go to sleep.



NDP said…
I have been thinking this for far too long. I have been tired of people saying that I acted and spoke white because I talk with the King's good English and use good manners 98.3% of the time. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten a shaking head when I'm blasting my John Mayer or Coldplay on my daily commute, or when I say Simon Baker and Paul Walker can get it (and not Weezy F. Baby).

And dang-nammit there is nothing wrong with me for wanting straight, perm-silky hair. Natural, nappy, locked or whatever ain't always healthy. Especially when you don't maintain it, when you let it start to develop an odor that others can barely stand while in the same room.

And yes,I do feel that sometimes, I've made better choices that some of "us." But it does not make me any better, nor does it make me less black. I embrace my culture, hell I volunteered at the NCRM today. How many of those negative negroes did that?

I've never looked down on anyone, other than to help them up! I only chastise out of love, because when you know better, you do better!

Ok. I've ranted enough, when I was just stopping by to say Kudos on mentioning the pink elephant in the room. And to pose a do we fix it?
Anonymous said…
I have never felt black enough and I have had people off the street smirk and laugh at my appearance. I am a light-skinned, black female with wavy brown hair. I don't look fully black and it seems that my mixed heritage offends other people, as if I had control over my ancestry. It's like I have denied my African descent, because I have French, Austrian, and Cherokee blood. I have been looked down upon by people of all races as a "mutt". But isn't everybody? No one is 100% of one thing. Then, why am I called "white" because my appearance isn't stereotypically "black"? Why can't black people come in all shades, shapes, and forms?

I am not ashamed that I am black, like others have assumed. I am proud to be me and I love how our people have been so strong overcoming the struggles we have had to overcome the past hundreds of years. But, my mixed heritage, the way I dress, the way I talk, the music I listen to seems to project the opposite to other people. It's very frustrating to have to watch every move that I make in order to satisfy other people, especially black people.

I have only confronted very few blacks who have felt the same way I do. Black people are already a minority and there are even fewer of us who feel the way we do. I'm sick of never being good enough. Can I just be me or is that to much to ask? Should I deny myself freedom of expression through my clothes and music because they aren't "black" enough? Can I be the proud black female that I am without striving with all my might to be "black" like everyone else wants me to be? If there is a solution for this problem let me know, because I'm tired of trying to fit the mold.
EarthWindFire82 said…
@ Anonymous

You said it best when you said "no one is 100% of one thing". It's sad that people cannot get beyond an exterior and learn about the person. We're more than a color, a size, a shape and it's a shame that society likes things to be a certain way.

A Tumblr follower posted..saying that when a White woman looks in the mirror, she sees a woman. When a Black woman looks in the mirror, she sees color because everyone else does. You are a kickass person because you're you. I don't have to even see or know you to know this. In my opinion, the beauty of being a Black Woman in America is the Freedom to Be. We have the Freedom to embrace ourselves inside and out and we don't have to answer to anyone about it.

I know it's hard because there is a laundry list of expectations and ideals about us as Black women, and we have to wonder who made these rules up in the first place. Why do I "listen to White Fokes music" or "talk White on the phone"?

Chile please. We come in a variety of varieties. Ain't no mold for all this here that we are. And when Society tries to put me in another mold, I elbow my way out of it...

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