Sunday, October 10, 2010

Back in Black

Trends come and go: skinny jeans, leg warmers, shoulder pads.  Even being ethnic has seen its trendy times: Lisa Bonet was more popular than Tempestt Bledsoe, Al B Sure got more girls than Keith Sweat. We moved to Tyson becoming the best dark chocolate on the scene. The black trend ceased when JLo, Mariah Carey and Salma Hyack rose to stardom or the introduction of Bollywood's popularity. 

Last night, I realized it is, yet again, trendy to be Black! I've been Black all my life, so I never realized when my skin tone was or wasn't popular.

Dinner last night was interesting.  It's always fun to dine with my girlfriend when she comes to town.  I covet her shoes and secretly plot to steal them off her feet. But that's a blog for another day.  Last night, her son declared he is no longer Caucasian and that he wished he was raised in a Black family. Um yeah, right kid. He even attempted to use the N-word referring to his bros.  This put me off guard.  After that exchange all I could think of is that this kid listens to too much Eminem. Here we go again with non-Blacks thinking it's cool as long as you come off as "down" to use the term. Hell-to-the-naw and if he uses it in the wrong presence, he will receive the brutal end of a nasty beat down. I asked his mom to have their good friend who is from a small town in East Texas where they probably just recently removed the segregation signs from public places to have a serious talk about what it really means to be Black.

We ended the night with her son insisting that he was Black. And I left it with "you are an honorary Black person".  Knowing this is just a trend, I am hopeful he will grow out of it and soon.  But this lead to me think what the constant distinction will do to his thinking.  I have a another very good friend that we jokingly said was Black on the inside.

I am used to being the token among my friends.  I was 1 of 2 Black kids (at least I think there was another) in my HS class. I was never in an all-Black situation (excluding my family) until the day my parents dropped me off at Tuskegee Institute. I have been accused of acting white, wanting to be white, sounding white - etc. etc. Although lately, I've been told I have a Texas accent (time to move). Sue me that I don't sound ignorant, country, uneducated. No, I'm not saying all Blacks sound ignorant the moment they open their mouths. I am saying that when I meet people face to face after having telephone conversations, their favorite line is "Oh, I didn't think you were Black".

I guess I will never understand why we have to lay claim to other ethnic backgrounds. I know that I am lucky to be Black, educated and employed - I'm not blind to that. But I don't wake up every day saying I wish I was Anglo or Latin or male.  I may wake up wishing I had curly hair - but that's what weave is for. Being a minority is never easy but I wouldn't trade it for another lifestyle.

Thank goodness for the few of us who are colorblind and see each other for who we are inside and not the tan we wear on the outside.


Cat said...

I've always wanted to see what it was like to be a guy *TEMPORARILY*. But no, I guess, I am happy with what I am. (Albeit, I do kinda wish I was in better shape, but hey, pushing the near middle 40's is hard work sometimes! And I am working on it...)

I wonder if the kid you mentioned is 'trying on' a new identity as a teen. I did some of that when I was in high school, although it was more living like a hippie, not picking a new ethnic group... But like you, perhaps a word to the wise is in order.


LaShaune said...

Cat - I think he's found a new friend different from what he's known in the past. When they moved to the small town, he was shuffled off to a boarding school outside of Austin so he adopted the 4H thinking. That was 3 years ago, he moved into a skateboarding and bmx biking, now he thinks he's Black.

So it is all a phase, but on a deeper level is disturbs me because he has no clue of what it means to truly be a minority.

I just hope this phase ends quickly and quietly.

to dream the KIMpossible dream said...

I think it's probably a little bit normal to wish you were someone different than who you are in some way, shape, or form. I think the problem comes into play when you start "acting" the role...or rather your perception of the role. Yep...that's just ignorant.