All my life Black America has told me I am not black. White America has told me I am not white.
What am I?
White women have told me, “Date a black girl!” Black women have told me, “Date a black girl!” (just a different black girl than them…) I do not know why they are counseling me on this. I never ask. Perhaps I am afraid of the answer. Suspect it might be something like, “Well you know, because you’re both black and you will understand each other” or maybe “You aren’t really black; find someone that is okay with that.”
Maybe I am naive; maybe they know something I do not. Have you ever loved someone, only to be told you cannot be together because of the color of your skin? I have.
What makes telling, demanding, and pleading with me to date someone because of the color of his or her skin any different?
All my life I have sat on the shelves my “friends” have neatly put together. I sit there; I am to remain quiet of course, until someone looks at me. My master only then allows me to shine. Careful though — too much shine and I am turned around tucked behind other items proudly displayed, like feminism and climate change. You see that’s all I am to them, just a social resumé filler. Something to whip out when they are out looking for jobs, dates, other friends or just trying to impress.
All so they can say “I have a black friend.” Yes, to the girls I am such a liberal and noble cause. To the guys I am brave and complex.
No worries my friends, I am here for you. Always will be. I will be the badge on your chest as you march. I will be the Noun on your resume as you apply for a new social standing. And I will be your trophy that helps you secure someone you love — or to secure love of yourself.
I ask only one thing in return; tell me, why does Race matter?