The black experience is not something that can simply be summed up into two pages. It would take pages upon pages of writing to even scratch the surface of the layers of complexity you must explore to explain what it’s like to be black to anyone who is not. Growing up, I often questioned where I stood on the picket fence between white and black? I’m not biracial, but for whatever reason being asked what I was mixed with or whether both my parents were black was no unusual occurrence for me. I’ve always known that I was black, but as a male of lighter complexion I sometimes felt that I was playing the role of the privileged within my own community, which left me in limbo for quite some time regarding my personal identity. The black experience for me has been a never ending internal battle of self, searching endlessly to discover who I am and what it means to me to be black in America. Either I felt black or not black enough, “down” or a “sellout”, essentially leading to 18 long years of yearning for this quality or approval that had been there all along. Best explained by critically acclaimed author and journalist, Ta-nehisi Coates, to be black is almost like being,“…Naked before the elements of the world…,” but by no accident, more so by policy forcing people (blacks), “…for centuries to live under fear.”
Being black comes with the social stigma that education isn’t for you, not to mention the expectation for you to excel at everything related to black culture; Basketball, track, dancing, and rapping at the lunch table. As well as being exploited for everything “cool” or “exotic” about you, with being black comes this unexplainable pressure to prove everyone wrong and honestly, I feel like we as a people work best...
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...uggle, I can say now more than ever I proudly identify as black. I’ve done away with feeling light skinned, partly black, or a different kind of black after realizing that blackness comes with diversity. Despite issues of colorism and self-hate perpetuated into the black community, it has been so important for me to realize that black is black. My black may not be your black, however our black is indeed shared. My black is beautiful behind all of the ugly that society may pin onto it. The black experience has affected me directly on a daily basis and has taught me to love not only my own blackness but also that of others. With blackness comes diversity, there is no cookie cutter definition of what it means to identify as black and I am finally growing to understand and accept that. I am me, I am black, I am proud. I am unique in my blackness, and I am okay with that.
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