Wednesday, January 28, 2009

On Being Black

I was asked some very thought-filled questions yesterday. It's nice knowing that in blog land, there is a place where we can question, answer and just be ourselves. So goes!!

****Do you prefer, woman of color, black, or African American?
I don't make an issue of how I'm referred. I call myself either Black or African American. When I was a kid, I couldn't understand why we were called Black because frankly, anyone can see that I'm brown. I don't necessarily like the term woman of color because being the artistic person that I am, I envision a woman with various color (sorta like a crayon box) walking around. Frankly, we're all women of color unless you know of anyone that is clear.

****Even though we elected the first black president, do you feel prejudice is alive and well in the US?
I believe racism will always exist in some form. My hope is that with having a Black president, there will be more of an understanding and respect of Black people. The stereotypes contribute to the misconceptions of Black people. I can't tell you how many times I've had people comment that I "talk white" or that I'm "very articulate". It's almost as if there is a sense of shock that "we" don't all speak the same. I was raised with the awareness that not everyone would be accepting of me because of the color of my skin but they don't determine who I am or who I will be. I am tickled to death to see Barack and Michelle's little girls growing up in the White House. Just seeing that brings a smile on my face to know that years and years ago, that wouldn't have been a possibility. So, I believe that as a result of his Presidency, there is an awakening and acceptance happening.

How close are we to being judged by the content of our charactor as opposed to the color of skin?
****I hope we're very close. Years ago, as I was getting ready to enter into a book store, a White lady tripped over the parking block and fell. I rushed to help her up and find out if she was okay. Her son basically called me the N word and told me not to touch her. I walked away with tears in my eyes. It hurt to the core because a part of me is to help and reach out. I never imagined that the color of my skin would be a reason to deny me the opportunity to help. But, that was then and this is now and we can only continue to look for ways to make it better for our kids and their futures.

****Do you feel you have been treated in the work force on a level playing field?
I have been blessed to work at a huge variety of jobs. I have dealt with racism at two of the places of employment. The last job was at an elementary school, as a secretary/office manager. The town that I worked was very racist and non-accepting. I always felt like I was being forced out of the position. That soon became true when money turned up missing from the safe and the first person that was accused was me. Weeks later, the money was found in a cupboard, randomly placed there. Not once was I given an apology. My character was slammed and I couldn't walk in the office without feeling like I didn't belong. After I quit there, I felt a huge sense of relief.

****I heard that black people prefer other blacks with lighter skin.. urban legend?
It's sad but true in some cases. I have dated guys of various shades. It just so happens that my Boo is very fair skinned with green eyes. But, my dad was also mistaken as white because he was very fair skinned with hazel eyes. Yet, my mom is a darker shade of brown and gorgeous!

My ex's mom was totally against him marrying anyone dark because she didn't want "dark" grandbabies. It was sickening to hear her go on and on about how "light" my daughters were when they were born. But, for her, she was brought up to believe that the lighter you were, the more advantages were given. That belief has changed quite a bit. Yes, there is still Black on black racism, in regards to the shade of our skin but there is more appreciation for the beauty and hues that we are. We are like a huge crayon box filled with different hues of brown. I love it!

I will answer more questions tomorrow so feel free to ask any more that you may have.


Sandi said...

These were fantastic to read. I am always wanting to learn more. Keep this going, I love it!

♥georgie♥ said...

this was one of the BEST q&a's I have ever read!!!
Bravo to you!

McEwens said...

Thanks for answering these! Love the reply to being a woman of color!

How do we, as a nation, continue to move forward and eradicate prejudice? I mean it, honestly, after all these years why can we not treat each other with kindness?

You have been through a lot. Are things better for your kids, than you?

Thanks again, great answers!

jill jill bo bill said...

I am so amazed at people's ignorance regarding the lady who fell. This entire idea was SUPER. I just want to know how common is "reverse racism" where you live? And reading about your "articulation" makes me think, does it drive you nutty to hear the younger generation talk in their lingo? I worked at the hospital with a lot of young black girls and the older black women were ALWAYS on their case about "talking ebonic". They hated it.

Veronica Lee said...

I'm yellow! My racist Chinese friends call me a 'banana person' 'cos I can't read or write Chinese. White on the inside, yellow on the outside, get it? I kinda hate this whole 'colour' thing.

mberenis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Danica Lynn said...

It was so nice to read your responses to these questions. Thank you for being so open.

LW's mom is a teacher and she is very very fair skinned, almost white, and she said one time her kids freaked out when they learned she was really an African American. They didn't believe her and like she explained... African American's come in different shades of brown just as caucasians come in different shades of white.

travel girl said...

Babygirl1 is married to a black man. Before the wedding, my favorite big brother who is married to my least favorite sister in law asked me "How do you feel about *that*".

I responded "about what? if you are referring to the color of his skin and how I feel about it, I think he is lucky that he doesn't have to bake his ass off every summer for a tan."

Bren's Life said...

Hi! I am here from McEwens. Love her! My husband & I adopted 2 black girls. We got Charly at 3 months & Allie from the hosp at birth. We were their foster parents until the adoption was final.
They are OURS. Heart-Spirit-Soul ours, I was not able to carry them in my stomach but I carried them in my heart. And we love them just as much as our 2 white adopted boys.

But we have had comments & looks. From both the black community & white. Charly who is going to be 5 this month. See's the difference in our colors. And at times seems shy towards making friends with kids. This really really concerns me & breaks my heart. She is beautiful for who she is & I want them to always know that.
What can I do to help my girls be secure in who they are & who we are & never doubt our love?
Hair - Ugh- Hair!!!
So glad to meet you & to become friends.

Anita said...

Simone, I'm finally getting around to reading your "On being black" series. I like it, and will go on to the others when I'm ot somuch in a hurry as I am now. :)


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