I had an interesting conversation about race with Milk a few weeks ago. It pertained to things that I experienced as a teenager growing up in Kingwood, Texas (a predominantly White community nestled in the northern suburbs of Houston, Texas). We reached an intriguing point in our conversation where I explained to her how I was always referred to as the whitest black guy that anyone had ever met. So, I’d like to clear up everything that is wrong with that overtly racist statement, but also provide some insight as to why…
I am not sure where this asseveration originated, but somehow it has found a way into American culture. Contemporary media has manipulated us into thinking that Black males are inherently ignorant thugs that only know how to play basketball or football; who rap, murder, steal, and have no responsibility when it comes to taking care of their children.
Even though these stereotypes have long played their part in mainstream American culture (on our television screens at 6 o’clock every evening), I am here to discredit and disapprove these notions and give a different perspective on what it is to be a “Black” Man in America.
I grew up in a Jamaican household with family members all over the world, predominantly England. Contrary to popular belief, I did not play football (American) or basketball. I played soccer, an international game that speaks every language. I was raised in a home with my mother and father (who were married) and I graduated from high school and a private university.
To many of you reading this I might sound like Carlton from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air or Steve Urkle of Family Matters, but that is exactly what this article is about. Just because I “speak well”(extremely racist), am educated, and have no affinity for bass and booty, that does not make me the whitest black guy you’ve ever met.
It is unclear to me (and always has been), but anytime I display certain positive qualities, those things are attributed to the White race. However, anytime I make a mistake I’m immediately thrown back into the “Black” category. If I know too much about wine, gourmet cheese, sailing, or what putter to use on the 17th hole I’m (once again) immediately classified as being the whitest black guy you’ve ever met. Am I ignorant, or are those things specifically reserved for White people?
Do people truly believe that Blacks have no interests outside of what they see on that one TV channel on Comcast? I hate to admit it (not really) but BET and Hot 97.1 FM are not a true representation of Black culture or “Black people”.
As I mentioned earlier, I grew up in a household of Jamaicans. My mother and father do not credit themselves as being “black,” they credit themselves as being Jamaican. If you ask many Jamaican’s that have immigrated to other countries, they will say the exact same thing. It’s a pride, it’s a lifestyle, it’s a culture, it’s a way of thinking, and that is how I was brought up to see myself.
My “light skin” has opened up a world of attacks from both the White and Black races (I’ll write another post on this later). Purportedly, I’m considered to be unknowing of my true origins. However, this disposition stands on complete falsehood and racist propaganda that has been spread for far too long.
In conclusion, I am here to set the record straight. Black is not evil. Black is not stupid. Black is not broken. Black is not desolate. Black is not in search of a new identity. However, Black is kind. Black is smart. Black is strong. Black is rich. Black is intelligent. Black is beautiful.
So the next time you think about telling me I’m the whitest black guy you’ve ever met, I hope you think again…
“Before God we are equally wise and equally foolish” — Albert Einstein