Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Black American, Black, American, Black in America...What's the difference?

I've lived with an open secret all of my life. I'm not who you see. By "you" I mean...everyone. As the years go on, I'm more and more..."me"...but still not fully myself.

When I'm around Black people? I'm comfortable. I easily communicate either using colloquialisms, or standard English. I say nigga without concern for being perceived as a hypocrite or self-hating minion. I listen to music that is offensive. I grasp the nuance. When I'm around other races? I'm comfortable. I easily communicate using standard English. I never say nigga because I recognize the weight of the word. I listen to music that doesn't offend. I grasp the nuance. Both of those people exist. In me. All of the time.

"why the black side gotta cry?!" calm down, it's a joke
I've read Shakespeare and listened to Dead Prez. I've worked in corporate America and read the Autobiography of Malcolm X (and Behold a Pale Horse). I hate it. Shakespeare did nothing for me. Who talks like that? Yes, I grasp the explanation of the human condition...and I grasp it even better by listening to Earth, Wind, and Fire. I hated working in corporate America. Putting on a facade for people so they would feel comfortable in my presence. Removing the "edge" from my voice so I wouldn't appear threatening. Laughing at jokes that weren't funny (to me). But...I wanted to succeed so, I "played the game".

That's what my life WAS. Playing a game. Holding on to my "self" while trying to improve my situation. Feeling the need to assimilate because "that's the only way they'll allow you in". Guess what? I don't want "in" like that. I'm a dope person. I mean...REALLY dope. You should want to be around me. As I am. Ask yourself why my beard bothers you. Why the tone of my voice intimidates you. Why my music scares you. Let me help you...it's because you don't understand it. So instead of trying to understand, you ask ME to change. Nope. I'm good. My beard is flourishing (it's beautiful). I'm passionate, so I speak with a fluctuating tone (and often with exaggerated hand gestures). My music speaks to a struggle that still exists...often far away from your neighborhood. I'm not assimilating. You will love me like this, or you can lose out on all this (waves hand all over my body) dopeness.
Ok folks..."Take Care"

But hold on....I also LOVE doing certain things that are "mainstream". Hell, as a comic, I've been embraced by more middle aged conservative audiences than the so-called "urban" audience (by urban i mean minorities because...duh). I watch Friends (Chandler is funny...sue me). I have a few hipster friends who keep me abreast of what the plaid shirt and tight pants generation is doing. I think Bill O'Reilly is a brilliant man. I disagree with him more than occasionally, but he's entertaining and at least puts some thought into his arguments. And i won't hide THAT either. Black people saying we're not monolithic means I can go skiing AND play basketball. I like hockey (NJ Devils) and listen to classic rock.

That's my secret. For years I was playing a game. I was never really being myself. I felt like I was hiding my "blackness" around white people, and hiding my mainstream tendencies around black people. Fuck all of you and your judgmental asses. I'm me. I'm dope. I mean...REALLY dope. The question is...are YOU dope enough for me to want to be around?

PS. I'm going to eat fried chicken and cry about Kovalchuk retiring (he played for the Devils...smh)


  1. This is the realist thing I've read.

    I can't even describe how that's exactly how I've felt and probably still feel and have recently started to come to terms with.

    Acceptance takes time, but you have to realize it first.

  2. If this post could have a Anthem my vote would be for
    Tupac - Starin' Through My Rear View

  3. You sound like the daughter I raised. HOPE lies with the youth. As we from the old school would say...."It's yo thang...do what you wanna do...."

  4. I am a Latino and I can totally identify . Well said my friend

  5. I thought this was going to be a piece about race and it's just 200 words of self fellatio

    1. yeah...that's what this was. Me not pointing out the duality that many minorities live with. It's all about ME...no one can identify with that...speaking of fellatio...

  6. Excellent. Generalizations suck the truth out of everything.