I was raised in a small town that is predominately white. My parents barked at me to speak properly growing up. I went to a dance studio where I was the only black girl. I've always had my black friends and my white friends, and at my 10th birthday party I learned that it was best to keep them separated. At this age I didn't know why there was such a clash between these two sets of friends or even why it almost seemed like I was living two separate lives. I knew that there was a certain way to act around the white crowd and vice versa for the black crowd. But even then it still seemed as if I was too black for the white folk and too white for the black folk.
To this day I get comments from my black friends like "you're so white" or the occasional "you're such an oreo" and from my white friends it was always those mind boggling comments like "yeah, but you're not like the rest of them" or the plain and simple "you're just different." For me, it's always weird whenever I hear these things. I never understood how speaking properly, having a love for Starbucks, Kate Spade, and Birkenstocks were somehow labeled white, and if that was the case I had missed the memo.
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Me speaking in the proper form of the English language should not alter the race you identify me as. Me adding Ebonics to my speech should not classify me as "ghetto." Me getting a relaxer does not mean I'm trying to get "white girl hair." Me getting a weave does not mean I'm trying to "look black."
I'm not your token black girl. I don't know every rap song. My parents make good money. You may not say the n-word around me. Yes, I do attend a predominately black church and no, you are not invited to the cookout.
Labels are for the ignorant. A person I need to conform for is not a friend. I will not change the way I speak, the way I dress, or the way I wear my hair to get approval for anybody. Comparing me to a cookie who is black on the outside and white on the inside is not only disrespectful to me, but your intelligence. I don't have to prove my blackness to anyone. I urge you to get rid of this handbook of how to be black enough and accept people for are they are and what they love. Quit pondering whether people are black enough. Quit letting stereotypical guidelines define a race.
Do not try to me cast me into this role of a black girl who just wasn't black enough. I am a strong, well spoken, Starbucks loving, Birkenstock wearing, occasional weave wearing, HBCU attending black girl who loves her self and identifies as a carefree, educated, independent, melanin popping black woman.