Ever since elementary school, I've sort of been a little bit different. I've always gone to pretty good public schools, but they have always been predominantly white. And with that comes a lot of challenges, misunderstandings and having some REALLY weird things said to you.
For example, I remember at some point in elementary school that someone asked me if I had a dad? I guess they were under the impression that all black kids have absent fathers or that their dads are in jail, but I was like, "Uh, yeah, of course I do?"
And then, when I was in middle school, everyone started calling me an oreo, which before I knew what that meant, I was really confused.
For those of you who don't know, it's when a person is described as being black on the outside and white on the inside.
At the time, I thought that was a compliment but now I realize just how problematic that actually is.
For one, you can't actually "act" a race or be a different race on the inside because everyone's insides look approximately the same; very dark but usually pink. Also, the joke's on all of you because race is a social construct and has changed over time, but I'm very not sorry that I don' fit into what your consensus notions of what a black person should be like.
And then in high school, I just got made fun of for not being attractive because you know most people "don't date black girls." Which like, newsflash, not dating someone specifically because of their race is... wait for it... racist!
I'm not sure if the rest of you know how damaging it is to grow up in a world where you're too "black" for the white people but you're too "white" for the black people because I guess there are guidelines and I'm not adhering to those.
It's also super sad that I can't get a "Ladybird" type of movie about a black girl from the suburbs enduring her teenage years.
Every movie about black kids or teens is always like they came from some rough neighborhood and made something out of themselves. And that's a great narrative and that's people's real lives, but it's not mine. I just want that and to see myself in it, but I guess that's too much to ask.
All I want people to realize is that it's taken me a long time to undo all the ideas that I was taught about blackness being bad.
I love it now. I'm so fire, but always being told that you're "pretty" for your race, or "one of the good ones," or that you "talk white," is not fun or beneficial.
So, for the next generations, can we not box in our little black girls and make them think liking bands or speaking proper English is a bad thing, so we won't have to repair their self-esteem later in life?