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You Think You're White

In English, we capitalize words that are important; for that, I am Black with a capital "B".

In elementary, middle, and high school, I did not fit in with the other Black students and most of my friends were White.  I was teased by other Black students, specifically girls, about being "light-skinned", being a "house ******", and passing "the brown paper bag test".  I was told that I acted White, that I thought I was better than everyone else, and I was made to feel that I didn't belong.

In college, I volunteered to join a living and learning community for African American students.  Because of my involvement in this community, all of my acquaintances were Black.  In hindsight, I saw that I was trying to fit in with some of the girls on my floor who were finger-snapping, in your face, loud, cussing, and fussing women with attitude problems.  I can be in your face, loud, cussing, and fussing, and I sure can get an attitude at the snap of a finger, but generally, I'm a clumsy, silly, queer kid, with a lot of heart and love.  A lot of the girls were harder than I were and came from rougher areas.  I thought that if I modeled their attitudes [and I did] that I would be more accepted.

I met some Black women who were well-read, goofy, and not trendy like me and I became close acquaintances with them.  Still, during most of my first college experience, I felt out of place, too smart, too plain, too proper.  Too White?

By my own people, I want to be treated like part of community even if my vocabulary may be more extended, if I don't keep up with the latest fashion, if I don't like my men in "gear", if I don't always like men, and if I don't always identify with popular Black culture.  I may have been raised differently, but it doesn't mean that I think I am better than anyone.  I think I'm just me.  And that's good enough for me, even if it's not good enough for you, you, you, or them.

I am Black and I am proud.  I am good enough.  I am me.

brujis brujis 19-21, F 20 Responses Aug 13, 2007

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You are very nice and good enough for me too!!!

I know exactly how you feel. Around my white friends, I was more proper, goofy, dorky, etc. But around my black friends, I was loud and tough and blah blah blah. People would often say that they were "confused" about me, on whether I was an Oreo or not. Eventually I just stopped caring about trying to fit in, and just start doing me. I may be proper sometimes, but I know how to have fun. I may be dorky and goofy, but I still have a backbone.

Wow you just sound like a weak person

Actually, she sounds very strong to me. It takes a lot of strength to resist being stereotyped and put in a neat little box. I'm pretty sure I wasn't there at that age.

I never could understand why light skin or dark skin blacks struggled with supposedly not fitting in with people of the same color. The way I see it, if you are light skin, why not hang out with light skin people? Oh, wait! Color has nothing to do with your behavior, common sense, or book smarts. So why make color the issues, when it's not? You just happened to be a person that didn't fit in with a certain group. If you didn't like neck rolling, finger snapping,i.e. Then why seek that kind of company? Of course if I try to convince a duck to befriend me, the duck will point out why I do not fit in. Find like minded people, and then dismiss bad childhood memories. I didn't fit in much either, being that I was a military brat for most of my life. (I was exposed to more than one culture.) I'm a loner today, because it's rare to find someone like me, be it they are Black, White, Asian. But I know their out there. It's hard dealing with blacks in general, but its hard dealing with whites all the same. It all depends on the circumstances if you ask me. People are people.

I can relate to your story. I was, and still am, a nerdy kid and I was accused of trying to be white. I was also called ”Oreo” because the majority of my friends are white. I love being black and I wouldn't change my race for anything.

I understand what you're saying. Tragically, even while we make strides towards coexisting with mainstream culture and their sometimes skewed perceptions of us, there are individuals from within who want to embrace the stereotypes and keep us boxed up, too.

AMEN! Speak you're truth!

Your story sounds eerily similar to the story of my first novel (Beax Rivers' Silver: Currents of Change). It is about a light-skinned black girl who is teased by blacks and whites because she looks white. She goes to college, to a black school, and she wants to fit in, so she becomes "the blackest black chick you could ever meet." So she becomes the angry fighter of justice for her people, and that's how she fits in. She hates whites, because she believes they're to blame for how she looks. Well, her attitude gets her a lot of listeners for her radio show on the campus station. Anyway, she is smart, driven, and very popular. By the time she's a senior, she wins an internship at a magazine owned and published by a billionaire--a young white man. He falls for her, but she can't fall for him--he's WHITE! It's a perfect storm for a romance novel. $3.99 for the e-book on Amazon. www.beaxrivers.com.

I had the same experience in elementary school, whereas it was school yard teasing, but i hated it and I so envy dark skin, I think it is so beautiful- but it comes a point where you have to get past all that mess and find the true you and when you become comfortable with you, friendships become easy and less forced, no matter what color. I am 100% Black, and everything I do runs thru that filter of being conscious but I have to be true to me and thatsa the most important thing! Find you- once you do that, everything else falls into place! Good Luck!

it just seems to me that the problems you were having were self inflicted. I quote " finger snapping" maybe you had a problem with all the body gesture. it happens , lt really bothers me when i hear someone stereotype African americans especially our own race of people. <br />
<br />
Our culture is broad and strong. And Im sure you were not the only smart someone there. My daughter best friend graduated from Baylor. Dark as night. and guess what..... she got to Baylor on academics not sports. she finger snaps roll her eyes , did i mention goofy shy awkward She can be just as ghetto as she want to be when she is around her people . Ghetto has its place. It is obvious you have not spent much time around people of color to know that we can tun it on or off when we so desire. Or maybe we choose not to exhibit ghettoness at all well read goofy what ever. We have come a long way and in no way have we as a people totally arrived yet , <br />
<br />
My Grandmother would say in order to make a friend you must first show your self friendly.<br />
I say this to you ,is it safe to say your skin tone define how you articulate. I surely say not!!!!

I can totally relate to you. I'm black but I am, without a doubt, nothing like the "black" sterotype you see on TV. I'm nothing like that. In fact, some people would say that I "act white." Many of my friends are white, I don't speak gheto and I love to read. I'm actually kind of a nerd.

I'm actually not light skinned, I'm not really that dark either (although I wouldn't have passed the paper bag test, lol), however, I've been treated the same way as many of you who are lighter have been. I had a lot of trouble from other black girls growing up. I've always had long hair and have always spoken articulately. I had people call me a "white girl" too and it was annoying.<br />
<br />
I didn't really fit with white people either though I had an equal amount of black and white people that I've always gotten along with. I've not had as many friends or acquaintances of other ethnic groups though.

people, most of us (me included) are of mixed heritage. get over it. if we have one deop of black blood in us we are considered black- PERIOD, again get over it.

Dear Louisiana:<br />
<br />
As a native of New Orleans, it is once again sad to see yet another uneducated product of our once half-way decent state:<br />
<br />
I am from Louisiana and for some strange reason people in Louisiana always want to put others in a slot. Why can't they just accept people as they are. We always have to deal with predicious from some whites but why is it that own race have to discrimate?<br />
<br />
'Predicious' and 'discrimate' are not words and your last sentence is not one at all. If anything, people of south Louisiana are more tolerant than those in other parts of the south due to the European influence. Note the election of the first 'Indian-American' governor and the first 'Vietnamese-American' elected officials in the history of our Republic.<br />
<br />
Might I remind you that the Battle of New Orleans did not take place in New Orleans and it was fought after the Treaty of Ghent was signed three weeks earlier. The victory over the 'red coats' over overwhelming odds was due in large part to Creoles, Native Americans, Jean Lafitte's 'irregular' army and Andrew Jackson.<br />
<br />
Give a thought to your thoughts before posting.

Dear Louisiana:<br />
<br />
As a native of New Orleans, it is once again sad to see yet another uneducated product of our once half-way decent state:<br />
<br />
I am from Louisiana and for some strange reason people in Louisiana always want to put others in a slot. Why can't they just accept people as they are. We always have to deal with predicious from some whites but why is it that own race have to discrimate?<br />
<br />
'Predicious' and 'discrimate' are not words and your last sentence is not one at all. If anything, people of south Louisiana are more tolerant than those in other parts of the south due to the European influence. Note the election of the first 'Indian-American' governor and the first 'Vietnamese-American' elected officials in the history of our Republic.<br />
<br />
Might I remind you that the Battle of New Orleans did not take place in New Orleans and it was fought after the Treaty of Ghent was signed three weeks earlier. The victory over the 'red coats' over overwhelming odds was due in large part to Creoles, Native Americans, Jean Lafitte's 'irregular' army and Andrew Jackson.<br />
<br />
Give a thought to your thoughts before posting.

I appreciate your story and can Identify, but after awhile you just come into your own because you are going to be scrutinized no matter what by blacks, whites, hispanics, non believers, believers etcera. I get offended when people say to me that i am well spoken for a woman of color or because I am lighter I must be mixed with something. I also get offended when people of color figure that all black women or people have attitudes themselves, and that most of us are inarticulate. Why are we feeding into stereotypes that were fed to us long before we were born. Black people are humans, passionate loving people just like anyone else. I don't get it. I mean black people aren't the only people that will tell you that you act white or a certain way. A white person will say it too. We just happened to get offended more easily by our own kind because some of us are trying to run away from your black roots or we want to fit in so bad so it's bothersome. Just know that you can't please anyone. Please yourself and if you believe in any higher being please your God! Happy Trails to all all

It is amazing the melting pot that you have in America. What a mixture of bloods from many nationalities and ethnicities you have. Here in Europe is completely different. People are 100% French, 100% Russian, 100% English or 100% Spanish, etc. Immigration has made some mulatos, but still they are very rare. I understand how there can be tensions and some of you might feel rejected because you see yourself physically or even socially different from others, that is normal. But you can be proud to live in a society in which such a diversity of humans exists, because if that situation is carried with tolerance and respect, it can be very enriching.

It North America Indian I left that out, sorry

My people was some of the first SLAVES to come to American.<br />
I had two Great Grand Father that marry North America Women after Slavery.<br />
Does that make me special ? No- these men did what they wanted to do and I think if you love some one it no body business but your own.<br />
I'm not going to denied my heritage whether I look like one or the other,<br />
Because neither side left their childrens a heritage in land or slavery moneys rights in America.

I know for sure, here at my university, that I and others like me single-out the creoles, meztisos, mulatos, morenos, cafuzos, ainocos, etc. I guess one could say I'm a bit prejudiced, though my intentions are for love not hate, still, my intentions are very naughty indeed ;)

I can relate to you. I went through elementary and high school not feeling like I fit in. Now, in college, I am still trying to find my niche. I don't know when I will ever stop being singled out because I am "light-skinned" or act too "White". I guess it's just something I will always have to deal with.