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.