Identity And Who Defines Blackness…Thoughts

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Hey blog readers,

I have been in a huff about the lady who recently came into the spotlight claiming to be a Black woman but who is not…at all. Here’s the thing about the Black community, specifically Black women. Everyone is on a hunt to define Blackness. Back in the day, if you had 1/10th of Black blood in you, you were considered Black(hence the one drop rule). I identify as Black(because my birth certificate says Black) but in reality, I am multi-racial. Both of my parents were mixed. In an irony of ironies, both of my grandmothers were mixed with Native. So both of my great-grandmothers were Native.

What I have found in my thirty-three years is that identity is pretty much always defined by someone else. No matter who you say you are(or think you are), there will always be someone to shoot you down and tell you different. So, I spent a huge chunk of time laughing and being frustrated at a woman who attempted to culturally appropriate another race. But then I just stopped. I have had countless Black women tell me that I have light skinned privilege(when in reality I am technically not light at all). I have had people make me prove who I was(even though they did not care about the results). I have also just realized that most other people couldn’t figure out where I belonged and just put me in whatever category they could rap their heads around(hence Hispanic people considering me to be Puerto Rican or Dominicana). In fact, the only people who consider me to be Black are White people. Because they have no clue that my roots run straight back to Germany, nor do they care. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the Jewish culture and you may even see me make some Challah but I’m not Jewish. Now, if something happens and I marry a Jewish man, that my friends will be another story lol.

What does this all mean? It means that we have to be true to ourselves no matter who we are identified as or how others identify us. I have had a love hate relationship with the Black community because the Black community never included me. So I learned early on that I had no space. Which is a great thing. Not actually having a space lets me be whoever I want to be fully. My temper and rage aren’t because I am a mad Black woman, they are because I am a mad Mixed woman with a whole lot of Native rage lol.

So how does this inform my life? I have always been a fighter for justice and human rights and I will continue to be. I just have to keep it moving away from anyone or anything that would seek to keep inflicting pain on my psyche. I have to continue to move in spaces that affirm and support me for who I am.

My only issue with the woman who was trying to pass as Black was her deep layers of deceit and lies that negatively affected so many Black people specifically Black women. I mean my grandparents were a interracial family at a time when that could not have been easy. Because my grandfather was a Black man, they lived in the colored section of town and all of their kids were born in the colored section of the hospital. My grandmother was not treated with a lot of respect but she pressed on and she loved her children fiercely even when her own family disowned her for marrying outside of her race.

So the next time someone wants to speak negatively of a different culture or race, inform them that they have no place to judge. Most of the people in our country aren’t pure anything. We are all mixed in some form or fashion. Will I stop speaking my truth? No. Will I be more mindful of the spaces I share? Yes.

In the meantime I can only pray for myself and others and seek to live in a way that is positive in spaces that can be so dark. We all have things to offer the world and we cannot let small minded people keep us living small. It doesn’t help those who need your light.

Shalom

Namaste

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