As I sit here and view the movie Dear White people I am struck by something that is bigger plot point for me than the racism of the white people and the racism in the movie.
It's the identity crisis that young black people go through in these modern times. Young black educated people who are trying to find their way in a place that is determined to keep the stereotype of the young uneducated, ghetto hoodrat alive. How do we move pass this feeling of being caught between the past and the future. How do we get to a point where the educated black person is not told they are a sell out. That they are forgetting where they come from. Is it true? Is going to college and working hard forgetting where you are coming from? Wait,did you see what I said? "Going to college and working hard" Like going to college automatically means that you are a hard worker. We all know that is not true. There are people working their asses off right now living paycheck to paycheck living in the bad part of town. Does this make them bad people? No. So why is it that every time someone ventures on to the bad side of town in a movie or television show it involves being met with minorities dressed up in gang wear ready to rob you of your money and tires?
As a child I was called an Oreo. Black on the outside white on the inside. I was made fun of for being different. I was skinny and flat assed and super dark and spoke proper English. Which apparently is something only three types of black people do: angry black people, black people who have sold out and Oreo. I was the Oreo. I was the chick who dressed how ever the hell she wanted, who smiled and was friendly with everyone who wanted to be friends with everyone.
So I answered the questions that people asked me that were strange to me but seemed to boggle the minds of the asker. "Do you wash your hair?" Yes, douche I am a clean person. "How do you know you are dirty?" Oh, I don't know probably the same way you know you are dirty. Then I got to hear "you don't sound like a black person," then when questioned what they meant by that they explained that they didn't mean anything by it because of course I am not like the other black people they are talking about. I'm cool.
Cool. My life goal. Cool.
So yes I grew up. I met people I traveled and unlike what was done to me, I did not assume that all people were the same from the contact I had with a few idiots. I refused to live that way. To live that way was to give in to the racism and the stupidity that is still running through the veins of this country. I married a white man and had two zebra babies and as I sit here in the aftermath of the movie that is Dear White People, I wonder if my own children will have to deal with the same identity crisis that the main character dealt with. That she felt divided. But I felt divided and I am black and blacker. I felt divided trying to find my identity when I was told by the media I should have been something else. Told by my peers I was not living up to what they thought I should be. Refusing to be something else but the person I knew deep down I am today.
A Confident Black American. I am proud of what I am. Oh, and if you are one of those people who wonder why it's ok to be proud to be black. Look up at the next billboard you see. Who is on it? do they have melanin in their skin? no? Look at the line up of your favorite channel...how many people of color are featured on the show? What kind of character is a person of color playing on your favorite show? We have to be taught to take pride in what and who we are because everything that we see in this country makes us feel like we should not be proud.
I was once divided and I am whole. I love myself and I love other people no matter their color. I do not blame the white people in my life for the sins that were committed in the past. I will blame the people who continue to bury their heads in the sand and allow injustice to continue simply because they are Tired of hearing about the plight of people that are not them. I will continue to make sure I teach my sons everything I know about AMERICAN history. This includes black, white, asian, hispanic, native american and everything in between. This country was built on the BACKS of the poor, the weak and the colored. Remember that the next time you want to call someone outside of their name. Remember that we are only 50 years from the civil rights movement when you want to hush someone about the struggles they are experiencing because of their race, religion or sexual preference.
View the movie Dear White People. Pay attention. Because while the movie is satire, satire usually has a thread of truth to it. The truth in this one.
Young Black people are at a cross roads. Do we fight the status quo and the stereotypes and just remain at this standstill or do we stop allowing what the media says about us to be the only thing that we use to define us. Do we stop allowing the media to be the weapon that cuts us down and we "play the game."
I say we step out from the shadow of the past and embrace our very bright future and push forward with every fiber of our being. We show the upcoming generation that they are better and can do more than the previous. We teach them to not lead with hate but to lead with compassion. To not make change using the fears of the past.
I am whole. Are you?
Dear White People.......
I'm not scared.