What Are You? | angelofeccentricity's Blog

By the way, I didn't stop eating. At all.
Sure, I didn't bring my wallet to school (at first) so that I wouldn't be tempted
by the wrong foods, however, the next day, when I came home, I assure you that
I chomped down a ton of juice and food to my heart's content with more resolution
than ever that I loved food and I, in no way, would ever become anorexic by choice.
And therefore, that's the end of my journey with Ana.

However, what I wanted to talk about is being black.
I am black.
I can't say I'm African-American because I'm not from America.
Or is it a more broader term than that, like African-North-American?
In which case, yes.
I don't really feel comfortable with even saying that or African-Canadian.
I'm black.
Simply put.
My mom is from Trinidad, my dad from Jamaica.
I've actually started calling myself Caribbean-Canadian because that's
what I feel especially describes me and my culture.
Or is it a way to cop out of saying that I am African?
I am a descendant from Africa.
My mom and my dad are.
I'll have to reflect on that more.
What do I feel being African means?
Why am I afraid of it?

I feel I have had a "black experience."
That experience to know that in fact, you are not anything else.
You are black.

My childhood was very nice, actually... among other things.
I won't really get into that, but I'll just say I had an amazing family.
My sister was a bit mean, but all in all, I felt happy.
At school, people didn't really point out, 'Oh hey, you're black, you know that?
You're different.'
They didn't really care, I think.
For a long, long time, I didn't care about my blackness.
I was just being.
I never really looked in the mirror and said, 'You are black.'
I wasn't ever teased.
Nothing like that.
I was really the only "real black" kid in my class.
There was another boy, Daniel, who was black and Spanish.
The rest were white and Asian.

I knew what colour I was.
I knew that I was darker skinned.
But it didn't matter to me.
Again, I was just being.
And then, sometime, grade 5 or grade 6, I was really faced with
that question about blackness.
A girl in my class, Cindy...
I was walking up the stairs with her and my best friend at the time, and then
out of completely no where, she said I was an oreo cookie.
In this point of my life, I was so shy that I literally had no words for that.
I was hit with that statement, and I guess, shocked.
I had NEVER heard that term before.
And then, I guess she felt she needed to explain it because she said that
it means that I'm black on the outside, but all creamy white in the inside.
Again, no words.
It was probably one of the awkwardest moments of my life coupled with that oh-so
awkward laugh of feigned amusement.
When she left, my best friend looked at me and said, "Oh my God, I can't believe she
said that. Did you hear what she said?"
I quite simply said yes. That I had heard. But I was still reflecting on it.
I didn't feel offended... No, it wasn't that.
I was just, so suddenly, faced with my blackness.
I was faced with the question, "What is black?"
I, in no way, felt white, at all.
I never questioned my actions and thought of them as, "That is such a white thing to do."
I quite simply never cared.
Until now.
Was I acting white?
Am I separated from the black within me?
Am I different?
Am I acting like I'm supposed to?
Am I deliberately acting white to fit in?
It didn't offend me.
It startled me.
It made me question... me.

It got all out of hand from there.
My best friend convinced me to talk to the vice principal.
I really didn't feel like I needed to, but she urged me to.
And so, I did.
And Cindy got sent down and we had to have this big discussion together.
And soon, my whole class knew.
And Cindy was labelled the racist.
The racist.

This image is so vivid in my mind right now as I write this, but I remember being
out in the field at recess with my friends and I glanced over to the right...
And waaaay out on the other side of the field, completely isolated, was Cindy.
She was, quite literally, in the fetal position out there. Her head on her knees.
Completely alone.
And I felt bad.
Really bad.
I did not want this to happen.
I knew she wasn't racist.
She isn't 'Cindy the Racist'.
She was speaking her mind.
And I guess, I was acting white.

Actually... no. No. I wasn't acting white.
I hate that.
A few months ago, years later from that incident, I was again called an oreo.
And it's stupid!
What is white?
Is white synonymous with intelligence?
Is it because I don't always use slang in my speech, that I don't act 'ghetto' that I'm suddenly
Are black people synonymous with stupidity?
Am I not supposed to speak the way I do?
Am I not supposed to dress the way I do?
Am I not supposed to walk the way I do?
Am I not supposed to be?

I don't get it.
And all these questions and thoughts came up because of the program I just finished watching called
'Black in America' on CNN.

It doesn't always bug me.
But sometimes it does.
Sometimes it does.
Being black.

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