I have never in my Black ass life…
… trusted potato salad, greens, sweet potato pie or chitlins prepared by anyone who wasn’t taught by their OWN Black mama or auntie how to make them from scratch, sans a recipe.
… listened to a Stevie Wonder or Donny Hathaway song or watched an August Wilson play or gazed upon a work of Romare Bearden and not been moved to tears, knowing for sure that they were speaking directly to our shared Black experience—our collective souls.
… forgotten the touch of my mother’s fingers or the cool of her breath as I sat perfectly still between her knees, listening to the sizzle of the hot comb melting the Afro Sheen onto my kitchen.
… trusted Black men who date exclusively outside their race, with their self-hating Black asses.
… forgotten what it felt like to be called “nigger” with great gusto by white neighbors, fellow girl scouts, college classmates, enraged motorists and random people in the street who, when they looked at me, saw nothing more than Black skin and stereotypes that made them automatically HATE me.
… worn all this chocolate and all these curves and all this kinky ass hair and then been able to decide, “eh, I’mma take this off now and be someone other than a Black woman today.” (Except for that one week in 6th grade when I thought it was a good idea to stuff toilet tissue into my training bra.) Never could take it off. But spent a lifetime being made to think that every inch of me wasn’t good enough, wasn’t pretty enough, wasn’t right enough, wasn’t white enough. Those were the experiences that made me the fierce ass Black woman I am today—the one who loves every inch of these curves, every bend in this kinky hair, every bit of this chocolate. It is uniquely, divinely mine.
… been less than acutely aware that no matter my education, ability, intelligence, background, intentions, heart, when I enter a room, I have to steel myself to, yet again, walk a gauntlet of assumptions, put-downs and blatant disrespect—a gauntlet that I have walked every second of my life, from the womb to right now, this very moment.
… trusted, liked or given a good hot damn about white people who think that because they know a Jay-Z lyric or two, like a Maya Angelou poem or two, can inflect a couple Black colloquialisms, read a couple books about Black people and trotted behind Black folk like a snot-nosed toddler does her mama that they are, indeed, my cultural equal.
So FUCK Rachel Dolezal. All the dime store orange foundation, all the nappy wigs in Crenshaw, all the “Today” show/”Melissa Harris-Perry” appearances and proclamations shouted from every TV screen on the planet won’t EVER make her BE me.
Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.