Prepare your heart for this article. It’s not news for black boys. It’s still very painful. (Via Gawker’s Jazmine Hughes)
I had a conversation with a few friends recently about this. I remember my talks vividly; the first, with my dad after Johhny Gammage became Pittsburgh’s Rodney King after three police officers beat him beyond recognition. My father taught me again whenever I got my driver’s license, and the concept of DWB. I remember it even more directly from my brother, after what was seemingly a concerted effort from his part to offer me a few reality checks (“He began the conversation telling me that “one day you’ll grow out of liking hockey…”). I got another from my parents when I shifted from dating minorities to whites, because I went to Penn State, which aside from a Starbucks line after morning Bikram, is actually, the whitest place that ever whited.
The most difficult part I think is that as I looked around at the people i was trading stories with [(which included an employee at a Fortune 300 company, a writer for The Atlantic and New York Times, an art dealer for a well known auction house and an NYU PHD candidate (!)], you could feel the fear their parents shared with them. Not so much the fear of being wrongly accused, pulled over, harassed, etc. When you grow up, your parents are sort of invincible. I’ve never seen my dad or my mom waiver, and regardless of teachers, bully’s, girls, whatever— my parents were always able to make things right. That was one of the first times I remembered thinking my parents who love me more than life itself, were helpless. Or that my dad actually wasn’t Superman. That they could put me in the right school, or guide me to the right friend group— but that there was still something about me that regardless of my upbringing or how successful I was, would always make certain people really fucking uncomfortable.
There’s a lovely argument I’m confronted with—usually from my white friends that I’m no longer friends with— that because I’m lighter, I may get over on some of these. Or my favorite, “you’re not really that black,” For those, I’d say go on Twitter and search “President Barack Obama + “ any expletive you feel inclined to pair his name with. You’ll get a nice selection of comments from people speaking their mind regarding who may very well be the most powerful black man, ever. Ever. They are outliers— not because they feel it, but because they said it publicly. This is where the helplessness shifts from my parents to me.
(Side note: if you ever get a kick out of watching someone squirm, ask them to define in their own words, what “real black” is).1 week ago • 0 notes