What Makes You Black?

by DBryant

Just because your skin is brown don't make you black. I mean you have to be a part of the movement, refuse to pay taxes to a government that don't give a damn about you, you got to maintain your hair in it's natural state, and call to Allah instead of some spook God. Just because your skin is dark, your lips are full, your hips are round, and your nose is broad don't mean you experience what I do, feel the same pains that I feel, and go through the same changes I do. Just because they slap an 'African American' title on you don't mean we are one under the sun.

Your soulful grinds don't make you Black. Your attitude problem nor does your witty humor make you Black. Your eating chicken and slurpin' watermelons don't make you Black. Your strong will don't make you Black. Your ability to overcome adversity don't make you Black. Your powers to cope don't make you Black. Your cooking collards don't make you Black, so your skin don't make you Black.'

This is what I've heard or been told often enough to spark this essay. So my questions are what makes me Black. What makes someone Blacker than another? What is being Black? And where can I get it? I've seen, heard, and read comments that make being Black seem like it's something you purchase. Something that is bred, groomed, grown, or that being Black is something you acquire. I've seen brotha's with the Dreds... does that make him Black? And with that, does that same brotha with the dreds... but with a white woman on his arm make him less Black? Is it now possible this Man is no longer socially conscious, is he less Black or less knowledgeable of self now because of the race of the woman that he is involved with? Well, what about the woman that adores her dark skin, loves her black brothas, and locs her hair only to bleach them? Is she less black now for choosing chemical highlights that may accent her beauty? Who is it that decides who is or not Black enough, and who is too Black?

Is it Me? This Society? The Black-O-Meter? Or You?

I believed that being Black is an experience. Black is a way of life. Your attitude about life, your positions in power, your contributions to your community and those abroad, your spiritual existence, your visions for your people, and your love for self makes you Black, makes you who you are.

I straighten my hair, get my nails done, were make-up, shop at Macy's, work for 'The Man', and still have a working knowledge of self. She, may go to Mosque, work for The Nation, wear African attire, home in African motif, speak Swahili, give her kids holy names, and know not what being Black is about.

He is also an employee of 'The Man', Listens to Hip-Hop, friendly with the ladies, cuts his head bald, but patrons the Black Owned Businesses and volunteers at the local Boys and Girls Club. No one is less than the other, nor is one Blacker than the other.

At some point we have to decide when we are going to stop putting ourselves in mental strong holds, and let us unify as one in troubled and peaceful times. See each one as our own, and live in reality... which is whether you consider it or not, doesn't matter, it is how one perceives themselves as they tally-up what contributions they've made in their lifetime to the betterment of his or her people.

What Makes You Black? by DBryant

© Copyright 1999. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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