Me: “Yeah, I had moments in my life where I didn’t feel black enough”
My Younger Brother’s: ” lol what?”
Younger Sister: “I can relate to that”.
I didn’t even take offense to the laughter, I almost sighed in relief at the fact that they had not experienced a similar feeling.
When I was younger I was aware that black people were perceived to be a certain way, way before we could even decide for ourselves who we want to be. Which definitely has an impact on how we move through life, as well as how we identify ourselves and other black people.
I now look back to those moments when I didn’t feel “black enough” and it was heavily focused on what has always been seen as popular and at lot of what is seen as popular comes from black culture. Whether it is African American culture, West Indian culture or African culture. It all comes from black people and gets fed into the mainstream media without crediting the originators, giving some of us this warped sense of self and identity.
Now that I am older and understand how the world works and how Cultural Appropriation has been disguised as cultural acceptance and multiculturalism, it is easier for me to feel comfortable in my blackness because I know what it is. It’s genetics and it’s heritage. Anything I may lack or feel insecure about does not take away from who I am.
At first I would be he first to jump in on every comment section on everything social platform that dared speak ill of black people. Then it became way to common, every other day there was another triggering headline or outrageous conversation being had on the Internet. After a while I started to see people say “stop“, stop giving these platforms the attention, the views and the engagement and some even went on to say “it is a new marketing strategy“.
To a degree I belived it, I believed that people were capable of justifying this extremely backwards way of thinking. I mean we know how insidious the racism can be in many industries so my initial thoughts were, I wouldn’t put it past any company to use black outrage to drive attention to their business. However it’s not something that in the long term benefits the company, all it does is shine a light on the lack of diversity within the company and how little they know and care about black people.
It all just made it very clear to me that I am right to be careful with where I’m spending my money and to also be aware of the energy that I am using to fight a battle that really doesn’t need me to be front and center. We shouldn’t have to feel like every time we part with our hard earned money it is possible we may have to cancel or boycott them shortly after.
Black Culture is Popular Culture
Using certain popular words within the black community, and slang to attract a black audience without even caring about black people, always makes me cringe and it is always clear that the person behind it is not black and their only proximity to blackness is Notting Hill Carnival.
I feel some type of way about this especially seen as nothing has been done to improve the quality of lives for black people, yet our culture is used to benefit everyone else but us and everything that we do, is never credited just taken and repackaged.
When I think out how much of the culture here and around the world is influenced by us it really makes me think about how little we are recognised for our greatness which is why I feel no type of way when I say we don’t always have to be inclusive with what we do.