My Take on Race

*Notice I said my take on Race!*

Coming to you from 30,000 feet above the world.  Sitting on my flight home by way of Atlanta, I decided now was the time to write my take on race largely because I am on a flight with people of all different shades floating on a plane through snow white clouds and I’m stuck with nothing left to do but rock to the tunes of Tupac and write.  So here’s what I think.I’m a black woman that was raised in the South.  I was born in York County, South Carolina, raised in Edgemoor, South Carolina.

As a child, I don’t think I was sheltered from the issues of race, but I don’t think that as a child, the issues were really talked about.  I can remember as early as 2nd grade, a little white boy, a kid I considered my friend called me the “N” word on the playground because he was frustrated that I was winning the game that we played.  I didn’t know what that word meant, but I knew it was a bad word.  It wasn’t until I saw the expression on my second grade teachers face that I knew that it was really bad.  I remember her saying “That’s a word you hear in the home and not anywhere else.”  I have to say, back then that was the truth, however, now, it can be heard in mainstream music.

Since then, I’ve met my share of roadblocks as a black woman, which is a double whammy; I’m black and a woman.  If I wasn’t confident enough, I was viewed as unintelligent, if I was authoritative, I was called a Bitch.  If I showed up to a meeting and was darker than expected I was told, “You speak well for a black woman.”  I always respond the same, “And you speak well for a white woman/man.”  I’m used to people making statements and I know that their thought was their intention and those words were not words of malice, but I correct them in a manner that makes me the mirror that no one else has probably showed them.  Just because my skin is darker than yours, doesn’t mean that I’m not intelligent, that I don’t know the intricacies of using proper English and how to conjugate, use you’re and your correctly as well as their, there, and they’re, and that I’m less than, it just means that you have to recognize that the stereotype of my race that you have in your head is being challenged and you have to adjust your thinking.  At the same time, we as people of color have to acknowledge that sometimes our impression of people outside of our race is not accurate and may be challenged.

I’m a black woman, I’m not apologetic for that, and I celebrate that because there is uniqueness to being a black woman.  I know that I’m often not the person that people expect to show up, but you know what, when I show you who I am, you appreciate me for my spirit, my drive, and my knowledge more so than my race.  I don’t believe that I was raised to see a color and it has never factored into how I have conducted my life.  In school, the majority of my friends that were in close proximity to me that were not family were white.  I had fun times and appreciated their friendship because they challenged my stereotypes that I had in my head, one being the silly thought that only black people have cousins.  Even as an adult, I can count my friends on one hand that I’m close to and they are of all races.  They appreciate me for who I am and my no nonsense way of dealing with things therefore, they stick around.  They also know that I will give them the truth, which is a rare quality in friendships today.  I don’t care the color of your skin, I care what’s in your heart and if you are good people, you’re good with me.  If you don’t have a good bone in your body, keep moving.  Some people think that this is a naive way to go at friendships; however, I have only regretted one or two friendships in my 35 years.

The point of this post is to say; I don’t care what color you are.  I advocate for everyone, black, white, red, green, purple, it doesn’t matter, the only thing I am concerned with is the fact that you are a human being.  I raise my children the same way.  It doesn’t matter the color of a person’s skin, it’s about whom you are comfortable with and how they treat you.  “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”  The most important lesson in friendships and dealing with people is don’t let anyone treat you like a doormat, no matter what race they are.  I will say that as child, preteen, and teen, people, children, of my own race treated me like crap because of who I was comfortable being friends with.  I was told I wasn’t “Black enough” which I’m still wondering what the hell that means.  Last I checked, when I looked in the mirror, a chocolate complexioned person stared back at me.  That still perplexes me.  What would be a tragedy; if someone told me I wasn’t HUMAN enough.  That would be a real tragedy.

I close this with saying that the topic of race is not going away.  It’s not, in the current environment, going to be swept under the rug.  It will however, be acknowledged and I hope that out of all of my friends, if they have a question about race, they will feel free to ask me my thoughts.  I don’t have all the answers, but I can give it from my perspective.

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