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Reply #147: and not just if you're "mixed" [View All]

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CitizenLeft Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-18-11 01:42 PM
Response to Reply #40
147. and not just if you're "mixed"
I am what is called "light-skinned" and grew up in the '60's. I was chased home every day from school (until I stupidly whipped out a paring knife to make them back off - which they did), called "whitey," "honkey," and "yellow cracker" until it almost made me cry (I never gave them the satisfaction). Every day from grades 2-4 until I learned to fight back and forced them to deal with ME instead of my skin, I had to apologize for being pale.

For mixed people, blackness is not accepted as a fact of existence but something negotiable, a question of membership to which those whom are Truly Black may grant you access.

That also applies to me, even though both my parents were black, though my asshole father was so light he could "pass." He "passed" that dubious ability on to me - one I have always rejected and despised - and I've been paying for it all my life. Oddly, it's become painful again lately in the strangest way. My cousin married a beautiful brilliant activist woman who has lovely dark skin, deep chocolate. They divorced when I was a teen, but she's been like loving family to me all my life. In the last year, I started spending a lot more time with her (movies, shopping, etc.) and I found myself increasingly being subjected to subtle blackness tests. I was asked why I "don't like black music." So I started playing 60's-70's R&B, and she was shocked (WTF - shocked?) to discover that I knew all the words to almost every song. I worked in a record store in my teens and learned to appreciate almost all music. I'm just not into hip/hop.

As time went on, I was given similar tests, never sure if I "passed" them or not. I found myself defending almost every stance I have, as a way of her discerning if I was "black enough" I guess. Inevitably, we had an argument about politics - she despises Obama and thinks it's beneath her to vote - and that was the end of that. At this moment, I don't know if I'll ever see her again. It's really a fucking shame, because I do love her, as I love her sons, one of which is blood-related, and I just lost my beloved aunt, leaving me basically without family here except for them. So... yeah. I'm applauding Ms. Perry for what she said. My cousin's ex-wife is the female equivalent of Cornel West, in that she, apparently, has never been able to see me clearly, though I've known her nearly all my life. Very disheartening to discover, 40 years later, that I don't measure up.
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