This blog post is a response/comment to an article on CNN titled “Am I ‘black enough’?” by Gene Seymour, a lightskin African American film critic who has written for The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, and The Washington Post (Link for the article at the bottom of the post).
Gene was told for most of his childhood that he wasn’t black, even though he was/is. He grew up in a time where him playing The Beatles in his car was shamed by an older black woman because that music “wasn’t yours”. When he was in high school one of his liberal white teachers told him that if he wanted to fit in with his black peers then he should spend more time in “the ghetto” and try to adopt their speech so he could legitimize his blackness. These things sound outlandish to us now, or they do if you have a brain between your ears, but in all reality, has our society really come that far from the blatantly racist culture of the 60s? As mentioned in an earlier blog post less than a week ago it was reported that a player on the Seattle Seahawks made a comment to a reporter about the quarterback, Russell Wilson, not being black enough. So how far has our society come, when it is still perceived that one’s skin tone determines how they should act and speak.. How far have we come if someone is considered “not black enough” simply because of their diction and choice to steer clear of derogatory slang words commonly used in parts of the African American community? We have come a long way in the fact the law no longer separates different races and we even have a black president. Yet racism still exists. Is it so much better that the racism is now internalized rather than spoken out loud? Racism is implanted into the minds of the youth because of the patriarchal mindset we discussed in class and was written on the board. So even as we have progressed, we are nowhere near “equality’.
My favorite quote from the entire article is “That there are as many ways to be black as there are to be white. Or brown.” Gene said this explaining that he wished America knew this 40 or 50 years ago. A person’s skin tone shouldn’t determine who a person is. Obviously culture plays a huge role in one’s life but other than that why should race be more than skin deep? Why should a baby be at a disadvantage for the rest of it’s life just because it was born black and not white? It’s written in our own Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal”, so why don’t we believe it?
Link to article: http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/27/opinion/seymour-black-ish-dear-white-people/index.html?hpt=op_t1