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Monday, February 25, 2013

Rants on Race

Because I have to get things out or else I will honestly explode in front of someone. This is the only way for me to ever get anything done tonight.

My race. For. Fuck's. Sake. There are people who still somehow think it is alright to make black jokes in front of me. Just because they are friends with me, they think it's alright to mess around like that. This happened a lot during the play, including rehearsals. Someone would go up to me and the lights would be off and they'd say, "Oh, I can't see you." Then they'd reach out and grab a bunch of air. Ha! I've said this before, but how do they expect me to respond? I don't understand.

Even when I make every attempt to break free from black stereotypes, people keep on bringing them up. I get criticized for not acting black. I get criticized for the things that some black people do that I don't. I kid you not, I have to think about how much people are going to judge me before I open my mouth. They say I act "white." And for a long while, I have been accepting that.

If acting "white" is synonymous with being intelligent and not acting like a barn animal, which is the implication behind the alternate. If acting "white" is synonymous with not being loud and obnoxious and knowing all of the latest dances. If acting "white" is making good grades unlike the rest of my race.

It hurts to know that in some people's eyes, I am consider lesser than others because of my skin colors and because of the actions of the rest of my people that have been glamorized by the media. Everyone seems to feed off of black culture today. They think it's funny, it's cute. It's so "ghetto" or "ratchet"! "Oh, can't you twerk?" "Oh, don't you know how to do this dance?" "Can you teach us how to pop, lock, and drop it?"

I have been asked this by people I consider my friends. I've been at parties as the only black-ish member of our group. And people have paused what they are doing when a song came on, and all of the white people seriously asked me if I could teach them how to teach them how to dance.

I have been called "burnt toast" by my friends. Jokes have been made about my skin color. And how the fuck do you want me to react?

The same people who politely ask to touch my hair and call the texture "iiiinteresting" or "unique" are the same people who laughed when a guy with an afro came on stage during one of our assemblies. He walked out and I was sitting next to a person who proceeded to cover her mouth with her hands and suppress a giggle and choke out, "seriously?" A friend.

There are people who list off the different racial slurs they learned from their parents in front of me. Like, for fuck's sake, do you want me to congratulate you?

It is almost as though they are reducing me to these low standards while ignoring everything positive I have done. At the risk of sounding cocky: Excuse me, but do I need to print out my resume and hand it to these people when they say these things in order for them to understand that I am more than just "black"? Actually, no- screw sounding cocky. I want to be recognized in the same way other people get recognized.

Multiple people have also come up to me and attributed my positive characteristics to my Asian side, particularly intelligence. Race. Has nothing. To do. With Intelligence. In fact, my black father was the primary influence in terms of my education. It hurts to know that when I do get praised for something, it is for only one side of me.

I used to go into situations actually believing I was less than others because of my skin color, because I know right off the bat that they are making assumptions about me. I have to be twice as eloquent, twice as polite to parents when I'm meeting them, lest they scold their child for associating with "trash". I was dropping off someone and his parents are known for being really prejudiced, and he told me to pull over on the opposite side of the road to drop him off.

Stuff like this hurts. I'm a normal human being. Scratch that, no. I am an intelligent human being who is just as capable, perhaps even moreso, at performing the same tasks as everybody else. I am not skin color. I am not these stereotypes.

I am, however, expected to fulfill all of these negative standards. So I take care to avoid them at all costs. I didn't join my school's black youth organization because I didn't want to be singled out even further.

I just want to be treated normally. I thought people in high school would be more mature, but apparently not. And in college, I fear it may be worse. So what are my options? Get thicker skin. Keep on making three times the effort to seem normal. Fight against people who blame me for not embracing my culture. Fight against people who only see me for the culture I'm supposed to embrace. Fight against my own damn self for not knowing what to do and just being tired of it all.

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