We often hear the phrase “white privilege”, especially in light of recent events in the US. Ryan Lochte was able to land a spot on Dancing with the Stars after going to another country and vandalizing public property, and then lying about being robbed at gunpoint- white privilege. The police officers who targeted and murdered Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Freddie Gray, to name a few, walked away without even a slap on the wrist- white privilege. Then there are the rapists who get laughable sentences so their “promising futures” will not be compromised- white privilege. We also see white privilege every day when whites are treated more desirably than Blacks by police officers, judges, the government, school system, and the general public, and not as targets. White privilege is when whites are depicted more favorably in the media, when “whiteness” is the constant and everyone else is the variable, and when whites feel comfortable enough to make statements like “I don’t see color”; the list can go on.
Well, I’d like to use this blog post to celebrate my Black privilege. But I actually don’t want to call it that because I just Googled the term and I cringed- like 10 times. So, let me rephrase that: I’d like to use this blog post to celebrate my BLACKNESS. I love, love, LOVE being Black! Here’s why:
1: I have direct ties to one of the richest continents on this Earth. Africa, the place where it all began, where human life originated, is the place my ancestors called home. Contrary to popular belief, we are the constant and everyone else is the variable. I come from a continent rich in diamonds, gold, tropical fruits, and petroleum; Europe and the US have nothing on Africa’s resources.
2: This hair! Black hair is so unique, because it comes in many different lengths, textures, and colors. A huge plus for me is that I don’t have to wash it every day and I can switch my look up as I please, rocking anything from a fro, to a sleek bun, to waist-length braids.
3: Black folks have invented some of the greatest things ever. Thank goodness for the Black inventors who graced us with automatic elevator doors, the dustpan, the traffic light, gas mask, peanut butter, the hot comb, the pacemaker, and the modern lawnmower. These are only a few of the wonderful and necessary inventions that make life a little easier.
4. Black Music! Enough said!
5. The culture. Let’s face it: cultural appropriation sucks. Our beautiful attributes and trends, once considered inferior, are being imitated and renamed; in other words, STOLEN. The magazines call our cornrows “boxer braids”, full lips are popping up everywhere, and recently, a fashion designer paraded his all-white model fleet down the runway sporting locks in their hair. Admiration is great, but this appropriation is no different than the thievery that this country was built on. However, on the bright side, we rock! Black trends ROCK!!! And no one can represent Black Culture better than the originators, so I’ll remain unbothered.
6. Resilience. Black people are known for this. We made it through the middle passage. We are creative, innovative, and natural-born survivors. Our skin is even resilient. Excess oils and melanin protect the skin from the sun, leaving it supple and wrinkle-free for years. You know the saying; and it’s true!
Let’s face it: We are mad; I know I am. Every time I turn on the television or open my Facebook page, I am reminded of why being Black in this country can be so difficult and unfair. I wonder if I want to raise my innocent Black children in a country that devalues them because of the color of their skin. Then I look in the mirror and see my chocolate skin, thick hair, and wide nose, and I’m proud. I play my favorite R&B, Soul, or Hip Hop album and I’m proud. I see our resilient Black community leaders spending time with the kids or organizing rallies, and I’m so proud! This country doesn’t want you to remember, so here’s a reminder: Don’t ever forget to love your Blackness unconditionally. What makes you proud to be Black?