My mother used to tell me that some black people still don't realize that they are free. That was often the problem I ran into. I realized I was free to go wherever I wanted, live however I wanted and befriend whomever I wanted...Unfortunately, a lot of the people I met were still in the box. They were not thinking as free people. They still saw the world in places they could and could not go. I was told I couldn't trust my best friend because she was white. I was told my love of sushi was abnormal...This has been my struggle my whole life. If you look at my profile pic, I'm clearly Black. But when I open my mouth my voice and manner of speech doesn't match what some people think a Black girl should sound like. My thing is, I don't believe in those boxes that a lot of Black people put themselves in. I don't talk like a white girl, I talk like someone who learned how to read when she was 4 and spent the next 20 years reading over 1,000 books and absorbing every bit of knowledge that she could comprehend.
And so I spent most of my K-12 life as an outsider with few friends, all of whom were also outsiders who were different in some way from what Black people were "supposed to be". It wasn't until college that I met other Black people like me, who had white friends and watched "white" movies and listened to "white" music and read books about "white" things, without thinking of these things as abnormal or traitorous because they weren't trying to be white, they were exorcising their freedom to do whatever the fuck they wanted to without it being analyzed. Don't get me wrong, there are definitely Black people out there who wish they were white and try to imitate, but you're not going to be able to tell who they are by looking at their Ipod or their Netflix queue.
I hate, hate, hate, being put in a box. As if it isn't bad enough that some white people put Blacks into stereotypical boxes, we do it to ourselves, too, and it's at the point where I think that it affects how young Black people mold their entire lives. Leave that shit behind in high school! We're free now, but we're still slaves in our own minds, and I think that it's killing us.
Some boxes I don't fit in:
I don't read urban lit because it's a terribly written glorification of a life that most are struggling to escape. Instead, I read damn near anything that sounds interesting, no matter who writes it, which is why I have 2 main Amazon wish lists that have more than 100 books each in them just waiting to be devoured.
I listen to an eclectic mix of music that includes a little bit of everything but instrumental music, because I need to be able to sing off-key to whatever I listen to, and I'm shying away from rap and hip hop because I'm less able to ignore it's hatred of Black women.
The high majority of movies that I watch are by white writers, directors, and feature white actors. This is mainly because most of the movies produced are like this, but also because, well, frankly, most of the Black movies that Hollywood chooses to produce and promote suck donkey balls. There are some indies, like A Good Day to be Black and Sexy and others that I plan to watch, and some classics that are queued up that I'll be reviewing, and the occasional wonder that comes out and no one sees like The Great Debators, but overall? Suckville. I'm sure the good stuff is the stuff we never see, but Black Hollywood needs to form a collective and make some good movies that aren't romantic comedies, because I hate romantic comedies, even if they involve pretty Black people. Also? Can't stand that Tyler Perry shit, and he's the only director consistently hiring Blacktors and Blacktresses every year.
I date inter (and intra) racially. I've always liked men of all races; with most people, it usually depends on the people they spend most of their day with. When I was in elementary and middle schools, both mostly Black and Latino, I liked mostly Black guys. High school was high majority white, so I had crushes on white guys (who didn't know I existed). College was a grab bag; a white partner in acting class, an Indian TA, a Argentinean cutie, several Black guys, a couple of other Latinos...basically men of all races may apply, and I'm likely to date someone who I'm working with or, if I manage to create some sort of social life, someone who I'm friends with. I think that a genuine connection is something that is hard to come by nowadays, so why should I ignore a possible connection with someone of a different race because of what others will think?
My thoughts on interracial friendships are the same. Last year I had the experience of forcing a friendship with a Black woman (Smokey) where there wasn't really an instant connection, because we were doing hard work together that would have been much easier if we were close. Even though I care for her and believe that we're friends now, it wasn't real then for either of us. We don't have a lot in common. On the flip side, I started working with a white woman my age a couple of months ago and there was an instant friendship connection; when I start running my mouth about all sorts of random stuff (Like race! Without banging my head against a wall!), it means that I like you. Friend!
Basically, my goal in life is to die happy with the life that I've led. Not satisfied. I mean I'm-so-happy-take-me-Lord-there's-nothing-more-for-me-to-do-on-this-Earth happy. My own mother hasn't been able to keep me from making decisions that I think will lead to this happiness, so nobody's close minded box is going to keep me from it either.