My Peach Crayon and Brown Crayon Friends: Never Doubt the Pride of My Chocolateyness

Someone said something to me the other day that made twitch with WTFrackness:

“You know, even though you try to act like you’re not black, your pictures of you don’t lie.”

Sigh.

It’s the same thing I’ve heard over the years in different ways, over and over again. You act white, you sound white, you’re forgetting that you’re black. I assumed you date only white guys (with the unsaid “because you’re a oreo”). Shouldn’t you know this (because you’re black)? Or the most mind-boggling of all: oh, I forgot you were black.

*looks in the mirror*

Hmm, milk chocolate skin, non-artificial big beautiful lips, and a badonk that needs tail lights.

Hmmm, yes, I’m still coloring with the brown crayon.

I guess it all has to do with stereotypes and how people believe a black person should behave. And how I forget that I’m supposed to be a walking, talking caricature of a black female. I blame my mother.

See, the mother is Hispanic and Black. And you would think this would grace her with some innate rhythm. Uh, yeah, not so much. The only thing my mom can do is move her feet side to side. Seriously. I’ve seen her do this on the dance floor. And it’s not even always in rhythm to the song, this most basic of the basic 2-steps. So there’s strike one.

Strike 2 is that along with no rhythm, she is a geek. It doesn’t matter that she grew up in the hood until she was 20 or so. She speaks like it, much to my horror, and I constantly am correcting her. But even with only a high school education, the woman in her spare time likes to read, write poetry, create inventions for her dream kitchen, and watches sci-fi and supernatural shows. This woman produced one child that thinks she’s Japanese and draws manga, a son that can create his own video games and is a math whiz, and me who loves to write poetry, short stories and dreams of one day finishing her own supernatural book series.

So, growing up that way, and being a complete and utter nerd, I didn’t learn all the stereotypes I was supposed to live up to. I can’t do the whole neck swivel thing. My rhythm is a learned thing from watching other black girls so I never looked like a complete fool on the dance floor. I’ve never owned a pair of apple bottom jeans. I can’t stand Tyler Perry movies, or the show The Game, or the so-called African-American section in the bookstore. I know more about anime than I know about BET (although I do love hip_hop, well before now; see this post:  http://dimensionthe5th.com/2013/04/04/frack-me-im-getting-old-losing-my-love-of-hip-hop/ ). I’d rather have Riesling than Moscato because Moscato is just too sweet, and I need my wine to have some kind of bite. Even though I’ve fought singing along in the past around my peach crayon friends, yes, I do know all the words to Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing, and Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. Give me a couple of glasses of wine and I’ll stand on the table with you and sing along.

But does that make me not black? Or does that make me an individual. Contrary to belief of some, I don’t want to be white. Growing up, in the suburbs in mostly white neighborhoods did confuse me for a while, and make me pessimistic about life in general. I didn’t look like my friends. They didn’t understand that my hair wasn’t straight like theirs. That my lips were pretty much my whole face until I grew into them. But I grew up and grew to love myself and my looks. Frack, now I’m quite vain about them.

But that doesn’t make me not black. Being able to speak without slang and ebonics does not mean I’m trying to be white. It means I was taught to talk correctly by my schools, my biological sperm donor, and my mother (even with my mother’s articulation issues. I love that woman!). Just because I’m not interested in most black dramas/ comedies, etc does not mean I’m not black. Just that black people need to make more sci-fi/ fantasy stuff for me to watch!

I like myself the way I am. I’m not apologizing for it.

cup of tea

Although it makes me twitch, its YOUR (whoever you random people may be) problem for trying to fit me in a box. Nobody puts baby in a corner and all that.

Funny, this whole post reminds me of the saying “I don’t have to do nothing but stay black and die!”

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Don’t Feed Me BS… It Tastes Funny or Taking the Interwebs Seriously

So… After my Monster Teen(* patent pending*) made his YouTube Harlem Shake video, I actually started looking up some others. Didn’t impress me, but maybe that’s because it’s not my egg up there. I wasn’t into planking, because that’s just some special moment helmet and cape stuff to me. I liked Gangnam Style because I was over in Asia when it happened, and had been there for so many years that I couldn’t help but immerse myself somewhat in their culture.

But back to what people are already saying is played out. You know, one of the first things I asked my M.T. was if he knew what the real Harlem shake was. “Yeah, but this is just a fun thing that people are doing.”

Bam! Out of the mouths of babes, or monstrous teenagers.

But some people, my brown crayon color people, are completely upset! It’s a mockery, it’s peach crayon people stealing what makes us, us! As on the YouTube video interviews of the people of actual Harlem say: the Harlem shake is a way of life!” It’s *gasp* racist!

For serious?

Are we for serious here?

One comment I read in an online discussion about Harlem Shakemggedon says it best:

“The Black American Legacy is anger with no resolution. That needs to change.”

Let me clear something up real quick before I go on. I am proud to be black. I like my skin, I like my big lips, I love all the things I can do with my hair, I love my smooth voice, I love that my genetics keep me looking young (or as a white coworker likes to say “Black don’t crack!”). I love the way my Ma taught me to cook, and I love my badonk, no matter how “ignant” it may be right now after I gained a couple of pounds. I was raised to be open and understanding of all cultures, while loving my own.

But a dance doesn’t define me. My people’s history is in my genetic chain, but learning that knowledge and then putting down great works here on this planet until I die defines me. If a dance only created 10-30 years ago in your city (the accounts change with different articles) is the only thing you know of your history, along with a story of Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and MLK that you learned in school during Black History Month… Well I pity you.

In fact, I hear Ursula from the Little Mermaid singing the words “Poooor Unfortunate Soullllls!” (which by the way is the same thing that plays in my head when I see ugly babies).

You want to know who you are? Pick up a daggone book. I remember falling in love with 2 books in Elementary school: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, and Elie Wiesel’s Night. Which opened my mind to the plights of my past ancestry and another’s (yes, I read them in Elementary. The nerd is very strong in this one). You want something rooted in your ancient people? There are SO MANY great books on Egyptian/Ethiopian/Kush mythology. You want to know your people? Turn around and speak with the Nigerian braiding your hair that still has family in the “motherland” and watch those awesome Nollywood movies just because they’re awesome. Instead of heading out to the club on Saturday and nursing your headache on Sunday as you are in your finery at church, why not visit one of the many museums that populate the nation that showcase black history, artistry and culture? Or… Just continue to complain about someone stealing your dance, which is somehow a derision of an Ethiopian shoulder dance, while you continue to bump songs about the strip club, and post videos of Lil Boomquisha twerkin at 2 years old. My God.

I’ve seen videos of the Ethiopian shoulder dance. Beautiful, joyful, and steeped in ARTISTRY.

The “original” Harlem Shake, well, I ALWAYS assumed it was thought up after seeing some local crackheads shaking from needing a fix. That’s why seeing my teen in the video have what looks like convulsions in the background… I just said “Meh, close enough.”

My son is going to grow up rich in the history of the people who share his color of skin, along with those who don’t. What is your child going to grow up like, when you tell him/her that their culture was a dance that’s looks like a broken crackhead?

Pooooooooor unfortunate soul!