This is why I didn’t see 12 Years a Slave. I don’t need to fork out cash to watch reality tv. I am black. I am a woman. I live this. I am completely disinterested in trying to prove that I am just as [fill in the blank with positive attribute] as my lily hued brothers and sisters. I do not care if I make you uncomfortable. I am not politically correct. If you don’t like me, ignore me. If my being, BLACKNESS INCLUDED, offends you, well you’re just going to have to get over it because…
I’m so black I literally become the color of a honey roasted almond in the summertime
I’m so black I have 36in portraits of Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, and Malcolm X hanging up in my house.
I’m so black I forced myself to read Invisible Man even though I found it overly verbose just because it was written by one of the ONLY black authors we got to study that semester of college, and I wanted to be able to dominate in group discussions even though I hate group discussions. I wrote my final paper on the juxtaposition between seeing/light and blindness/dark and got an A and a note from my professor expressing how much he enjoyed my informed and enlightened, fresh perspective on the novel.
I’m so black I eat my mama’s fried chicken like it’s going out of style. I believe watermelon was sent directly from God. I always make a to go plate. I eat while I walk in places other than the fair.
I’m so black…have you seen my hair? Have you seen my lips? I have you seen my body? There is nothing straight, nothing narrow, nothing understated, nothing petite about me other than my height. All of my features are round, rotund, dominant, and prominent. All of them. And all of those round, dominant features are fearfully and wonderfully made. All of them.
I’m so black, a part of my heart weeps every time I’m forced to face the harsh reality that I live in a country that teaches people who look like me that the only redeeming qualities we have are the ones best suited for the entertainment, amusement, and imitation of the mainstream (read: white people).
I’m so black that I have lived through and experienced all of my mother’s and my grandmother’s heeding of the disparity between my perceived worth and that of my peers.
I’m so black that like my mother and grandmother, I have somehow managed to be a decent enough human who shows empathy to others and keeps her head, self esteem, and standards held high while navigating a perpetually hostile world in which I am viewed as an inferior species.
I’m so black I keep on smiling when I come through, and I cry when I need to.
I will never listen to a voice that tries to tell me that it is my duty to prove my humanity despite my blackness. My blackness catalyzes my humanity. It has made me colorful, and beautiful, and resilient, and empathetic, and strong, and angry, and passionate, and sorrowful, and resourceful, and creative, and adaptive, and afraid, and wise, and triumphant, and curious, and alive. And that is what it is to be human.
Rest In Peace to those whose humanity was, unfortunately, overlooked. We won’t stop fighting for you.