Monday, July 21, 2008

a crackhead's opinion of my blackness

The other night as I was walking outside of 9:30 Club on the night of the George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic show, a crackhead proclaimed the following after hearing me talking with my co-worker:


He said so in a very, very, disgusted tone. I kinda laughed to myself and stopped talking to see if I had heard correctly.

"She talk white! You heard me! She sound white!"

My co-worker and I shared a laugh. "Don't listen to that guy," my black co-worker advised.

"Oh, I don't care. It's whatever. It's funny because . . ."

"You're better than him. He's ignorant," my co-worker continued.

"No, it's not even that," I replied. Truthfully, it's not anything new. It's not earth-shattering news to me that some random crackhead (and many others) may think I talk white. If this were back in middle school, I'd have internalized it and made myself feel shitty and not good enough over it, but I'm 24 now and I truly, honestly, positively, don't give a shit anymore.

It's like people who have a problem with who I date. Does dating a white guy make me, by default, hate black guys? Am I a race traitor? I can understand the jealousy that might come from black guys since I'm dating someone else (who just happens to be a skinny white kid) but I don't think it should mean I'm any less black in their eyes. That's what bothers me more than anything else, I guess. But I don't let my blackness define who I am in any way. I am nothing and everything. I am just me.

So shall I not enunciate properly and throw more slang into my vocabulary? Shall I mix up the tenses of my speech a little bit and inflict a "black" tone? That will surely mean that I'm black, I'm sure. Because it's very important to be black. Then maybe I can get a pass for my other indiscretions such as liking people for much more than the color of their skin and not caring who they are banging in their bedroom or laughing with on the street.

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