How black is “too black?” How does one know if they are not “black enough?” Does race completely define how someone should act? These questions of personal identity have been with me for quite sometime and I have recently decided to create my own meaning to them. People always say “Be yourself” and “Be comfortable in your own skin” but sometimes society makes it hard to fit the skin you’re in. Family, friends, the media and etc. have influenced our perception of what being black is. I believe some of these ideas have hurt more than they helped. Those people we do not understand we tend to push away and force them to seek comfort somewhere else.
Growing up, I felt that because I didn’t fit the stereotype that I was not appreciated and was often left astray from those that were supposed to be my “brother and sisters.” I was often asked “Why do you talk like a white girl?” and “Why do you have to be such an Oreo?” Feelings of loneliness and anxiety began to surface and the constant confusion of who I was supposed to be was always in the back of my head. People tend to rely on their implicit theories and preconceived notions when it comes to what it means to be black. Sometimes these ideas are not always positive. That is why we should appreciate the diversity within us. The not-so-positive music and movies have created a false representation of what an African American is. Being black is not about gangsta rap, fried chicken and baggy jeans. Being black is about knowing where you came from and looking up to those who have paved the way for us to be accepted into the realm of higher education. Just because someone may listen to predominately rock music, shop at Hot Topic and date someone of non-African descent doesn’t mean they are trying to deny who they are. They are just different, and we should be able to accept that.
So, as far as “too black” and “not black enough” go, we should take a minute and think before we jump to conclusions. We as human beings lack in perfection, but we can make up for it with compassion. We all come from different places and none of us have had the exact same experiences, so do not be quick to label. College is already stressful academically we can help each other by not making it stressful socially.