Am I A Hypocrite?
I was sharing with my boyfriend how I avoided walking past a black young man walking toward me a few weeks back. I explained how I stepped off the sidewalk in order to avoid walking past him. It was a subconscious action. I expressed how I instantly condemned myself shortly after realizing what I did. I told him how I wondered how I could be so “Black Lives Matter”, but I was uncomfortable to share a sidewalk with a black man.
Therefore I asked him how genuine I could really be about being black, and how supposedly proud if I get extremely uncomfortable being around black men. Am I really “down” if I don’t like being around “too many” black people? Also, how I choose to not befriend all the black students at my university. Am I wrong for that? Am I now stuck up? Am I just as bad as some of the white students and faculty on campus? Am I a “graham cracker nigga”, as Paul Mooney would put it, who subconsciously kisses Massa’s rear. Do I support everything black just because I am black? Am I conditioned to want to support black people?
Maneuvering through these thoughts and the possibility that I maybe prejudice towards my own is quite disturbing. I continue to share my self-condemning thoughts with my boyfriend, and he reassures me that I may not be the only one. He says Its possible to believe black lives matter, but still be terrified to walk through the hood at night. He reassured me it was fine to be pro-black with standards. He reassured me I didn’t have to be friends with all the black students in school. He reassured I wasn’t wrong for feeling uncomfortable walking past the young black man. He understands I have had experiences with black men, men in general, that make me vulnerable on occasions.
This makes me raise the question of how many others like me there could be. Those like me who celebrate our black features; those like me who push for black representation in PWIs; those like me who speak up when racism is speaking louder; those like me who have to walk off a sidewalk, because walking past a black man is uncomfortable.