I’m Not White
Do not persecute me. Please do not persecute me.
I am a black male attending university. I am in my senior year. I have interests in urban planning, environmental technology, music, journalism and film. I play 3 or 5 instruments depending on whose counting. And if you’re willing to work with my I’m even fluent in Portuguese.
All of these details are pretty trifling though, when taking my race into consideration…..
Wait, what? Race doesn’t have anything to do with who I am as a person, the kinds of friends I make, what I’m good at, the kind of job I get after graduation and how much I make at that job.
Let’s Take a Walk
I’ve always been black. As a result, I’ve always had to think about race. Growing up I didn’t just watch TV, like the Simpsons or Seinfeld. I watched animated shows with really snappy and erudite things to say about race in America and characters to act them out and comment on the dearth of black bodies on American television. I’ve even watched shows set in New York City that don’t feature any black people, really, and the third or fourth most famous person from that show’s claim to fame is being spastic on and off the camera, as well as racist and indignant on stage and hence probably off of it as well.
I don’t look at entertainment or the media with a welcoming eye. Not anymore. It’s not easy to be on the Internet and see race relations play out at a snail like pace while I’m talking about possible worlds and gene therapy with my friends, because, why not? After all, I study philosophy, and my friends are from all over the place (U.S.A., the Americas, the World, what-the-fuck-ever).
There are too many problems and impending disasters in the world today, and unfortunately in America, one of them is another young black man dying from gun violence. Unfortunately another after that is the incapability of Americans think about race violence constructively.
A lot of loose ends here. What are we going to do?
Well I think the real question is what does learning look like? And then after that it’s what does dialogue look like, and then constructive dialogue. Who needs to talk? Get them to talk with each other. What’s the problem? Get a sense of, maybe, the 5 or 10 words Americans associate with black America and do something with it. One of those words might be strong, another might be burden and yet another might be wisdom. I’m not sure.
All I can say is that my experience as an artist, data analyst, student and writer has been shaped by my race. Logically this makes sense because I’ve been aware of my race all my life, and hence what kind of culture I end up associating with or am associated with/lumped into even if it’s not totally up to my will all of the time.
So, there you go. I have a double consciousness. I’m not white but I’m also not angry about it. We all have something to bear in this world, and for me it’s being a more capable person because of my black skin. I carry the torch #BlackExcellence