Why don’t you act your race?

All my life I have lived in various, predominantly white, suburbs. This has shaped the way I talk, dress, and interact with people. I usually shun the typical “black” hip-hop music for alternative, Indie, and Country music. I frequently get blank stares from people when I tell them how much I love the song “Helluva Life” by Frankie Ballard or that I've been to the Houston Rodeo every year for the past 7 years. People often ask, “why don’t you talk like them?” In my mind, I think, talk like who? Oh…you mean talk “ghetto?” Why do I use correct grammar? Why do I find myself solely attracted to white guys? Am I… a white girl trapped in a black girls body?

The controversial term “Oreo” has been used to describe a black person that acts white, but what does acting black mean? Is being “black” the way you talk, dress, or think? I was raised to think that black was just a skin tone to used to describe people that are actually brown! Sometimes I wonder, why I don’t just act “black.” Wouldn't it be easier to succumb to the stereotype of my race: Hang out with the gangsters, do drugs, get pregnant at 16, and become the epitome of a “hood rat?” Yes, it would be easier for some people, but not for me. No I am not tripping; I’m just being myself.

I don’t act ghetto because I’m trying to prove a point or to be a race that I’m not. I act the way I do because this is how I've been raised to act. Being raised by College educated individuals with masters,the pursuit of education was, and is, en-grained in my heart. Education is one of the many passions I have in life, and all I want to do is learn about subjects that interest me. I was never surrounded with “baby daddy drama,” cursing, or “being afraid of the feds. The “Ghetto” is not a place that I am familiar with and it is not a place I have been nor is it a place I will be going. The “suburban” life is the only one I've ever known, and to try to become “black” because that’s how society thinks I should be, would be an injustice to myself and my parents that have sacrificed so much to enable me to live the upper-middle class lifestyle I enjoy. “Society” doesn't have the power to dictate my life, or yours,because society isn't bearing the consequences of our actions and choices.

Everyone makes a fuss about how we now live in a racially “tolerant” society where interracial marriage is accepted and all races can intermingle and , peacefully, coexist. Where do I fall into that mix, and where do you fall into that mix? People don’t understand that you and I have the privilege to act like human beings. We are allowed to use proper grammar, we are allowed to be ambitious, we are allowed to love whoever we want to love and to listen to whatever music our hearts desire; we don’t have to follow the masses or accept the stereotypes of our race. I am not defined by my race; you are not defined your race. I am an individual; you are an individual. If speaking properly, not acting ghetto, and liking country music warrants me the label of an Oreo, then I guess I am a delicious cookie.