I Am Not Black (The Great Symbiotic Relationship)
Actually I am… kind of, just not for the reasons you think. Black is not a race, it is not a genetic trait or a scientific fact. I have no more in common with the black guy next to me on the train then I do to many white people I rub shoulders with on a day to day basis. I mean when you get down to the genetics of it all. Sure, my skin is brown, but many of my features harken to my European ancestry as much as African. When my mother goes to the Pow-Wows you can see the close resemble between her and our Native American relatives. My melanin is strong, but it does not make me black.
I feel that the problem of identity and culture amongst the African-American community is that we have trouble grasping what unifies us. Unlike many cultural groups our ancestry is not our unifier. We don’t share roots the way Irish people or Italians, or Japanese do. We cannot pinpoint a single culture to grasp unto. We were pulled from a vast land of many nations, thousands of languages across an entire continent. We had different cultures and religions that had nothing to do with each other. The point at which our paths intermingled was when “White People” decided that the melanin richness that darkened our skin made us one people. They made that decision for us.
Everything after that point was the struggle. The bondage, the slave ships, the labour, the stripping of culture, the rape, the death the humiliation. Within that struggle rose a culture. “Black” was given to us, but our identity is something we fought for and molded in bondage and in battle, in defeat and triumph.
Being black is simply being in the struggle and being part of the culture that faces, lives through and pushes against the struggle inflicted by white supremacy.
Our culture is in fact in a direct symbiotic relationship with White culture (another manufactured term used to differentiate from black). I want to say that again. White and black culture is a symbiotic relationship, one where black people are the host.
I laugh when someone argues with me that “White Pride” is the same as “Black Pride”. How can someone be proud of a term that was specifically created to separate them from those that they believe to be beneath them. White was only coined to differentiate from Black. So by taking pride in that term, you are taking pride in what it signifies. When I say that I’m proud to be black it is because I am proud to be alive, proud of what my people have accomplished, proud of the struggle we have overcome despite the fact that my melanin brands me….
I won’t take this any deeper yet, just know…. I am not black, at least not for the reasons you think.