Am I Really Black? Growing up Biracial in a Stereotype Driven Society

By: Taylor Sariah

I am black. I’m just not black enough. I’m not black enough to understand racism. I’m not black enough because I don’t blast gangster rap. I’m not black enough because I speak like a white-girl. In fact to the black community I am “White-Washed.” I’m not black enough because my hair is real. I’m not black enough because my mom isn’t black. I’m not black enough because I excel in my schooling. But most importantly I am not black enough, because I have privileges.” I mean, I am black, but just not “black black.”

I don’t go a single day without someone of the black race scolding me, telling me, “You should appreciate the fact that you’re not FULL black.” But what’s the difference? What is there to appreciate? The fact that people automatically assume that I am of a foreign bloodline, because god forbid that I am full black there’s no way, I’m too pretty?

People use the phrase, “You must be mixed” way to often as a form of endearment, but little do they know it is an insult. It is an insult to my blackness and it’s culture. That individual is insinuating that my beauty only comes from the non-black part of me. I am not beautiful in spite of my blackness, but I truly believe I am beautiful because of it.

I have to live everyday with the automatic assumptions of being narcissistic, because that’s how all half-black girls act, right? We think we are too good for the black community, so we simply just trot around like we’re the sh*t, waving our hands away at the boys that try to get at us. I shouldn’t complain about my non-blackness, because “REAL” black girls undergo struggles that because of my non-blackness I will never be able to come to understand.

I must admit, there are terms and slang that were never used against me, because I’m not “black black.” I was never teased in High School for being that ratchet black girl with the weave or the ghetto black girl with burnt skin, but I was teased to the point where I was made to believe that  I was not truly black.

Comments consisted of; “You don’t sound like a black girl.” “You don’t listen to rap, that’s interesting.” “Your hair is real, you don’t know the struggle”, “Your Dad is still in the picture.” “You’ve never had soul food?”  “It’s okay though, you’re not full black. So we can’t expect you to be black.”

Comments like this hurt me like no other. I started to question my blackness. Can you believe it?  “Am I black? Or have I let my second culture take over my opportunity to be black?” I guess I do kinda sound like a white girl. Scrolling through my music playlist; Country, pop, classical…ect. Oh wait, I do listen to Eminem, but never mind, He’s white, so it doesn’t count.

I’ve never had 5 hour long hair appointments so maybe I really don’t know the struggle. My dad. Still here. Is that a thing, for a black man to run out on his family in order to say you’ve fully lived a black life in a black household? I mean, I like fried chicken, but all that gumbo stuff doesn’t appeal to me. But don’t forget I do like fried chicken, that counts right? You know what, maybe they’re right. I am only half black, so technically I’m not black.

But wait… Let’s take moment to step back and think about my life. In the second grade a white woman approached my mother, sister and I, and asked my mother, “Are those your daughters?”

“Yes,” my mother replied.

“You know they’re black, right?” MY MIND WAS BLOWN. What kind of person would point out such a thing like that? I was pissed, as was my mother. My sister, well she was too young to understand the situation, but in that moment, my blackness truly came to light, I was black.

Another time I was at a restaurant standing right beside my mother as she ordered her food. When she finished, the woman taking her order looked at me and said, “I can help you next young lady.”

I stared at her and said, “I’m with her. In fact she is my mother. It’s 2016. It is time for you to realize that biracial marriages and children exist.” Her face turned red and my mother scowled at me, but that’s just who and how I am. I’ve gone through way too much as a half-black individual for me to just let things slide anymore. It is time for the world to know that being half-black does not make my life any easier. In fact, it is just as or maybe even more difficult as being a “real” black girl.

Whether you are light skinned, dark skinned, fast or slow, smart or dumb, educated or not, whenever you or I walk down the street we are all grouped into the same category: “Black People.” There is not a sign on my forehead stating that I am of another decent as well. To the public eye I am black.

It is time for Black people to realize that we are the ones separating ourselves into categories that the rest of the world has become accustomed to. All this Team Light Skin and Team Dark Skin stuff  is a bunch of nonsense. Black is Black. It saddens me that the black community feels the need to set up this social class within our OWN RACE.

Just think about that for a second. While the rest of the world is already throwing stereotypes out at us, we think it is okay to start some of our own amongst our own people. Racism still exists, so we as a whole need to come together and stop all this Full-black, Half-black, Light skin, dark skin, ghetto white-washed talk. Because all though you may not realize it, we are beginning to become racist within our selves.

Know that your black does not have to be like the next individuals black. Your black is yours and no one elses. You were born with the blackness and culture that you have so that you could be you and not what the black community or the rest of society wants you to be. Next time you see a black person do not single out what makes them beautiful in spite of being black, but rather the fact that their black is beautiful. Another persons blackness, whether they be, full, half or even a quarter does not take away from your own. Love your black. Because I know I do.

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Breanna
6 years 5 months ago

….Pointing out the fact that you are biracial, doesn’t equate to “not being black enough”. A common thing I hear amongst biracial people. You are not ONLY black, you are biracial. I think it’s disrespectful to only want to be called one race when you are two. For generations, white ppl easily cast biracial ppl off as “black” yet none call them white.To the world you are only “black” when it’s convenient to them. But they will quickly choose you over a black girl. For generations, biracial ppl are/were seen as the “better” BLACK person. Which is why In order… Read more »

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