Wednesday, February 4, 2004

An Oreo is a Cookie - Tia

I don’t like offending people. Sometimes, I should definitely think a little longer before I let things come pouring from my mouth. But I’m usually not out to piss people off with my mouth. So please know that what I’m about to expound on is not meant as a slight to any of our readers. If anything my commentary is meant to uplift and empower.

White girl, Oreo, Wanna-be, Sell-out. Those were some of the words that littered my adolescence and teen years. It’s funny how something that happened so long ago can still stick with you. I remember in the ninth grade I was sitting with my white friend Deanna talking about the naughty thing she had cut school to do with her boy friend when one of the blacks girls in my English class walked over to talk poo. AGAIN. Now this particular group of girls was always giving me a hard time. My mom said they were just jealous. Not to sound conceited but they probably were. I was tall, athletic and new to the school. I was fresh meat to the boys and not checkin’ for any of them, which made me all the more appealing to the males and a bigger target of hatred for the girls. But when you’re 14, you don’t see it as jealousy. You just see it as mean girls giving you crap all of the time. Anyway, the girl walks over and asked me, “Do you think you’re white?” I looked her dead in her eye and said, “I will whoop your a** and show you how black I am.” I didn’t hear too much from them after that.

The whole situation was a prototype for many that would follow. If you are anything like me, and you probably are if you’re reading, you’ve got your own stories to tell. You probably spent your life trying to “defend” your blackness to everyone. And after a while you probably just gave up. Here’s the thing, not arguing is one thing succumbing is another. Oreo is not a term of endearment. It’s a euphemism. But I’m noticing a lot of people coming around our way using the term. And it’s really starting to bother/concern me. I am BLACK. I will forever be BLACK. I am a BLACK WOMAN. Yes, I enjoy most things rock (songs, stars, boys.) Yes, I enjoy skaters, skully caps and anything Tony Hawk endorses. Yes, I enjoy the company of white guys from time to time. But I also could never live without my sistahs and brothas. I couldn’t imagine not having the heritage that I have. I wouldn’t choose to be anything but who I am: A black woman. Just because I don’t do the stereotypical doesn’t mean that my black card is revoked. The same goes for everyone last one of our black girl readers. You are not WHITE on the inside. You are black through and through. Before the foundations of the world, GOD decided that you would be black.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you
Jeremiah 1:5

You are not any less black because you prefer Maroon 5 to 50 Cent. The greatest thing about being human is free will. You are free to be whomever you want. If you want to be a rocker chick you can. If you want to be bourgeois you can. No one walking this earth has the right to define you. But you can never forget where you came from. The freedom to be who we are was a hard fought battle by people with hues like ours. Discounting that spits in the face of everything that we are and everything they were.

We’ve all heard it at one time or another. One of our well meaning but misguided white friends will say, “Oh Tia, you’re whiter than me.” Where is it written that black means baggy clothes, bad grammar and vernacular, and obscenely loud rap music? Apparently, I was absent the day the “How To Be Black” handbook was handed out. I know this may sound harsh but white does not mean right. But neither does black, Asian or Hispanic. Just because I don’t conform to the image of what the media has perpetuated as the “black woman”, gum popping, bad attitude, finger wavering, neck moving, it doesn’t mean that I’m not proud of my blackness. Neither does my non-conformist stance give anyone the right to try to measure me against some fictitious scale of “black.” In the immortal words of DMX, “Baby, I am who I am, I’m goin’ be who I be.” I’m going to be a black woman until the day I die. And regardless of the naysayers, so will you. Let the other people do what they do while you do you. I will say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud.

Now I must get back to listening to Fefe Dobson.

Be, be yourself
Don’t let the losers tell you what to do
Be no one else
‘Cause if you don’t then who is going to?

Kevin Max – Be


Ann said...

"How To Be Black" - totally a real book now! Just came out like last week. So, problem solved, right? ;)

Nu Nu said...

I completely agree! Great post btw! I can completely relate. I've come to the conclusion that society likes to categorize others no matter how wrong it is. Just gotta ignore it and move on because as I tell people, 'to like me is to know me'!