Blackett: How Should A Black Person Act?
The black community is still held in chains by your words and actions as racism evolves and adapts to modern times.
Over my short 20 years of life, my skin tone has been the butt end of jokes, a litmus test for how black I am, and seemingly non-existent to some social justice warriors, just because I’m half black and half white. And no—I am not in any way, shape, or form, white passing.
For most of my life I’ve let these incidents go on without saying a word; all those around me have let these incidents occur without saying a word. Silence has solved nothing, and it has only enabled those around me to continue their subtle racism.
“Sam, you can’t say the N-word.”
“Sam, you're the whitest Black kid I’ve ever met.”
“Sam, you’re not Black.”
“Do you even have Black friends?”
“You’re Black and don’t listen to rap?”
“You’re an Uncle Tom and a traitor to your race.”
“You can’t be Black if you’re conservative.”
“You’re the type of Black person who should be shot.”
“Why do you play all the white sports like golf, skiing and hockey?”
Last time I checked, Tiger Woods and Jerome Iginla were still Black.
If any of those sound familiar to you, you have either experienced or perpetuated a micro-aggression, which is “a statement, action, or incident regarded as an instance of indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group such as a racial or ethnic minority.”
I’ve heard these comments from members within the Black community, from so-called “BLM activists” and from people in all stripes of politics. And let me tell you, I have had enough of it.
The irony is the same people who have consistently made these “micro-aggressions” are the same ones posting colourful, anti-racist infographics to their social media. Nor do they seem to know the definition of performative activism: “activism done to increase one's social capital rather than because of one's devotion to a cause.”
But what all these comments share is their underlying motive to question how a Black person should act. This begs the question: how should a Black person act?
The answer is simple: however they want to. No person black or white can tell me otherwise.
In the 21st century, it is despicable to see so many others in the Black community have their identities and their culture constantly questioned. Instead, we should be able to decide for ourselves who we are and how we decide to conduct ourselves.
I have laughed along with each joke about my skin colour, brushed off racist overtones, and allowed my blackness to be questioned, ultimately leaving my identity in shambles as I questioned how I should act in order to survive and thrive.
Society has lumped all Black people into a singular group, a singular group they believe must all act the same, a singular group that must all vote the same, a singular group that has no diversity of thought.
That is how racism survives. We cannot allow society to put us into a box; if we do, racism will continue to thrive.
All of us in the Black community are complex individuals, with different backgrounds and experiences. It’s time for the rest of society to acknowledge that or things will never change.