What does it mean to be Black?


Why do other races want to be black, but don’t want to except the oppression that comes with being black? Being black is something many of us cannot turn on and off like a light switch. Being black is who many of us are and it was not by choice. People have sacrificed their lives for the black community to be at the standing that we are at today.

Being black is not a trend or a Halloween costume. Many people want to take on the culture of black people, but don’t understand how it is offensive. According to an article published in www.usatoday.com entitled, “Is it okay for white kids to dress up as Moana for Halloween?” writer Alia E. Dastagir stated, “Cultural appropriation can be offensive when the person doing the borrowing is privileged, while the person who is being borrowed from is oppressed. For example, a white man wearing dreadlocks is promoted at his job for being aggressive whereas a black man wearing dreadlocks gets told he can’t work there when he applies for a job at the same company.” This is indeed a problem.

Many of the features a black person naturally has is something many people pay millions of dollars for. Why do people pay for features that were and still are frowned upon in today’s society? Black people get bullied all of the time for having big beautiful lips, but many people get lip injections to have fuller lips. The black woman is always talked about for being too curvy and having a large posterior, but people get butt implants and fat transfers. People talk about black people, but get plastic surgery to obtain features that we naturally possess.

Understanding what it feels like being a black person in today’s society is more than marrying someone who is black and having children who are bi-racial. It’s almost as though it is a trend for other races to marry a black person to have children with curly hair and light skin. An example of this would be the Kardashian family. Is it a coincidence that Kim Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian, and Kylie Jenner all have children with black men? According to an article on www.metro.co.uk entitled, “For the love of God, stop telling mixed race couples that their kids will be cute”, a bi-racial writer named Miranda Larbi stated how a Caucasian woman told her and her boyfriend (who is Caucasian) how their children would be so appealing,“ thanks to their array of multi-racial features.” If you really think about it, it is very odd that people fantasize about how mixed race children will look.

In my opinion, having to raise a child that is half black can be challenging. As a parent, you must ensure your child knows the danger that comes with being black. If a child is born to parents of different races (African American and Caucasian), they are not viewed as white and black, they are considered black in this society.

Another misconception of blackness is just because you are reared amongst black people does not mean you are black, nor does it give you the true understanding of what it is like to be black. An individual, who is black, that goes into public with his white friend will automatically be viewed differently. Some people will instantly view him as a thug, uneducated, or a thief while the Caucasian friend is viewed as non threatening. The black man could have attended one of the best universities in the world, but will still be profiled in a negative way. It is sad, but it’s the truth.

Being black is something that I honor. I am amongst a community that has fought and continues to fight for everything that we have, because nothing is ever given to us on a silver platter. We must work twice as hard as any other race to be successful. People want to be us, but aren’t willing to fight for respect and fight for their lives the way we have.