Am I Black Enough For You?

By Jazmyn Matthews

You know what phrase I honestly thought would’ve died out by now?

“Talking white.”

I’m sure most of us have heard it or at least variations of it.

“I don’t really consider you black because you talk white.”

“Do you have any black friends?”

“You don’t talk like a black person.”

You’d think that people wouldn’t still be using that against each other. I mean it’s 2015. Speaking proper English and knowing that ‘speak’ should’ve been used up above rather than ‘talk’ shouldn’t be the deciding factor of determining what race someone ‘acts’ like. But, sadly, that is the world we still live in.

And, it’s super annoying. I’ve learned to tune it out for the most part. I’m pretty used to hearing that I should’ve been born white because of the way that I speak. The funny thing (or sad depending on how you look at it) is that it’s not just said by friends or even strangers.

It’s also said to me by family members. I mean, most things coming from the members in my family can never be taken too seriously. We joke a lot. You really need to have thick skin around them.

I love them to death, trust me. But, if I hear “How come you don’t act more black?” one more time from my uncle or my aunt dictating the kind of music that I listen to, I’m going to scream. It’s not difficult to ignore my so-called friends when they feel the need to comment on it, but it kind of takes on a different meaning when it comes from a member of the family.

I mean, if someone that close to you thinks that about you, what does that say?

What does that even mean? I was recently told that I’m not “really considered black” because of the fact that I used the word “fleek.”

Mind you, I don’t really care for the word and I only used it in passing as a joke. But, that person said, “See? And when you use words like that, I don’t consider you black.”

How am I supposed to respond to that? Do they actually expect me to cease saying words to prove my ‘blackness’? Or am I supposed to say words that are sure to prove the fact that I’m the race that my melanin says I am?

How exactly does this work? What is the expected response when someone is told that they’re not acting the race that they were born? “Oh, yeah you think that I’m not acting black enough so let me go do a bunch of stereotypical things and prove you wrong.”

That’ll show them.

I know you’ve probably read so many things about this, and it’s just redundant at this point to continue talking about it. I agree, but that just proves how much it’s still happening.

It honestly doesn’t make me mad anymore. It’s more annoying than anything to still hear the same thing over and over again. I mean, at least get creative about it. Put your own little spin on it instead of saying the same thing that everyone else seems to be telling me.

I’m not sure that I’m anyone’s definition of ‘black’, or whatever and that’s fine with me. Last time I checked, being any race wasn’t something that could be compiled on a list and defined by a couple of different things.

And shouldn’t that be a good thing? Does anyone, any culture, anything want one thing to be their deciding factor, the only thing that represents who they are?

Maybe some people do, but I sure don’t. I’m a black female that has a mixture of Whitney Houston, Rascal Flatts, and Rich Homie Quan on her Spotify playlists. And, correcting other people’s grammar is a favorite pastime of mine.

Define me now.

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