Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Black on black ignorance: Makho stop "acting so white"

Acting white?
 Rev Jesse Jackson is truly the gift that keeps on giving. I honestly respect him as a civil rights leader and not one soul on God's green earth could take away his legacy. However one statement he made a few years ago really stuck with me. Around 2007, Rev Jackson accused then Presidential nominee Barack Obama of "acting white". This was during the racially charged Jena 6 case and Rev Jackson was reportedly upset about Obama’s response to the case.  Rev Jackson's choices of words were quite interesting, because my question at the time was and still is how exactly does one act white?

According Wikipedia acting white is a term usually applied to African-Americans, which refers to a person's perceived betrayal of their culture by assuming the social expectations of white society. Success in education in particular (depending on one's cultural background) can be seen as a form of selling out by being disloyal to one's culture.

Umm say what now? So by this logic, as a black person if you attended to college or further that’s considered “acting white” or selling out? Oh hell naw, this is just plain ole ignorance!

The idea that black people in the United States fit into one neat little package is upsetting. What’s even more infuriating is that we as black folks do this to one another. I’ve heard black people tell me that I act white and I'm always confused when they say that. Just because I don’t walk around swirling my neck, snapping my teeth and using Ebonics it doesn’t take away my blackness.  Black folks come in an assortment of flavors and we vary from person to person. It's impossible to generalize a whole group of people (especially in this day and age) based on years old stereotypes. Yes, as a black person I like rock music, hip hop, country, and R&B but that doesn’t mean I'm acting white. Here’s the truth of the matter, I grew up in the streets of Bed Stuy and the suburbs of Indiana so my life is a mesh of all my previous experiences.

A few years ago I met this was a young man (who shall remain nameless), who seemed to not know that he was black. He didn't have any black friends, didn't date black women, and would even go out of his way to shun black people when he saw them in public. Now this wasn't acting white, this pure self hatred. In my opinion he appeared to hate his race so much so that he wanted to be around white people to erase his identity. À la Michael Jackson adopting white children and calling them his biological children to side step his blackness. In my eyes that is truly a tragedy. Black is beautiful, let’s embrace our unique culture and whatever else we choose to bring in to the fold.

In President Obama's keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, he stated emphatically that "children can’t achieve unless we raise their expectations and turn off the television sets and eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white”

Hello somebody! Thoughts?

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