The BLACK Conversation
They don’t want to be reminded of truths, none of us do. Remind everyone.
Two nights ago I had an encounter with a young Eastern European (slightly inebriated) woman (friend of a friend) who thought that I was African and that another guy was British because of his accent (he’s Nigerian).
She asked if I was Jamaican after I told her I wasn’t African, to which I replied, “no, I’m American. African-American.” She didn’t get it, “your family had to have come from SOMEWHERE.” Yes, this I know, but I don’t know, “that history has been erased,” was my exact reply, “because my ancestors were enslaved.” She slurred, “don’t say that.” Why not? It’s the truth, dammit.
The Nigerian guy then asked baffled me, a “sista” (his words, he emphasized the A) how it was that I had never identified consciously as American until my first time outside of American soil. Well, this is somewhat of a reality for most of those who share the fraught identity next to the checkbox, “Black/African-American.”
I’ve had this conversation too many times to count, in more than a few states and internationally as well. It’s tiring, it’s tedious, but I cannot let that stop me from sharing the truth about a history and its experiences so often swept aside to the point where people unfamiliar would dare to say, “don’t talk about that. Don’t say that.”
Why the fxck not? Fxckin right.