For those of you that need to catch up on the reason I’m writing this blog; my father is African American, my mother is German, and I have spent a lifetime trying to understand my identity. My father, though he is black, continually pounded into my head that I needed to fit into a white world by being “as white as I can possibly be.” It was not such a confusing concept at the time, because it really didn’t make sense. I was who I was and I never defined that by color.
It wasn’t until I came to the U.S. (having grown up in Germany as an Army Brat) that I realized just how driven by color American society was. Within a short amount of time it was made clear to me that I was considered “different” and not in a good way. Through the years I have tried to adapt and adjust to the idea that an entire society of people not only define humanity by the color of their skin, but thrive on the idea of subjugating people for that very reason. Call me naive, but honestly I just don’t get it.
Living on the fence puts me in a rather interesting position to learn about culture and human nature.
What most confuses me is how within the black culture there is another type of definition based on the shades of skin color. White people see all black people as black people irregardless of what hue their skin is.
Last night I was at a poetry venue with my friend Darla. She walked away from the table for a bit, so I was sitting alone up front when one of the hosts walked on stage and began to engage the audience. I wasn’t really paying attention as I’ve had so much on my mind lately. Suddenly I hear, “hey light skin up front sitting by yourself, I know you gonna holla back.” Really? He defined me in a room full of people as Light Skin? And…he had the nerve to point out I was sitting alone. Sigh…I don’t know which one is worse.
That is all.