the ballad of yellow nikki pt. 1

You’re not black

If you’re bi-racial and one of those races is black, I’m sure you’ve heard it as much as i have: you’re not black. and what’s sad is that the times you do hear “oh yeah, you’re black” is when you act savagely. as a teacher in inner city schools with predominantly black students, they usually allow me to call myself black after i “snap” on someone, meaning when I’m demure, they chalk me up as asian. the one day i raise my voice or get extra sassy, boom, “yeah miss, you black”.

and it’s not just our children who share this sentiment. but even if it was, what’s that doing for our kids’ perspective of themselves?


 i was raised to identify myself as black -full black, full asian- while everyone else was raised to identify me as something else.  i grew up in a black family, went to black churches – the few times i did go – and had black friends.

but when my grandmother carried me around town with her, and we’d visit Sister-such-and-such i’d always hear “that your grandbaby? lawd she got some pretty hair”. and more often than not the granddaughters of Sister-such-and-such would look at me one of two ways: as though i were the scum of the earth getting undeserved credit, or as though i were the epitome of beauty, something to be revered. an angel or a devil. and all at a moments notice.

don’t get me wrong, i am not calling myself gorgeous, or claiming that my complexion and hair texture earn me some points in the world of beauty. but let’s all acknowledge the elephant in the room: light STILL equals right in the eyes of many of the black diaspora. particularly when it pertains to black women. (though i will take this time to acknowledge the whispers that had Obama been “Wesley snipes black” he’d not been given a second look as a presidential candidate.

taraji, Beyoncé, Tyra, Paula p, Nicki, latifah – all this side of the brown paper bag. hell, Rosa Parks wasn’t the first to do what she did, but her fair complexion made her that much more marketable for the movement.

Today, music videos, movies, even commercials adhere to some underlying code for black presence. sit back and watch thirty minutes of television, chances are the only commercials with blacks have the A-typical fair-skinned curly-headed black woman, reminiscent of Tracee Ellis Ross.

and no doubt, this has created a divide among black women, especially those who are bi-racial. no I take that back. this has continued that divide, it really started in the slave fields…or house… which were you?

MUCH more on this later


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