I was reading at another blog today and the issue of acting white came up, I gotta laugh because most of my life I have been labeled by my extended family as acting white. Truthfully when I was young, I probably did go through a phase where I was acting white, I went to predominantly white schools, up until I was in the 5th grade, I was the only chocolate drop in my class.
Even in high school, we lived on the south side of Chicago but I trekked across the city for high school which most of my classes were with white folks. So to some degree I think it was natural that constantly being surrounded by white folks, that well I learned to talk and act like white folks.
Hell, back in the 80’s I was thumping The Police, Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, you get the picture. To further scare my family into beleiving that I was going to be a lifetime member of the confused Oreo club, I started wearing doc Martens, Black trench coats and generally looking a bit strange.
All that said, by the time I hit my late teens race started to be a factor in my friendships/relationships and I met some folks who started me down the path of realizing I was not a Becky and at 17 I read the Autobiography of Malcolm X. That book factored with being introduced to folks like KRS-1, X-Clan and a host of other positive hip-hop really made an impact on me. It wasn’t long after that, that my so-called best friend who was white pretty much grew distant from me and without getting into a long drawn out story, race was an issue. To this day, despite being married to a white man, I hold white women at arms length but that is another post for another day.
I spent the next decade almost, being confused about this acting white shit. See, up until I hit my late 20’s, I never knew too many Black folks who would confess to digging rock music but at the same time being into Miles Davis, Minnie Ripperton, and so on. It was in my 20’s that I finally learned the art of speaking another language aka switching up the speech. Though somewhere along the way in recent years, my true speech has emerged and at times its the King’s English with a sprinkle of what some might call Blackness, based off a recent conversation I had with one of my Maine white friends who asked me a question and I guess my response was Black since she told me, I sounded Black. Duh, I am Black.
Now in my mid 30’s, yes I am partnered to a white man, yes, I live in Maine, that said if you step out of line and try to imply that I am less than Black, I have no problem checking a mutha and letting you know what time it is.
No, all this acting white shit is just one more smokescreen we as Black folks throw up to divide, kinda like how back in the day every Negro and his brother or sister it seemed was claiming a Cherokee relative as proof they were less Black.
Then again, this is a land that at times has rewarded some of us for being less Black, but at the end of the day whether you got good hair/bad hair or speak white or not the reality is we are all Black folks. Just as there is no one way to be white there is no one way to be Black. That said, there are some self hating Black folks who really don’t want to be Black but generally them folks make it clear what they are about and well them brothas and sistas are not who I am talking.
So if you get that acting white label thrown at you, brush that shit off and keep steppin.