I took a leap this month and wrote about a subject I don’t normally address directly in my writing. As intimidating as that was for me, I also knew it would be worth it to discover my own thoughts about race, culture, and identity. I have many, but today I’m writing about race and identity because I’ve been pondering the weight of those words for a few years now. You’ll find my story over at the Mudroom Blog as well as a whole lot of fabulous writers, artists, and creatives talking about these issues.
I’ll be honest with you. This is not a topic I am comfortable talking about. Give me food, authenticity, grace, the bible, hope, almost anything but race and identity and culture. It’s such a hot topic the brings out the best and worst in each of us. BUT, we have to talk about these things because we live in a world of diversity. If I am going to learn to love others well and understand them, then I also need to know and understand myself. For even that to happen, I had to wrestle some subjects I would have rather ignored, but you see I can’t. Race, culture, and identity matter – particularly identity as it’s shaped by where we come from, our environments, and families. Today, I’m writing about what beautiful blackness means to me.
I’m not a white girl in a black girl’s body. I am a black girl in a black girl’s body. Since I was a teen, it bothered me to hear someone call me an Oreo, whether friend or family. I am just as much ashamed at the times I used those words too. I see the phrases as derogatory because they downplay the divine beauty in each one of us. Perhaps it was also what caused me not to see black as beautiful—as though I were a colorless soul of a person. If I didn’t see myself as racially black, then maybe the hurtful words wouldn’t sting so much. Somehow, I had cut off a part of my identity and my ability to relate. But now I find myself on the journey of accepting black as beautiful.
Come read the rest of my story over at the Mudroom Blog. Join in the conversation.