When I was growing up, I was always the outlier. Whether it was with my family, friends, or peers, I never fit in. My vernacular was seen as me striving to be “proper”, my grades reflected my nerdiness, and the diversity of my style, music, and palate was just me being “white”. Regardless of what I thought or what my momma told me, I eventually began to believe it was my duty to bury my talents and interests in order to be included.
From middle school throughout my high school career, I struggled with who I wanted to be perceived as and who I was. Even when I came to college, I found myself exchanging my morality for nights on the town. I attempted to align myself with people that fit certain stereotypes. Nevertheless, I always felt like something was missing and people could see that. Despite my best efforts, I was always me. I could not fight my identity.
As a black woman, I should not be prejudged as angry, mean, ignorant, or ghetto. Upon meeting me, I should not be termed “white”. My biggest issue was always being included by my own people. If we want equality and respect from other races, then we should give it to each other. Black lives must first matter to blacks. We must truly stand together as brother and sister, becoming an undivided front. I do not judge anyone for their actions or beliefs. If it does not align with my identity, then you won’t catch me doing it. However, I will love and respect who you are. That is the epitome of inclusion.
Happy Black History Month!