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I’m “African American”. My friend is Indian. We’re both brown.
But i’m Black.
In my life , it seems as though my ethnicity has predetermined who I am. Many people don’t mean to , but the typical judgements pop into peoples’ heads. One of my previous teachers found out that I was in double honors math and advanced courses and had a strong urge to let me know how they felt.
“Hey! I didn’t know you were in all these advanced courses! I didn’t picture you to be that.., Well, intelligent. You just don't look the part.” I stood there dumbfounded. Stunned. Stupefied. Why can’t I be smart? Why does the way I look have to be the story of my life?
What year is it?
I bet if I was Asian, I’d be smart. Right? Success would have already been predicted. Asians only make up about 5.6% of our population and they make up 20% of our Ivy League schools. High numbers for a minority, but what about the other 80%?
You know what's funny? People brawl with me over the color of my own skin.
My skin is brown.
“No, you’re black, I am brown.” I held my skin up to the black screen of my computer.
My skin is brown.
“You’re African American so you’re skin is black.” I hold my arm up to their face. The colors are a match.
My skin is brown.
Now you may ask, What’s the big deal? What’s the problem here?
Allow me to enlighten you. By labeling me as something I am not, people perceive me as something I do not want to be. I will not stay quiet and stand down while people spread falsities about me. Why must I be average? Why must I be inferior? Why must I be labeled as black?
Many people accept it. I don’t
Oh and by the way, African American isn’t much better either. At least not in the way we use it now.
“Where are your parents from?”
“How about your great grandparents?”
African American, which is commonly interchanged with black, strongly implies that my only ancestors are from Africa. Only 10% - 14% of the U.S is made up of African Americans and The average African-American genome is 73.2% African, 24% European, and 0.8% Native American, Yes, I am African and North American and European. The correct use of African American is how you would describe a person who has traces of African ancestry and lives in America. If that were truly how we used the term, at least 6 million people who self-proclaimed themselves as “White” are technically African American. Are they Black too then?
Black slams a door in my face, even though it shouldn't. Black isolates me, even though it shouldn't. Am I ashamed to have African ancestors? Never. Am I ashamed of how this world creates predetermined bias based on the color of a person's skin? Always.
We all need to work on shutting down stereotypes. People like me aren't the only ones. Lots of people experience this,but it'd be a little different if this situation was altered.
It'd be a little different if my skin really was black.