The Way I Love My Blackness

I have written that we can love each other the way we love our blackness, but what does that mean? Can we look at the multitude of shades that we are and define the way we love each? Does our blackness come with an instruction book, does it tell us that we should favor lighter skin, or is dark skin the prize some seek? Does the texture of our hair make us more or less attractive, which is a very multifaceted question with so many people wearing their hair natural at the moment? Has the natural look leveled the playing field in our quest for beauty? Does size matter in the search for the perfect mate, are we so superficial that the outer package is more important than the content of a person’s character? Where does our sense of understanding of our blackness begin? How is that sense of blackness relayed to our children now, as opposed to 1963? When our black boys leave the house, are we using the same language used in 1950 out of fear that our child might not make it home?
In 1950 we warned our sons not to be disrespectful or do anything that would anger any white person. Today we are telling our sons not to show any aggression towards law enforcement officers. Make no sudden moves, so you are not murdered. The parallel is chilling to the bone. So, having asked those questions, where do we learn to cultivate and believe in our blackness, and does hearing that we were Kings and Queens in Africa, give our young people a false sense of entitlement. Yes, that is a stretch. However, I have heard young brothers and sisters say we used to be Kings and Queens in Africa. It incites frustration in me because our people are fantasizing about Africa, and we are living poor in America. Many of our families are living under the poverty line, way below the poverty line! So, how do you tell a child who has not had a meal in three days that his blackness is something of pride, and make him believe it? If he can read, he reads the stories about the inner cities, the black on black crimes that seemingly never stops. T.V. showing the obscure half-truth of our people, and we are told we do not want better. Is there any child of any color that does not need the necessities in life? Why would black children want less? Does he believe his parent (s), or a society that labels him everything dark and wrong? If we tell a child you love them the way you love your blackness, what will his tired and angry eyes reflect when he looks up at you? Will he understand the meaning or the impact of what those words are supposed to represent? In the inner cities of America, our children are walking around in a butcher shop. There are the kids who make it out academically. Then we have the who are athletes, and they find their way out. Then we come to the largest group of kids who struggle. These are the kids who live with hopelessness. They are the kids who are slinging drugs to help feed their families, robbing people, and starting a life in and out of jail and prisons. Our young ladies fit into each category, but they are the more significant part of the first group. They are not perceived as threats, and they have flourished academically. However, there is a systemic process in which our sons are steered away from higher learning. In the end, we have fallen short in trying to give each child a chance, not a handout, a chance! I am here chastising myself because I ask questions that I have never had to answer. I have never walked the inner city blocks wondering what my future held. I have never known the fear of being afraid to go home.

It does not matter if you are light-skinned with good hair, or dark-skinned with a beautiful face if you are hungry, and you have to sell your body to eat, your perception of loving your blackness does not come to mind. Sex, drugs, rapes, beat downs, arrests, murders, child abuse, incest, homelessness, and foster homes are all avenues by which loving your blackness gets stripped from you. If you tell a child, “you love them the way you love your blackness.” Don’t be surprised if they look at you and ask, “what’s that?”

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