I remember being at a swim camp in Wisconsin with three of my teammates when I was about 11. We were the only black kids out of maybe 60 campers, and it’s safe to assume that a lot of them had never met a black person in real life.
Some of them were surprised we could actually swim (I honestly didn’t know it was a stereotype at that time), some just stared in confused amazement, and others were surprised that we didn’t speak ebonics.
I was a bit aloof back then, but now I live for moments when I can completely unravel a person’s ignorance. Nothing says victory like making an ignorant person feel like a moron for believing in the stereotypes of any group of marginalized people.
That’s why I’m a fan of this spoken word piece by Tucker Bryant, entitled “Oreo”. I’ve never been called one, but I do know the feeling of being treated like the exception; as if I’m not really “black” because I have a decent IQ and a pretty good handle of the English language.
I will never ever stay silent in a world that expects me to leap out of my own ancestry just to earn its approval. Acceptance means more than looking for a mirror inside somebody else.
(originally posted on No Average Journey)