This column by my girl Donna Britt has me thinking: what is black? What does that mean? What does it mean to say you're not "black enough?"
Recenly, KLC recalled, in front of some very influential people in the industry, that when we were in college, I sort of "tested" her blackness. She was right. I did. For that I apologize.
There have been many times in my life where my blackness was "tested."There was my simple-ass uncle who nicknamed me White Boy when I was a kid (going so far as to have a tshirt made with WHITE BOY printed on the front) because I was born very light skinned. There was the simple mf white guy in college at the student newspaper who thought he was down as all get out, going so far as to tell me once: "Drew, I'm blacker than you are."
Keep in mind that this was one of those white boys who wore baggy jeans and his cap with a tilt and listened to wack-ass East Coast rap and thought that made him down. As I told him once: "If I took you into the neighborhood where I grew up, you'd get your ass kicked."
But as Donna Britt's piece pointed out, we as black folks are really self-limiting ourselves in our experiences. We don't do certain things because that's not something "black folks do."
When I lived in Colorado - yes, some black folks do live out there - I went hiking a few times and snow shoeing once and that was it. I wasn't into the "outdoorsy" life because, well, I just didn't care. I didn't think black folks got into all that stuff. So I ignored it.
Now? I miss Colorado's natural beauty, the stunning mountains, the rolling hills, the trees. Let me tell you: heaven on earth is Colorado in the fall when the leaves are changing. Amazing. But I didn't take advantage of all of that, and ignored it.
Do I regret leaving Colorado? No. But I wished that I'd have taken advantage of those things when I was there.
I long ago accepted certain truths about myself: I can't play basketball. I don't like chitterlings. Rap music is getting on my nerves. I've read all of William Shakespears stuff and think most of it is brilliant. I like Sting. I bought Jagged Little Pill. I think OJ is guilty. Black folks gave R Kelley a free pass.
None of those things make me any less black.
So, have you ever been considered or called "less black" by someone?
Or "less white"?
Or "less womanly"?
Or "less gay"?
Or "less Asian"?
Or "less Hispanic"?