I had no idea that a simple photo that I took while having lunch with friends would be used to make fun of not only my image, but also the image of Black Americans as well. It all started on an afternoon that I sat with a couple of coworkers and good friends in a PoBoy shop and one friend decided to snap a picture of my other friend and I together having lunch. She posted it to her Facebook and a few weeks later noticed that my image was used for the profile picture of a young white male that she attended school with a few years back. My phone buzzed this morning with screen shots of my image attached to this unknown person’s profile. I then read the comments made by his friends who described my natural hair as cotton puffs and my handmade African Print earrings as Polka dot earrings from JC Penny. Upon discovery of this, I was slightly angered. I knew that this was not the most flattering picture of me, but why was I chosen to be made fun of in such a manner? I would not have cared if they made fun of my ‘nerdiness’ in the photo or used the entire photo, which included my white male companion. The mere fact that I was singled out because of the darkness of my skin and my nappy hair was enough to anger me…enough so that I decided to share with you guys that ignorance still exists and it exists in this generation.
I gathered facts about this boy and a lot of the people who I talked to who went to school with him told me that he was a closet racists and covered himself by taking on the persona of Black Culture. I looked through his Facebook page and saw that he had a hip hop style that mimicked Black Culture and I knew that his infiltration was only that…and he used that to spew hate on his page. The other thing that really bothered me was the comments provided by his friends who also showed their 21 century racist attitudes. Black skin and kinky hair is not anything to make fun of. I am proud of my heritage and the color of my skin. I do not wish to be light-skinned or to have straight hair. I am happy black and nappy and will be that way until I die.
This whole experience was not only an eye-opener for me of course, but it was a lesson that I wanted to share with you guys. Racism is still alive and well in this country, it just takes shape in a different form. I adore people of every race and culture, but others feel the need to make fun of Black American culture. This ‘joke’ not only impedes progress for Black Americans, it impedes progress for America and I will not stand for that. This country was built upon the BLACK hands of my ancestors and for me to just lay over and allow anything of this sort to happen is an insult to their struggle, and the struggle of those who fought and died for us to live in a society free of stereotypes, insults and jabs at the one thing that makes us unique…our heritage…our culture.
One of my favorite quotes is from Ralph Waldo Emerson and I challenge this guy, whoever he is, to comprehend it and attempt to live his life by it: “Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore it if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world.”
I live my life through nonconformity and that’s why I’m singled out and laughed at, but I’ve learned to “Absolve” me to myself, and I “shall have the suffrage of the world”.
Until Next Time
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