Monday, October 18, 2010

What Are You?

“What are you?” is one of the most annoying questions I have ever heard and I hear it just about on a weekly basis. I am a black woman with dark skin (think of the brown crayon in the Crayola box) I have dark brown hair that I usually wear straight however its naturally curly (think Tia and Tamera Mowry in the early days) My eyes are guess what color? Brown! So I would think that anyone looking at me would assume that I am a black woman. For the most part people don’t doubt my blackness but they question if that’s the only ancestry I have. Recently I encountered a man at my local Starbucks who just had to ask the question…

Man: Hello
Me: Hi (he’s cute so I’m doing what Belle told me to do)
Man: You’re beautiful
Me: (big smile) thank you
Man: What are you if you don’t mind me asking?
Me: (straight face) Excuse me?
Man: What are you mixed with?
Me: I’m black
Man: Really? No…just tell me
Me: Well if you wanna know the truth…the same amount of Massa as everyone else
Man: Huh (confused face)

This scenario is almost the exact same as what the character Tayiler went through in my favorite book, Behind Those Eyes by T.P. Carter. Most people see this as a compliment. Why? Why must we reject our blackness and cling to “my great great grandpa was a quarter Cherokee”? Be happy with who you are because you can’t change your DNA. And hopefully one day we can get past this.

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