Today I am reflecting on Martin Luther King Day. "We are so post racism," I overheard several months ago at a coffee shop, "after all, we elected a Black president."
I tried hard not to scoff too loudly.
We aren't "post racism."
I am married to a white man and as a African American women in the United States (specifically the Bible-belt in the South) this reality is particularly challenging. I feel like I could become venomous about this point. There is some much hurt connected to this reality.
Friends gushing to me about how "they loved The Help" and "They could really relate to the mammy character." Which is another story all together.
I know what it is like to walk the "not black enough not white enough" line. Instead I am trying to hold both worlds in tension. Teach my children about acceptance. Give them an identity as children with African American heritage. Teach them love above all.
I'm livin' the dream as Martin would say
and yet I wonder what Martin might think of my life today
I steady strugglin' trying to figure it out
what I should teach my black children about
Where are their histories apart from being birthed from slaves
will their schools teach them how famous black folk have behaved?
they made things, and wrote things, and changed the the world.
The things these people, my people, have done would make you trip.
But my children are only taught we are stolen people from a ship.
I get told all the time they aren't really "that black"
but the world doesn't see melanin that they might lack.
They got that brown skin that still changes so much
and that curly hair that people ask to touch
I married a white man and my daddy is black
and my husband can't teach them about the melanin they lack
Some days "being black" is just about having brown skin
other days it is about not being "black enough" not knowing where to fit in.
I didn't know there was an order, I've got both white and black kin
They expect us to talk like this, walk like this, be like this too.
I am livin' in a half world, my world is one part them one part you..
So race is an issue for me, you see. I don't know if this is the hope Martin dreamed it would be.
In the meantime while I try and sort all this race shit out.
I am simply going to teach my children what love is about.