It is hard to explain what it is like for me — a middle-class black woman — in a nation that hasn’t yet mastered equality in the years since Robert E. Lee surrendered.
Someone asked, so I will try to explain the best I can.
Being black is being black all the time: for good or not so good, if it is pertinent to the situation or not.
Being black is knowing that your blackness is the first thing most people notice about you.
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Being black is the realization that the color of your skin is the only thing some will ever notice for good or not so good, if it is pertinent to the situation or not.
Being black is being the black woman Amelia and not just Amelia.
Being black is being an unwilling /willing spokesperson for blackness to the world.
Being black is typing the sentence: “the opinions expressed in this commentary are the viewpoints of the writer” and knowing that that’s not how it works in some people’s minds.
Being black is representing all black people when you do something amazing and when you do something awful.
Being black is answering for blackness.
Being black is having to explain it.
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Being black is being overtly or covertly told that the pride you feel for your culture is misplaced or should be suppressed.
Being black is questioning why the beauty of blackness is often overlooked.
Being black is always questioning if this or that thing happened or did not happen because you are black.
Being black is knowing how many black people work at your office, attend your school or work out at your gym.
Being black is sometimes being the only one.
Being black is wondering if the powers that be will let there be two or more.
Being black is nodding your head in acknowledgment when another black person walks into a not-so-diverse room.
Being black is rejoicing when you hear about a “black first.”
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Being black is hoping one day there will be no need to acknowledge a “black first.”
Being black is worrying that the world is not changing fast enough.
Being black is doubting you’ll be around for the achievement of Martin Luther King’s dream.
Being black is wondering if it will be there in time for the next generation or the ones that follow.
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