What Is This That I Am Not Black Enough?

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I sometimes wonder what being black enough really means. Often I hear comments that I am not black enough, that all this living abroad, that my white husband and mixed children mean that I am not truly black. Who gives some people the authority or the legitimacy to decree whether someone is black enough or not? At the end of the day however, I think that all this talk about not being black enough is total nonsense.

The colour of my skin is black, therefore by my biology, I am black, and will always be so no matter what. I am proud of my colour, proud of my heritage, I love the way my skin glistens when I pamper it with various oils, I love the contrast my skin offers when I match it with vibrant blues, bright yellows and stunning fuchsias, I love that my cheekbones are high, my build is firm and muscular, my eyes are large and my nose broad — I love all these things about me. There is no other colour I would rather be than black — and even if I had a much richer cocoa colour; I would be even more grateful. I am undeniably black and no one can preach that I am not.

The “you are not black enough police” tend to equate being black with a certain type of attitude and behaviour. These seem to include you should only date and marry other black people; you should only listen to a certain type of music, eat certain foods, dance a certain way, and socialize with a specific group only. If this is what it means to be considered black enough, I definitely won’t be joining that club any time soon, because I find it way too restrictive for my liking. I am curious and I revel in discovering the world — I like to meet new people, engage with different cultures, races and diverse beings — I couldn’t confine my social dealings to only those people within the black race — I just wouldn’t be complete if I did. In my view, being black isn’t an attitude or a behaviour — being black is simply skin deep and that is where we need to leave it.

Photo credit: Muhammadtaha Ibrahim Ma’Aji

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I write about racism, but there are so many other things I would like to write about instead. Help me dismantle racism so that I can get to that.

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