Wait, you’re black?

Posted: August 26, 2011 in Ramblings
Tags: ,

Lately, I’ve had some frustrating encounters: I have to remind people that I am black and that makes me different but also the same.

When I go to the doctor for light therapy, I get asked if I’m reacting poorly to it. And I ask, how would I know if I were, which could be interpreted as a dick statement but let’s just be clear, right? And the response is: do you experience any sunburns? Umm…I’m black, I don’t really get burnt and I’m not really sure of what a sunburn entails.

Oh, that’s a sunburn?!? Oh no, I don’t have that problem.

I guess I should be happy I am being treated no differently, right? I will say yes despite how annoying it is to have to ask for definitions of ‘white people’ problems. However, this is not the case with my job where I have to remind people that I’m black, but it doesn’t define me in the way they believe it does.

I have heard from multiple sources that my group believes that I have a chip on my shoulder because I’m black, and one of the only ones in my group. And the way I am given advice is with caution so as not to rouse suspicion of racism and with kiddie gloves. Thanks? Actually, no thanks. I’ve been the only black for all of my primary and secondary school, athletics and in my friend groups…so why would I all of a sudden now have this chip?

I actually don’t, I have an issue with how my group does not know how to handle non-cookie cutter people. I’m different, always have been, but I don’t think it’s based on my race. Hell, black people think I’m weird too. I think differently, I ask questions, and I challenge conventions. I don’t think that’s even race-specific. But my group solves ‘my problems’ by providing me with black mentors so that I can work on feeling integrated into the group.

Perhaps you assess the situation like consultants and say you might be the problem. It’s not race, it’s class. It’s not race, is your close-mindedness. I’ts not race. It’s generational. It’s not race. It’s everything else. If it were about race, I would have left. Now, do I believe that they treat people similarly because they suffer from expectation biases such that all black males in the group have had this problem? Yes. Now it is about race. But it’s only about race because they treat you differently because they assume you feel different.

You should probably ask people…wait, can’t do that…it might be considered racist.

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