Proud To Be An African

My cousin once told me that she was not African, she was American. I wanted to cry, laugh, and slap her, all at the same time. We were having a conversation about our parents, and she brought up the topic of how our African parents always say that we are not Americans, so we should stop “trying” to be like them. She then went on to say that she was American because she was born in the U.S and that makes her an American citizen. I stopped her right there because this was the part where I wanted to cry, laugh, and slap her. I opened my mouth and told her this: “You are not American. Technically you may be American, but you are not. Just because you have a little piece of paper that claims that you are an American citizen does not make you a true American. Your culture and traditions are not American, but African. Your parents are telling you the truth. Please, don’t tell me that ‘I am American because I am an American citizen’ bull crap. Do not forget your origins, where you truly come from, and where your ancestors and family members come from. Do not forget that.”

Now I am not going to lie to you and say that I wasn’t in her shoes, when I actually thought that I was not African, but I was American. The reason being is that when I was younger, being African was like a disease. No one in my middle school liked Africans, so I always had to hide behind a hideous mask and tell people that I was American. To this day, I regret that experience and telling people that I was American when I truly wasn’t. I mean, to this day, to many people, being African is like a disease. These are the types of people who believe that there are no cities, mansions, and cars in the countries of Africa, only villages and huts. Sometimes I wonder where do these people learn to be so ignorant and narrow minded. So many stereotypes about Africans that just aren’t true. My eyes finally opened when one of my African friends told me to be a proud African. Now, when people ask me where I am from, with confidence, I would say, “Senegal.” My confidence grows each time I tell someone that I am African.

White America and Color Blindness

When I think of the term color blindness, I think of colors like purple, red, and green. I remember when someone told me that they were color blind. I was confused, and I thought to myself, what colors can’t they see? I immediately panicked, thinking, oh my gosh, does it mean that they can’t see that I’m black? Please don’t laugh at my stupidity. But the odd thing is that after they told me that they were color blind, months later, I started hearing people on TV and on certain videos, saying that they are color blind. Now let me clarify what those people meant when they said that they were ‘color blind’: they cannot see race. You’re probably thinking, um okay… Well let me tell you what I’m thinking: what kind of nonsense and rubbish be this? (In my African accent). How the hell can you not see race? Are you blinded by white America, that you can no longer see color? You can no longer see my dark skin? Oh please.  

These people are uncomfortable about race and they have made themselves believe that avoiding the topic of race and saying that they are color blind only helps us black people. No, actually it does not. It makes us uncomfortable, for the simple fact that you want to ignore my blackness; you want to believe that there is no color in this world, there is only whiteness. Stop. Look at my skin color, and acknowledge it. Don’t look at my skin color and give me that bull crap, “I don’t see race, sorry, I’m color blind.” No, my friend, you are not colorblind, you’re just ignorant and afraid. Just admit the fact that white America has blinded you with its whiteness.
Moreover, for my black people, who choose to let these ‘color blind’ people humiliate and insult you, just please open your eyes, shine your eyes (again in my African accent). Don’t let these people ignore your blackness. Be proud of your blackness and speak up. The next time you see one of these ‘color blind’ people, and they tell you, “I don’t see race, sorry, I’m color blind,” you better tell them this: “You are not color blind. You have what is known as white blindness. You’re blinded by white America. Go to the hospital and get that checked out, my friend.”