Black Like Me

By: Malcolm Musoni

There are two things that I really hate hearing more than anything: “You’re the whitest black guy I know” and “I wish I was black.”

Those bother me because it’s really an insult to my blackness and who I really am. When someone says they wish they were black, they really don’t want to be black.

There is no way that they could want to be black. They may like and want to appropriate the culture, but they don’t want the racism, the injustice or the prejudice that comes with having this melanin.

They may see sports dominantly filled with black people and think every black person has those skills and want to be black, but they don’t want to be choked to death on camera with no one facing accountability for their actions.

They don’t want this. They don’t want this blackness.

Going to a school where the majority of my classmates are caucasian, I’m often placed into awkward moments such as having to deal with awkward gazes during the discussion of slavery. It’s something that I’ve grown accustomed to.

I wear jorts, Vans and short shorts sometimes. I don’t fit the negative stereotype of what society places upon black men. I’ve had to unfairly become accustomed to people questioning my blackness because I don’t always speak in AAVE (African American Vernacular English) and don’t emulate the street culture of which I have no knowledge or authentic experience.

This year, I’ve had to become accustomed to the lack of justice that hasn’t been served to people who very well could’ve been me had I been in Ferguson, Mo., or New York City at that point in time. I see myself in Mike Brown, I see my autistic cousin in Tamar Rice and I see my dad in Eric Garner.

I turn on the news, see myself and I ask you: Do you really want to be black?

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