Why is my blackness in question?

By P. Crowder 

Member of The Frederick Douglass Foundation

Originally posted  Fri, Mar 14, 2014

Recently, many black people have questioned my blackness. Apparently, for some, I’m not black enough.

But, what makes the claim so bogus to me is that our bi-racial president has been accepted as black by the black masses, even though his mother is white and he was raised by his white grandparents.

Some people have said what makes a person black is “the struggle.” What struggle, I ask? What more does Obama know about struggle than me? For a very brief time he lived in Indonesia, but, even in Indonesia, he lived a fairly comfortable life.

Here, in America, he has lived a privileged life, gone to top notch schools and colleges—and he hasn’t even spent enough time around black people to pick up, as one Democratic politician put it, a so-called “negro dialect.”

I, on the other hand, know a little bit about struggle. My family was poor by America’s standards, as were many other black, white, Hispanic, and “other” families that I know. We didn’t have many luxuries. We just had the basics. My family had been on food stamps before there was such thing as an EBT card. For years, we received our monthly allotment of government cheese, rice, boxed potato flakes, powdered milk, and dry cereal from our government taskmasters, in exchange for a small slice of our privacy and a big chunk of our dignity.

I know a little bit about struggle. I’ve lived in crime-ridden and poor Rochester, N.Y. neighborhoods. For those who are familiar with the area, I have lived on both the east side and the west side.

What does Obama know about the likes of Treyer St., Fourth St., Hoeltzer St., Clifford Ave., Flint St., Bronson Ave., Jefferson Ave., St. Simons Terrace, Fight Square, Fight Village, and Orleans St.? Those were my hoods.

I know a little about struggle. I’ve endured both racial and gender-based discrimination.

I’ve been sexually harassed, disrespected, spit upon, and called names.

I know something about struggle.

So, if I have the same sufferings and struggles of other blacks in America, why is my blackness in question?

My skin is black. But apparently black skin isn’t black enough. My jet-black hair is fashioned in locks, but I guess natural black hair is not enough. My lips are full, my nose is wide, my mouth protrudes, and my dress size? Full. But, for some reason, that is not enough! My mother? Black. My father? Black. My children? Black. My husband? Black . . and fine! So, why is my blackness in question?

I will give you a clue. During all the years I voted as a Democrat, I was considered blacker than black. I had been considered a “sista,” down for the struggle. My skin, my hair, my lips . . . black, black, black! My blackness was undeniable!

But, after I realized that I preferred a Republican and Conservative form of government, and began voting as a Republican (denouncing my allegiance to the Democratic Party, the party of the KKK, Jim Crow, and segregation), my blackness came under attack.

Instead of being considered a “sista,” many black people began believing I hated my own black skin. Instead of being down for the struggle, many black people started to think I wanted to see black people struggle. By these same people, I have been considered worse than a racist. I have been called a “sell-out” to my people, an “Uncle Tom.”

I have received all that criticism for believing this welfare state impedes economic growth and minimizes opportunity, and that it does not lift people out of poverty, but instead condemns them to it.

I have received all that hate from people who share my pigmentation, because I believe our rights come from God and not from government, and I exercise that belief with my vote. I have received all that hate because I believe that our federal, state, and local governments should be as fiscally responsible with other people’s money as they expect individuals and businesses to be with their own—and I exercise that belief with my vote. I have received all that name-calling, because I vote my values.

Nevertheless, although names hurt, they don’t define me. I am black because God said it is so, and so it is—and I love my blackness.

Yet, apparently, for some, blackness has more to do with the DNC than it does with DNA!

All this, despite overwhelming documented proof of Democratic racism, past and present, and an outright disrespect and disregard for the dignity of the black man.

So, I cannot let group think, peer pressure, persecution, or bullying inform my personal decisions and inclinations.

My blackness does not depend upon my political preferences. I am black because God said it is so, and so it is.

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