Don’t Let Hang-ups About “Black” Keep You From the Green

When you’re Black, at least in America, there is a strange line that you are expected to walk. On the one hand, you don’t want to be stereotyped, to have someone think they know everything about you just because of your color. On the other hand, if you don’t fit the stereotype, some of your own people will question your “blackness.”

This often happens when you grow up around people of all races. But it will happen, for sure, the more successful you get. Sometimes, just the very fact of being successful will cause certain people to question your authenticity as a black person.

If you let this kind of criticism get to you, you will find yourself getting distracted from living authentically because you are too busy trying to prove that you are authentic. You might even sabotage your own success because you don’t want to be accused of “turning your back on” your own people. Don’t let this kind of small-minded noise keep you from your money!

I’ll admit, it can be difficult to ignore this kind of criticism when you are younger. Hopefully, as you grow up, and grow into yourself, you become more and more appreciative of who you are, and less concerned with what strangers think.

It is also good to go within and do some self-reflection. Self-hatred is a very real trap that one can fall into. Because the significant institutions in this country were founded on white supremacy, and because even the ugliest forms of racism are still rampant, the system is designed to make you hate yourself. The abuse of racism, communicated through the media and a lifetime of discrimination, delivers the message that there is something wrong with you if you are not white. You are not normal, you are not good, you are not attractive, and your story is a side issue at best.

Growing up with these dysfunctional messages is designed to take its toll on your psyche. You must do your own inner work of self-love, gratitude, and respect for God’s beautiful creation. Once you have done your inner work (which is ongoing), you have the right to right to choose from all the options available to us as a global society. In other words, you can be black or brown and still:

  • Listen to rock music
  • Speak proper English
  • Be wealthy
  • Own property and nice cars
  • Be Republican
  • Own guns
  • Own a business
  • Be introverted
  • Be a nerd
  • Listen to classical music
  • Watch sci-fi
  • Be a vegan
  • Play hockey
  • Listen to country music
  • Not be a good dancer
  • Not like to dance
  • Not watch sports
  • Not be good at sports
  • Not wear designer labels
  • Not know hip hop
  • Not be Christian
  • Not eat soul food
  • Not eat fried food
  • Have white friends
  • Marry outside your race
  • Acknowledge that you’re biracial, or multiracial
  • Be gay, straight, or not sure
  • Watch CNBC
  • Be smart
  • Be amazing
  • Be yourself

Black is not a club you have to join. Black is not bad. Black is not strange. Black is not inferior. Black is wonderful. Black is a gift. Black is mysterious. Black is ever-evolving. Black is beautiful.

Black is a social construct, just as White is a social construct. So, Black – if you are Black – is whatever you say it is.

Peace and love,

Raven

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