Racism And African American Culture

2415 Words 10 Pages
I am a white femme presenting human. I don’t feel like it is my place to define what being black means- or on the other hand, what it doesn’t mean. By no means do I want to broaden the culture of stereotyping folks based off of their own personal identity. In our class this semester we have talked at length about black artists who have been judged based off of how black they are or how black they aren’t. It isn’t easy to define “what black is, and what black ain’t”. Everyone has a different upbringing and a different story. However, there is some sort of breadth to the fact that existence can be collective and experienced by multiple people in a parallel way. This creates a confusing dynamic- where does the line of stereotyping end and the …show more content…
In America where systemic racism is well and alive, is it fair to say all black folks are affected by this? Is it fair to say that this is something that is part of the black identity? Or do these assumptions add to the problem? These are questions that are not easily answered and in my opinion cannot be answered by someone who is not part of the identity being questioned. In this essay I want to explore a few of my own personal experiences that America has viewed on a wide scale as being signifiers for “blackness”. I will look at how this has contributed to my growth in regards to learning about African American culture and literature. I would also like to explore what it means for folks to live in a country where stereotypes and words are assigned to you at birth. I do not want to answer the question of what is black and what isn’t- rather I want to think about what makes up an identity, what signifiers are forced upon one, and if attributes equated with an identity become a part of an identity even if they are not …show more content…
On one hand this is a privilege I have: I never have to defend myself or be asked to speak on behalf of certain qualities of my identity. On the other hand it erases a huge part of me- it erases where I have come from, and what I have gone through. I don’t necessarily want to scream at the top of my lungs that my brother is a crack addict and former drug dealer, but sometimes I wish people wouldn’t make assumptions about the privilege I have. I constantly suffer from the trauma my brother has created in my life, and I feel invalid when people can’t see my story and my truth. As I type this out I realize that this is something people of color must feel on an even larger scale- I do not want to generalize or perpetuate stereotypes. However, systemic racism and oppression have created a culture in our society that forms assumptions about people of color as an entire group. I know that if I am feeling unsettled by my own experience, that it must be safe to say that the generalizations society aims towards people of color are not only unsettling but also traumatic due to the wide scale of

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