I recently watched the CNN special Who Is Black In America?. I found the discussion fascinating because it seems that finally a conversation about Blackness in America was being discussed in a way that would create some results. All too often the conversations about Blacks in America are cyclical and problem focused which results in either a pity party where Black people cry ‘woe is me’ or where we ended portrayed as being irrationally angry over issues we can hardly articulate. However, part of the reason we are unable to clearly articulate the issues of being Black in America is because we have yet to clearly define what being Black in America means.
Our Blackness is more than the color of our skin (we come in a variety of complexions), it’s more than our ethnic make-up (Black people can hardly go back more than 3 generations without finding some ethnic intermingling), it’s more than our vernacular (there’s no such thing as Black English), and it’s more than our history.
Our Blackness is our expressions, it’s the essence in which we move, it’s the adornment of our lives, and the breath between our words.
Our Blackness is that unspoken understanding when we look into each other’s faces, it’s the tears that well up in our eyes that never fall, it’s the weariness rubbed over our cheeks, and it’s the unconfessed yearning we have for one another.
We haven’t found a language to describe our blackness, but we can hear it, we can smell it, we can taste it, we can feel it, and we damn sure know it when we see it. Even as we struggle to articulate it to the rest of the world, there is one thing we must always do: own it.
I’m not sayin; I’m just sayin,
An Angry Black Man