If I had a dollar for EVERY TIME someone said that to me…hell I could retire and live quite comfortably! And each time it’s been said I’ve been caught off guard and either laughed it off or walked away. I seriously need to work on a comeback.
The term “microaggression” was used by Columbia professor Derald Sue to refer to “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of color.” Sue borrowed the term from psychiatrist Dr. Chester Pierce who coined the term in the ’70s.
My good friend Michellle (who is also Black) of Divas with a Purpose and I were discussing this and she brought up such a good point. Whenever the term of saying that you act white was used it was “the ultimate dis by the black kids and a badge of honor by the white ones.” Can you imagine being in 4th grade and another student telling you “I don’t know why you try to act so white when you’re so black!” That was over 30 years ago and I can still remember that.
When I moved from DC to Nashville, TN over 20 years ago I remember a girl telling me “You’re not like other like Black people…” Seriously WTF does that mean??? Is it because I articulate my words, I don’t wear crazy azz hair styles and I’m educated? I asked her and she still had no clue that what she said was totally effed up. For a lot of people I’m usually “that token Black friend” and their only perception of Black people is what the media portrays. And we all know that’s beyond biased. So when they meet me it’s like “Oh she’s cool…because she’s not really black.”
My husband and I have been married for almost 15 years and together for like a gazillion! He’s white and I had other people tell me that I clearly must have issues with who I am if I want to marry outside of my race. No…I met someone, fell in love and got married. I did not seek out someone white because I had issues with myself or who I am. I know I’m black and I’m proud of who I am.
Calling me white isn’t a compliment and here’s why. Saying I’m the whitest black girl you know means disregarding my actual background in favor for a term that society accepts with ease and approval. The stereotype is used as the butt of jokes and therefore many do not understand the point I’m trying to make. If I go around saying you’re so hood or black then it’s suddenly an insult.
However my lack of voicing my opinion over race relations in our country means according to society I’m associated with all the “basic white girl” stereotypes like Starbucks, being vegan and wearing Uggs during the summer.
The next time you want to tell your black friend that she’s isn’t really black…just pause and think about how much that person may be refraining from wanting to pimp slap you. 😉
I prefer to call you the “coolest-haired blogger I know”. Because I am insanely jealous of your purple hair. I’m glad you shared this story. Getting personal is NOT easy , but the message you’re sharing is important!
Rose thank you! I feel the need to share stuff other than wine every now and then so people don’t try to BS me LOL
Frugal Flirty N Fab says
If it helps you feels better I think you’re “cool” in general! Also I appreciate you ending this post with the pimp slap comment! It was needed!
I had to go back and add a pimp slap gif for good measure…LOL! And I think you’re pretty cool too Deidre!
It must be annoying hearing it often. I rarely hear it. Like you, l am black, educated and have a white husband. People just don’t really think before opening their mouths unfortunately 🙂
That’s the bad part. Some really don’t realize how it sounds or that they even offended you.
*2 Snaps in Z formation*
I seriously HATE when people say this about me. It’s the equivalent of saying all black people are uncivilized and uneducated, but you’re exceptional because you are more aligned with the ‘superior race’ because you are civilized and educated.
We are just as 3 dimensional as any other race/culture of people on this planet. People are surprised I grew up in Compton and I have to explain that Compton is just like any other city; there are highly educated people, a large population of homeowners, entrepreneurs, Doctors, Lawyers, etc. I grew up with people that lived in the projects and they carried themselves in the same manner as me…so no…I’m not any more exceptional than many of the people who are from where I’m from.
Preach Moe! And I love how you took it WAY back with the 2 snaps in Z formation! <3
Lyne A says
Pimp slap! I don’t how many time I almost lose the anointing over ignorant ish like that.
Next to “are you mixed”, “you don’t look Haitian”, “your English is so good”
Lyne a good pimp slap every now and then always comes in handy!
Been there had that done many times along with the lovely question of “What are you? Where are you from?”
Gotta love the “what are you” comment! My poor step-brother always gets asked that question and he could literally look like he’s part of every ethnicity in the world.
Chasing Joy says
I am glad no one has ever said this to me. I have often been the token black friend. But I think my white friends have been exposed to enough black people to not think that way. Or they have been exposed to enough black people to know what not to say even if they think it.
P.S. love the GiFs
This article says so much!!! I have been the token friend, the only one on the dance team and some of the questions and statement’s were horrible and rude. I hate how saying you act white is a good thing or something to aspire to. No I aspire to be educated and speak well, smh…
Reginia Cordell says
Dealing with backhanded comments can be tough. It’s even more challenging when they are direct attacks on your character. People with African ancestry are multifaceted and diverse. Our variations should be celebrated versus criticized.
this is a comment I know oh to well. People need to understand that as a black women my definition of who I am and what defines me is not based of the approval of a white person. People assume that black women look and act a certain way and when we don’t stick to that image, it makes things a bit shaky. Thanks for the post, well needed.
Mimi "MimiCuteLips" Green says
Ha, I still know this feeling and I’m 36 years old. I’m 100% black no question, shouldn’t I speak well? I mean I’ve only spoken English almost all of my life. Shouldn’t one have mastered it by now? I grew up in a very diverse school, thank God. However I’ve worked in an office setting since I was 15 years old. I’ve been the only black face in many of office settings. I will never understand why people think actions and proper diction make you white. THEY DON’T OWN THE LANGUAGE.
Kirstin N. Fuller (@thetravelindiva) says
It must be a full moon cause people have lost their minds! We’ve got a lot of work to do, people need to realize that the ish that comes out of their mouth is mean, spiteful and could cause them bodily harm. smh
Girrrrl! *Deep breath* What in the hell is talking white? That was my response to someone who said that to me. My son who is a communications major and a senior in college was told the same thing. So he told the person “Ok so I’ll sound purple from now on!” LMBO Smh! Will it ever end.
I’m gonna start using that “I’m gonna sound purple like my hair” LOL
How’d I miss this?!
Maaaaan… I feel u.
How’d I miss your comment! You know you were the inspiration for the title…thank ya! lol