I hate when dark-skinned folks go out of their way to say they are “not just black.” There are a whole list of non-black terms folks use to circumvent such an identification. The most popular ones are: “bi-racial,” “mixed,” – or even nationalities such as “Dominican.” Listen. All of that is cute, but we need to be mindful of the fact that there is a difference between how we identify and how we are identified.
Identity is an internal and individual matter. When the Census comes around, we can ‘check’ as many boxes as we’d like. We can post flags from a bunch of different countries on the bumpers of our vehicles. Theoretically, we can be as dark-skinned as Wesley Snipes but tell everyone we are “not black.”
But at the end of the day, we are over-determined by structures of power that position us from the outside.
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