iOS app Android app More

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
Catherine Okafor

GET UPDATES FROM Catherine Okafor
 

Does My Blackness Offend You?

Posted: 09/05/2012 12:46 pm

Does my blackness scare you? Does it offend you? Or are you insecure about your race? Those are some of the questions that ponder my brain as I am having a conversation with a person who continues to make reference to my race.

Yes, I'm an African-American woman (Nigerian-American to be more specific) and I'm proud and not ashamed to say it. However when people continue to bring that to light in every conversation that we have makes me wonder are they not secure in their own identity?

Making reference to the N-word, slavery, Madea, and other derogatory and ignorant comments that some say when referring to African Americans is not cool to me. It has been something that has been on my mind for weeks. I can't seem to shake it off nor ignore it.

Some people say that I should be used to it because I reside in the south. That is something that I will never get "used" to nor is that something that I will continue to let slide and laugh it off. I don't think it's funny when someone makes a rude and offensive comment aimed at my race and/or culture. It's wrong, so why would I let it keep happening.

Racial ignorance is something that I don't stand for or find amusing. There are tons of things that I can ramble on about relating my race and how so many things have oppressed African Americans. I choose not to entertain ignorant people with the long list of things that we have overcome. Instead I can only let you know that your comments can be hurtful but hope it still instilled in me. The hope that you will choose to educate yourself on the cultures that make up the world. My hope that you will find security and confidence within yourself to not "put down" someone who doesn't share your same identity. My hope for all Americans to not think that no race is superior over another. My hope that one day we all can have a conversation without belittling someone.


Lastly, as Maya Angelou stated in her poem, "Still I Rise";

"You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I'll rise.......

Out of the huts of history's shame

I rise

Up from a past that's rooted in pain

I rise

I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise
I rise
I rise."

 

Follow Catherine Okafor on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@ABCsCollege

FOLLOW BLACK VOICES