Day 9: Am I Black Enough? part 2
I remember an incident or a discussion that I had with one of my friends at secondary school about identity. I had always described myself as being black British (like it says on the forms) or African Caribbean. My friend was insisting that I'm not any of those things and that I am in fact English. I was really confused. She was calling herself Jamaican even though her mother was white English and her father was black Jamaican. I didn't understand how she got to be Jamaican and I was supposed to be English? Surely under her principle I should then be described as Ghanaian as my father is Ghanaian if she is Jamaican because her father is Jamaican? I was really annoyed, I felt that she was saying that she was more black than I was even though she was half white.
I've always been the type of person who is interested in other peoples cultures. I find myself naturally attracted to others who have a different culture to my own. I love to learn about other peoples traditions and languages and foods. I was fortunate growing up to be surrounded by people of all types of ethnic backgrounds. I remember in school while my class table of friends would be bunking off to meet with their boyfriends I'd occasionally be the only one on my table. This never really bothered me at all. I didn't mind my own company and there was still a class full of people. I got along with every and anyone. Some lunch breaks I would hang out with the quieter Indian girls and listen to them telling me about the latest Indian movies, they were surprised that I was interested and always talked with excitement about them.
When I went to college I was still the same. I never really stuck with one group of people. I would float between different groups- different ethnicities, different styles. I noticed that people mostly associated with each other by ethnic group unless they had some kin d of other reason to hang out together like a class project or maybe they lived in the same area and would travel together etc.
My style was really unique in college, I would sometimes make my own clothes and I liked a variety of styles, I loved the punk look, bright pink fish net tights, New Rock boots, long black leather jacket and mini skirts. My style was not the same as the group of black kids in the college. I used to hang out with them too sometimes and I think they found me strange that they had something in common with me. Later this thought was confirmed by my best friend at the time who was also Ghanaian. She told me that the other black kinds in college thought I was a 'bounty' at first because of how I used to dress. I wasn't surprised at all, I found this funny, 'bounty' is a term that black people use to refer to other black people who in their eyes want to be white or act like they are white, like the term 'coconut', black on the outside but white on the inside. My friend had assured them that I wasn't, she told them I was just a little crazy and an artist.
I couldn't care less what people thought. It had been strange to my black friends during secondary school that I didn't only find black boys attractive, for them they felt being attracted to anything other than a black boy was weird, even for my friends who were half white. I didn't see what the big deal was, a man was a man as far as I was concerned and character is more important than looks at the end of the day. Attraction is more than just physical. From this I already understood that I had thoughts and ideas which were not considered mainstream in the black community. Regardless of this I never felt that I wasn't black but I was more interested in just being myself and being uniquely me.