I just finished picking my hair so I can grease this scalp and a sense of pride came over me when I looked in the mirror. I love my hair already and I love my skin. I have to say in regards to this lovely month that we as black folks have been allowed to celebrate our Culture and History without any criticism makes my eyes roll sometimes. Not the celebrating or revisiting historical moments part, but the fact that we get just a month. Isn’t it great? An entire month guys. I mean, so it’s the shortest month of the year still we get a month just for us. Then once March 1st hits your calendar you can stop and go back to the regularly scheduled program. No more black pride and fists in the air and pictures of MLK or Malcolm because if you do any of that shit outside of February it’s just too much. We don’t want to hear that. Instead we want to watch stuff on TV like Love & Hip Hop, or Basketball Wives. That’s the blackness we want to see the rest of the year. We don’t like all that “Stay Woke” bullshit. We want to watch the Kardashians because they’re iconic and trend setters. They have that thing that everyone wants. The looks. Yeah the looks might be similar to black features or they may rock a hairstyle that black people have been wearing for years and been looked down upon for doing so but that doesn’t matter, they’re what’s hot and what’s hot is all that matters.
Or you can forget about TV and just listen to the hottest songs on the radio. No one really listens to the words. As long as it’s got a good beat and the hooks are catchy, it’s ok. Radio doesn’t want to play an artist talking about police or using big words like oppression. That’s not hot. You know who’s hot? Taylor Swift. OMG! She is so “talented”. Her writing is unlike anything we’ve ever heard and she’s so original with her style and image. So she may use hip hop influenced beats and black slang in her songs, big deal. She is such an iconic figure and she constantly is the victim to a number of Kanye’s rants so we should feel sorry for her and tweet a hashtag against bullying.
I apologize for that little outburst but some things just need to be said about this country we live in regards to pop culture and what’s considered “hot” along with so many other things. I don’t understand the logic behind only embracing this country’s diversity when it looks or sounds appealing and interesting to the outside world and then being silent when being called to defend the things or people that “make this country great.” I’ve come across so many people in my life that love to shout that they’re mixed with this race and that race only in times when it can make themselves appear to be an interesting topic of conversation. If a white persons says they’re mixed with some percentage of an ethnicity that doesn’t seem fathomable to there appearance they suddenly become this intriguing topic and are asked all sorts of questions like, “what’s it’s like?” That shit makes me giggle every time. Yet, if my black ass says that I’m half Filipino not a percentage or quarter, but half I’m questioned until my ethnic background is proven. Ok fine, my mother is Filipino from the muthafuckin’ Philippines and my father’s black ass is from Detroit. Enough said. Or at least that should be enough. But no. The question that always follows is, “can you speak Tagalog?” When I say no, immediately the response becomes, “ahh you’re just black. You don’t look Filipino at all. You’re a fake Filipino.” Go figure. All this time I thought I knew very well who I was and where my blood line stemmed from. Where my parents came from. I listened to my parents and grandparents speak often of the places they’ve grown up and what they’ve endured in this country decades before I ever landed on this planet. I suppose because I’m not bilingual I’m less than. I know at first glance by popular belief I look black. Some may wonder because of some of my features or height or even the texture of my hair I could just be one race; Hispanic, Ethiopian, a number of other races that I’ve been asked. I am Black and Filipino. I’m a mixed kid. That’s what I claim, and I know what it means. I don’t use it as a conversation starter, I can talk about a number of other things. However I can also speak on what it means to be Black in America and give Filipino history if asked having lived both sides. I take pride in it but I don’t use my heritage to be trendy or because “it’s what’s hot.” I’m just me.
If you happen to be mixed with a couple or multiple colors in your veins and wear it proudly than kudos to you but make sure you know what you’re talking about and include yourself in things that represent those backgrounds. If you don’t then what’s the point? Just plainly say you’re American and leave it at that……even then however, what does that mean? America is the Great Melting Pot, School House Rock taught me that. Everyone come from somewhere beyond this mixed country. It doesn’t hurt to know where. With the chaos that’s going on with our government it’d be a wise choice to invest time and knowledge in yourself because the way “they” are operating, soon you may be chosen to stand up for just that. Be proud of who and what you are and celebrate it all year long. Janelle Monae, one of my favorite artists, asks a question in one of her , “this is a Cold War, do you know what you’re fighting for?”
So, do you?