peeling off the sticker

Popular writer and scholar W. E. B. Du Bois talked about dual identity of black Americans in his narratives.  Du Bois explains how black people struggle to understand themselves in terms of society. The dualism predicament scares me because it rings true in my ears.  Who am I in society? Is my skin color alone enough to make my story disparaging enough to cause sorrow?  Am I to be pitied or celebrated?  Can I make my own way?

Is my blackness a defect?  Can I be a successful writer in this skin?  I think about the risk of having my work labeled African American and brandished with the Afrocentric sticker as if my writing isn’t for everyone.  The sticker will help other blacks find my writing in the library while doing the dual job of turning all others away.

I’m sure the Afrocentric sticker is a harmless effort to pique the interest of minorities, however well intentional though, the depressive side of my mind sees the action as limiting.  Any story can inspire any one, race or anything else need not get in the way.  Perhaps this is just a piece of the activist in me spilling out.


Ghana flag

Being black is not only about activism, although challenging the hate is important, it is not everything and to dwell in it too long distracts from our individuality, so with this admonition, I digress from living a life of assumed inferiority.


4 thoughts on “peeling off the sticker

  1. I struggle with this too. On the one hand I want to assert my blackness when I see unfairness or how black women are viewed because of their skin in society. On the other, I do not want my blackness to be the resounding clang of my existence. Before I was black, became aware of the weightiness of that word, I was me. I was Caribbean, A woman. A this that or the next. I feel like it is a cloak that I put on when I am helping to establish a think-tank for people of afro-descent or with my blog to celebrate black women and their stories and then I throw it off when I am in church, or at work, or dating, or with my family, or wherever. Great post 🙂

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