Ten years ago, I was so white. I was the whitest most white-washed Black girl there ever could be. I had piercings, wore Black lipstick, listened to scream-o and rock and the Beatles; I swore by Starbucks and cocaine parties with skinny, rich white girls and dated white women and white men.
I have never heard of Langston Hughes or bell hooks. I had yet to read The Old Negro, and the New Negro by Malcolm X and I had about zero contact with Black women except to smile patronizingly at a retail clerk while shopping. I had my head in Cloud Self Hate.
Now, I am repulsed by white men. I am repulsed by their white privilege and power, surrounding me in a predominantly white town. I have lost my fear of what the white man thinks. I have lost his control on me. I am proud to wear African clothing and accessories. I am proud to stop, drop everything to speak to a sister or brother. I wear my hair as a statement of self-love and resistance.
It is hard to lose the fear, it weighs us down but we have so much to gain by being fearless and unapologetically Black. By uniting and uplifting each other, that is more powerful than trying to fit in with the WASPs, with the artsy crowd or whatever culture you think you fit into. And no, maybe eating bush meat and being one of three wives isn’t your thing, but we as Africans do have a culture and identity and we are the ones who get to define it and indulge in it shamelessly.
I will never feel shame or fear for connecting with an African person. That disconnect is a psychological response from white supremacist indoctrination. There’s no way that a small minority of people can control us if we unite. And so, we must move past our fears and anxieties, and we must unite.