on blackness

two weeks ago, i was having dinner with my friend, james, and we were talking about growing up black and queer in mostly white spaces. as always, the conversation was pretty thought-provoking. there are a couple of bits of the conversation that have stuck with me and one in particular feels a little haunting.

i can’t totally remember how we got to this part of the conversation, but the question i posed was this: whats of my identity are blackness showing up in its complexity and which parts are just internalized racism? i’ve been consciously dealing with this question for a couple of years now. i’ve been unintentionally thinking about it since probably third grade.

i think a pretty serious problem is black people try to tell other black people that, because they’re not being a certain way, they’re not being black (or black enough). i think blackness (whatever it is) shows up in as many ways are there are black people. anyone limiting someone else’s blackness is anti-black.

but then, to contradict myself, i know that there are some things about myself that are just not good. and i know some of those things are related to internalized oppressions, including internalized racism.

anyway, to say all this in a slightly different way, blackness is not monolithic. so as a queer, black man who grew up in mostly white spaces, how do i sift through what of my blackness is blackness in its complexity? and what of my ways of being is actually just internalized racism that needs to be rooted out and/or integrated to a higher state? (because maybe removing it isn’t actually an option or maybe it’s not the best option)

and the bigger issue with all of this is: if blackness was constructed for destruction, why am/are i/we even thinking in terms of it? i get the idea of reclaiming it, obviously. but he who frames the issue usually wins the narrative battle. and so by staying in this frame of blackness, haven’t we already lost?

ok. done rambling. so sleepy.

words / writing / post-processing
348w / ?min / 2min