In a 2017 world that is open to having people change their racial identity, it may be important to first define what it means to be said race.
Black. Black to me doesn’t mean cornrolls, chicken and watermelon. It doesn’t mean trap music in a car, or a baptist church on a Sunday. It doesn’t technically mean being strong or resilient. I am afraid that people who were not born black, may have a skewed definition of what ‘black’ is.
Being Black – The Definition: Ones response to the world’s reaction to his or her black features.
Yes, that can mean being harassed by the police, but it can mean other things too:
A rich black kid going to parties and never hearing the music he or she may like. Being made to feel like you have to work 10 times harder than peers of other races. Doing your hair with its curls and swoops. Dealing with injustices when the world doesn’t even acknowledge that those injustices and prejudices exist. Teaching your kids pride, or how to react to poor representations of their race. The mental effects of rarely hearing about the accomplishments of your historic ancestors. Knowing some history of those ancestors, and then manifesting them in the present.
Every black person is unique. What we share is how people view and react to our black skin throughout our entire lives. What things are available or unavailable because of that. What things are harder or easier to do. What have we had to do creatively and culturally to adjust to these things.
The effects of these reactions impact our behavior and thus contributes to our culture.
You can grow up around black people, but until you have experienced how this world reacts to you physically, emotionally or mentally as black person, you do not understand the black experience completely, if at all.