African-American

Wednesday, September 25, 2019 - 6:36pm

Check-Box for "African-American"

Check-Box for "African-American" Buy this photo
Courtesy of Jenny Ibsen from "The BOWDOIN ORIENT"

I’ve been staring at the checkbox labeled “African-American” for 20 minutes now. I can’t seem to look past the dash which separates these two worlds. To be Nigerian-American is to be the Atlantic Ocean, to be divide, to have two houses but no home. I am constantly crossing the Atlantic. Some days, I slave trade my accent for whitewashed inflections still stained enough to prove I don’t belong. Some days, I whitewash reflections of the slave trade, say them, not us, just to prove I don’t belong. Other days, I pick a side, bring the trade to an end. Tired of seeing my people pretend and stuff our meaning behind western culture and call it posh, call it bougie, call it right. It’s not white- I mean, it’s not right if the cream leaves you cream if your knuckles are still Black. But is this my fight?

Melanin needs to come back. I’m tired of seeing skinny white women on TV. I don’t know why but something about it irks me, something about it hurts me to see how media doesn’t believe my Black body is enough. My Black body is enough. I’m tired of having to yell that while watching House of Cards. Tired of Black bodies playing second-fiddle to the stars, we deserve the applause and the main role too. We can be president, front stage, with natural hair too. But is this my right? Other days, I can’t fight. No common ground in sight I resolve to be white. To be a blank canvas, not colored by either side, hoping to find a balance, I silence the parts of me which carry rage. I silence the parts of me which hope to engage in the war that is my skin, in the battle that is my tongue, in the struggle that is my hair. I resolve to not care, pretend to be fair, but this only lasts for a while... 20 minutes to be exact, the question brings me back, are you African or are you Black?