“A 4.0 Means I’m Four Shades Lighter . . .” ?

The title of this post is a line from a spoken word poem entitled, “F*ck I Look Like,” by Kai Davis. Last week I shared with you a poem I wrote a couple of years ago called, “On Being Told I Talk Like a White Girl.” The topic of “acting white” has long been a subject explored in my creative work. I am even in the process of planning out a novel centered around this issue (among other issues faced by black youths) called, Oreo Cookies. For those of you who don’t know, an Oreo is slang for a black person who acts white (black on the outside, white on the inside). As a black woman who is passionate about her heritage, and where she comes from, it bothers me that my ethnicity is measured by how smart I am or how “hood” I behave. What bothers me the most is that it is being done to me by my own people! Thus, perpetuating the cycle of self-hate that has been forced on us since the day European scientists trespassed onto our land and called us sub-human.

Being black shouldn’t mean that you don’t give a shit about your education, or that you only listen to hip-hop music and twerk every night in the club. I understand that we don’t want to assimilate into the dominant, white society, but we can do that without becoming deadbeats. Our black leaders worked so hard to get us to where we are today, and we’re just throwing our opportunities away, calling them white, as if we can’t take them and turn them into something beautiful and BLACK. I challenge my black people to raise themselves to be leaders. Working hard doesn’t mean acting white. It means taking the steps to advance yourself and your community.

Below is the poem by Kai Davis that I mentioned at the beginning of this post.

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