To the cops, I am “white”. To many others I am “not” black. I don’t try to pass and I don’t try to compensate for it by “acting” black. I am very direct about these issues though. I am a black guy. How much more direct can I be? I’m not adopted.
So lets cut to the chase. I’m one of those lightskinned black guys that looks so Caucasian that some people think I fall in that “lucky” category. Well I do not relate to that category and I honestly do not like it. As much as I feel like I stand out among everyday black people, I am black. Not mixed, not multiracial, not this or that. Just black. I have never felt the pull to deny this, although I grew up confused about how it’s physically possible.
White and black are not polar opposites, or “versions” of one another. They are just two distinct types of people. IN the end we are all people, but you cannot ignore what stands out and just pretend. Acknowledging our own ignorance, mine included, is a real effort to improve our country, world, city.
I benefit from white privilege to some degree. I get the respect from cops that many black people don’t. I get whites to talk more earnestly with me about race issues, that is until I tell them I am black or until I question their thinking.
I don’t know what it’s like to “be” white or “be” multiracial. I know what it’s like to be mistaken for white or mistaken for multiracial. I don’t know what it’s like to be arab either, but sometimes I am mistaken for arabic, or latino, it goes on and on…
In the end, I do not resent whites or hate them. But I do hate the indifference. When there are black issues in America, they are just that “black” issues. When there are white issues in America, they are “American” issues. Rudy Guiliani asked why don’t black people do more in NYC to improve “their” community. Yet he was mayor. He doesn’t realize that those citizens are New Yorkers and he’s not asking the New Yorkers who have influence… “why”.