You’re Too Pretty To Be Black

Akira Lee,
Virginia Beach, VA

I once had a woman approach me in a restaurant and tell me that I was really pretty. It was my 13th or 14th birthday, and I had dressed really nicely and was proud that someone noticed how beautiful I looked that day. I responded politely to her, and thanked her, upon which she asked me, “What are you?” I replied that I was Black, but she gave me this confused look and said, “But you’re too pretty to be Black. What else are you?” At the time, I didn’t understand that what she said to me was disrespectful and I ended up taking her hurtful words as a compliment. If I knew then what I know now, I would’ve known she said that to me was ignorance and would have simply walked away.


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