Chipping Away at Our Foundations

Never change who you are for anyone.

During a conversation with a friend about how some people allow others to chip away at who they truly are, we came to the conclusion that they often do this  just to be part of the “In-Crowd.”

Let me explain…

I am in an interacial marriage.  The expectation that I tone down my Blackness to better fit in with my husband would never be broached within the confines of our relationship.  My sometimes Southern drawl and multi-syllabic sounds are who I am and becomes more pronounced with friends and family. My use of certain words of endearment such as baby and boo is uniquely me. These phrases are an intrinsic part of me that I carry across the world with me, and I would never change that for anyone — and especially not to fit in.

When I light-heartedly mock my British husband’s accent, I never forget my true heritage. I can hear the elders from my youth, specifically my grandfather saying, “Never forget where you come from.”  This is a part of my foundation that I will fight to uphold.

I’m formally educated, a career oriented professional who has been fortunate enough to retire. I have done my part to be an educator and hopefully impart some of the wisdom that I have gleaned throughout my life. As time moves forward I am saddened to see the younger generations of gay Black men stifling their true selves just to be like the popular people they strive to emulate. There is a yearning for approval which in actuality does more harm than good.

It is heart wrenching to realize that some feel they should be the only “color” in spaces that others occupy freely without the obstacles of race and color. There is space enough for all of us to be uniquely and authentically ourselves.  We don’t need to perpetuate an age old gay narrative that “white is clean and black is mean.”

You are enough as you are!

You are enough Black man.

That inner glow that shines bright is energized by the sun and replenishes your melanin and your soul. Be proud of your heritage and of who you are and let nothing shame you, no matter who you encounter or where your journey takes you.

In the South, I have witnessed separation and sequestering on an unbelievably skewed scale akin to the constitutional axiom of Church and State. Watering holes, gay resorts, and health venues have taught us that if we are accepted in public we are definitely accepted in private.

In my experiences, this has proven true at times; yet it has ruined many friendships built solely on status, who you knew, and the “BBC.”

No public gathering space should be deemed as being for a specific color or race. This practice has been chipping away at who we are, and the more we continue to isolate the better the chance that we will we never be together as a community, tribe, or family.

Learning to meet people on an even playing field helps to chip away at the bias we have been ingrained to believe is perpetual. When we see a person’s soul instead of their color, we will be closer to removing the need to sound white or mimic Black culture.

Each of us has a unique code that is different down to our finger prints, vocal tones, and yes down to our individual cells.  Embracing our uniqueness allows us to accept the commonality that we share.