Tuesday, February 26, 2013

PILLOW TALK: Adventures In My Facebook Inbox, Or: What Kind of Black Person Are You?

On February 26, 2013, I received the following message, in the form of a question, in my Facebook inbox: "What kind of black person are you?" 

Two things before I share my reply: 

1) I was thrilled to see "black" not being used as a noun, though I suspect that had there been more than one of us "blacks" would have ended up being abused as a noun; 

3) I was even more thrilled that black wasn't written as Black;

2) Since I was not Facebook friends with the person who sent me the message, I could not help but wonder whether they paid a dollar to hurl an insult; I have to admit that I would feel a certain about of gratification, if they did.

My reply in four parts:

1) I am the kind of black person that tries his darndest to see my racist identification as only one of my many identifications.

2) I am the kind of black person understands that my racist identification as black is not something I chose for myself; rather, it is something externally and arbitrarily imposed and not a product of nature.

3) I am the kind of black person who understands that I am only able to kick that racist identification to the curb in the safety of  
my home or social media sites or the around the seminar table or lecture hall, although the latter two sites are not anywhere as safe as they once were, and you're a good example of what can happen on Facebook.

4) I am the kind of black person one who recognizes that if I am careless enough to walk out of my door, not accepting, not recognizing that my only identification is black in the minds of almost everyone around me, I could end up with some forty-odd bullets hurled at me to remind me that there are people out there who still believe in witches.

I hope this helps.

Gregory Christopher Baggett