You’re Not Really Black

So, yesterday I heard the following things:

  • While describing a black guy: “And he was a big (turns to me), no offense, black guy.”
  • While describing a black girl: “The other, well there’s no better way to put it so no offense, black girl.”

  • Let me remind you that black is an adjective used to describe a person’s race. I do not understand why time and again white people are so nervous about that word. If you’re worried, say African American. To be fair, I’m not African American, but if it makes you feel safer, go for it.

    And there’s my all time favorite which I heard yesterday: “I mean you don’t act like a black person.”

    People, I understand exactly what you mean when you say that or “you’re not really black” or “you talk like a white person” And I get that you think it’s a compliment. But seriously, think about the implications of that statement for an entire race of people. It’s offensive. Don’t be that guy.

    H, out.

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    5 Responses to You’re Not Really Black

    1. You know H when I first came home and described the people I work with to Fred, one of the last words I came up with was black. I get what your saying. However even if ‘black’ is just used to describe a person’s race there are some people who will jump you for saying it. We’ve all got a lot to overcome to get past stereotypes.

    2. avitable says:

      In my mind, when people say “You’re not really black”, they’re actually saying “You’re not a nigger” but they think they’re not being offensive by putting it that way.

    3. nezy2049 says:

      I wish this could go without saying. I get tired of hearing “you’re the whitest black guy I know” and “you don’t act black.” Just because you can understand me and I don’t do what you perceive to be “typical black man” things (usually what you get from the media) doesn’t mean I’m not a black person. I’m gonna start punching throats when I hear this. Maybe then I’ll be considered a “typical black man.”

    4. Christina says:

      I hear it all the time at my college, but my favorite line is after they have met you and become “friends” they say how at first they were intimidated by me, but realized i was not the typical black girl or i am not that mean of a white person . I get so tired of hearing it.

    5. eff says:

      What’s unfair: this principle cannot be applied in retaliation. If you say, “You are so not like a white person,” it’s confusing, because *everyone* knows there is no such thing as a typical white person (unless you’re counting cool points or assessing physical prowess). If you say, “You are just as white as I thought you’d be,” then *you’re* the racist.

      I’m passive aggressive, so I just make cryptic references to race and then imply the responder is inappropriate or uninformed when s/he is confused: “You’ve never heard of that? Wow, I guess things really haven’t changed since the Civil Rights era.” *flash doleful wince and shake head slightly* Et voila! Instant guilt and stumbly, fumbly backtracking.

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