Monday, November 30, 2009
Recently I've been labeled as being urban or ethnic. Labels may be a simple way to categorize and organize groups, but it also compromises diversity. I find the label comical since I've been out of the 'hood for over fifteen years. Apparently home school, public school, private school, and graduate school can't cover my roots. Maybe Snoop Dogg was right when he said, You can take the boy out the 'hood, but you can't take the 'hood out the homeboy.
While in New Jersey teaching at a women's conference, a very sweet woman came up to me with her eyes bright and hands excited as she communicated with every ounce of her being. I love when you talk your ghetto-talk when you share. It's so fresh and real! I know she meant well and her intentions were flattery, but she solidified deep fears. I was the only woman of color speaking at the conference and I felt different, odd, slightly out of place. It was if I spoke like Rosie Perez or Bon QuiQui and simply needed fake gold hoop earring and bangle bracelets to complete the image.
I called my dad and he siphoned through the jokes. He saw the hurt from 3,000 miles away.
Words dipped with honey soothed my soul as he assured me with the words of Paul--we all belong to something bigger than us. A body is comprised of different parts, even parts darker than others, but all parts are necessary. His accent permeated the sentence, his life has permeated this belief. Be who you is, B. Be who you is.
There's something great about being different, odd, and slightly out of place. Different exposes new possibilities; oddity reveals diversity; slightly out of place expands territory. As members of something larger than us, expose new possibilities, reveal diversity, expand territory. Be who you is.