While watching “Belle” this past weekend, the main character Dido said something that hit home: “You shouldn’t have to forgive my mother’s bloodline”. Okay, so maybe that wasn’t a direct quote, but it was something like that. I couldn’t help but cry during this scene because there have been a number of times when I felt like I had to be “forgiven” for being black.
In college, it felt like a constant fight to make my blackness acceptable to my peers. If you attended a PWI, you may know the feeling of having to speak for the entire black population. Or, feeling like you have to suppress your blackness in order to be taken seriously by peers. Even after college, this doesn’t go away. I’ve had many conversation with young, black, professionals, that feel like they have to suppress who they really are in order to appease their colleagues. It’s beyond sad.
Even as a woman who wears my hair in it’s natural state, I used to feel uncomfortable. I wear afros, twists, braids, and other non-conforming hairstyles. It took some time, but I had to learn to be comfortable with my natural hair, no matter who is around.
There have been times when I felt like I had to overcompensate for the fact that I’m black. Like I had to work harder. I’ve been praised for doing something good, not because my quality of work, but because I did it as a black women.
I don’t ever want anyone to forgive my blackness. Don’t forgive it because I’m not embarrassed, ashamed, or apologetic for being black. My skin color, hair, or heritage, doesn’t need to be forgiven. So to answer my title post…or nah.