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Just in Case You're Wondering...

I'm so tired of Black people accusing other Black people of not being Black enough. First of all, who gets to decides what Black is? I thought that being born with melanin-rich skin did the trick, but I found out early that it's only part of the equation. When I was a kid in the 1980s, people in my small East Texas town swore that I, quote, "thought I was white," because I used proper English when I spoke. Never mind that I've never been mistaken for being mixed or even light-skinned. Because my subjects and verbs always agreed, I was relegated to that "not Black enough" purgatory reserved for those of us who know how to use the language.

Fast forward to the new millennium, and things really haven't changed much. Thanks to BET, if we're not living in the ghetto with at least one relative in street pharmaceuticals, we still have to struggle to prove how Black we are. I'm tired of it.

No matter how educated I am, when I look in my mirror, I still see a Black woman. And if I open my mouth and say the most prolific thing possible, it still doesn't stop security guards and salespeople from following me around while I'm shopping in certain stores in certain parts of town.

To be honest with you, I'm not bothered by other races looking at me funny. I'm used to that. It's when my own people look at me like I'm a newborn fool because of the way I put words together, or the things I like or don't like. For example, some people think I should have my Black Card revoked because I can't stand watermelons and greens.

I'm bringing all of this up to say that I'm angry about the way Barak Obama has been harangued for allegedly not being Black enough. Here's a man who's on the verge of doing something Jesse and Al couldn't do -- run a successful presidential campaign. He's a brilliant and charismatic speaker whose record on community service speaks for itself. In addition, he's married to a real-live, South Side of Chicago sista who's no punk. Together, they're raising their two daughters and living the life that Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X died for us to have, and this man was raked over the coals for not attending the State of the Black Union forum in New Orleans on Saturday, February 23rd.

Seriously? Are you kidding me? Tavis Smiley -- who believes himself to be a modern day Black leader -- said that Obama was making a mistake by turning down his invitation to be a part of a day of rhetorical spoutings by the Black glitterati. Yes, there are some wonderful issues brought up, but in all the years I've watched this particular forum, I've never seen anything come out of it but a bunch of pretty and insightful words. And the worst part is that the people who REALLY need to hear what's being said probably aren't willing to give a whole Saturday to watch the exchanges on CSPAN. I don't blame Barak for not going. He's in the process of making history, not discussing it to death. Tavis and the others need to see that.

Hillary Clinton did take time to speak at the SOTBU. She needed to. This woman has lost every primary and caucus held since Super Tuesday, and she's losing a lot of her base supporters to Obama and his message of change.

I'm hoping that when Barak becomes president, he'll be able to help not only a people, but a nation, learn that no one can define Blackness but an individual.


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