Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Shades of Blackness, Vol. 1

I am black, not African American, not Afro American, though possibly colored. I grew up in a sea of white. I was frequently the only black child in my class and more than once the only in my grade. At one point in time the only other black child in the whole school was my younger brother. And most people thought he was white. Every member of my immediate family is a different color, my stepdad, my mother, both my brothers. If we lived in Brazil we would all be considered different races. But we live in America where you are either white or not white. My stepdad is white and my mother is black. My little brother is my stepdad’s child and looks like a white kid with a good tan 90% of the time. He has dark brown hair and blue/gray eyes. I am yellow that gets kinda bronze in the summer. I have dark brown black hair and green eyes. My older brother is darker than me but not dark and has black hair and brown eyes. His father is also white. My mother is darkest of us all (though I don’t consider her dark but others do) with black hair and brown eyes. Some people may think that we wouldn’t look alike with different eye and hair color but the funny thing is, we all look just alike. When my siblings and I are together with our mother, there is no question whose children we are and that we’re all related. Many people are surprised that we all have different fathers. If my younger brother and I were the same age, people could almost think that we were twins. The resemblance has gotten more pronounced as we’ve all gotten older and grown into ourselves.

I was never so aware of color or my color until I was practically grown. Initially I had planned on attending college in New Orleans. Several people, including my mother, aunt, and boyfriend at the time, remarked how I should be just fine because I was the right color. I ended up attending the University of Arkansas in my hometown of Fayetteville. Growing up, my mother had taught me that I was black. All of us were. In my mind, there were no differences, no shades of color that were better or worse. In the white world that I grew up in, black was black was black. It wasn’t until I started taking African American studies classes at the UA and acquired some black friends that I have became aware of how apparently light I am. People assume that I must be half white. Not at all, only a quarter actually. Both of my parents are darker than me, I just turned out light.

I’ve had white people ask me what is the politically correct way to refer to black people. My parents are not from Africa so I do not consider myself African American. On my mother’s side I have great-great grandparents that are Native American (Creek) and Jamaican as well your usual American mongrel of African Slave and White American. On my father’s side my grandmother is English-white and my grandfather is Caribbean-black. Since my heritage is so diverse, I feel that the only thing that can fully describe is black, not African American. To me, African American denies the many parts of my heritage that are essential to who I am.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Betty Crocker

For the last several months, since about Thanksgiving really, I've been on this baking kick. I bake at least once a month. Cookies, pound cake, cupcakes, banana bread, muffins, whatever. I'm entirely sure why. I don't even eat most of what I bake. I either take it to work or leave it around for my roommate to eat. Occasionally I bake for an occasion but not typically. Most recently I made a carrot bundt cake, which turned out super-well. I also baked some lemon coconut sugar cookies. Not enough lemon for my taste but everyone else who's tasted them has liked them.

Sometimes I wonder where I got my baking bug from. My mother doesn't really like to bake. The only thing I really remember her making as a kid was apple crumble. My grandmother apparently baked but she died before I was born. I have a great aunt who bakes, and one of my mother's sister's bakes. I have a new niece and I wonder if maybe my own daughters won't like to bake, but L will.

I have some bananas that are getting brown and I think I'm going to make some banana bread happen. I'm sure I'll find someone to eat it.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Dream a little dream

So for the past several weeks I've been having crazy vivid dreams that I usually remember. I'm not sure why, I think it might be a combination of my anti-depressants and the melatonin I've been taking to help me sleep. Sometimes they're totally fantastical but usually they're variations on reality. It could have happened in real life, it just didn't. Sometimes I don't even realize it until something happens in real life to contradict my dream.

Anyway, last night I dreamed I was in New York visiting M. It felt like an extension of my last visit, not necessarily an entirely new one. We weren't doing anything in particular, just on our way to get some food. I was happy and enjoying our walk to where ever we were going.

I probably won't be able to get back to New York until this fall mostly because of my derby schedule, work, and finances. I am of course super happy for M and it gives me a reason to visit the city, but goddamn I miss that girl. She's definitely the best friend I've ever had. Hot, reliable, super nerdy smart, loves the derb, can cook really well, likes to read, and is easy to talk to. Oh what is a girl to do? Not that I don't love all the rest of my friends of course, but M has a special place in my heart.

On another note, I still have a boyfriend and it's awesome. Less strange at this point. Dating a boy who lives 45 minutes away isn't perfect but helps us appreciate the other more. I could wake up next to him every day and be really okay with that.

My brother is coming up to visit with my niece! I'm so excited! She's looks too cute from pictures and I've been assured she's even more adorable in person.

The Arkansas Killbillies are playing the Kansas City Roller Warriors this Saturday. I can't wait! For those of you who may not know, Kansas City was the first game I ever saw, way back in May of 2006. They've been awesome to us along the way and it's great to finally play them. This will be our last home game of the season before we start doing some serious summer traveling. I'm looking forward to it.