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Black Like Me


Cinnamon Brown

When I was a little girl I was very confused. I did not know quite where I belonged. You see the little black girls called me names. I was different from them. I had "good hair" and fair skin. I never needed a press and curl. I could never wear cornrows and extensions they would never hold in my hair. I tried to be friends with these black girls because I was told that they were my sisters. I introduced myself, only to be insulted and called "jiggaboo," "high yellow," "whitey," "house ni**er ," and the worst of all, "sell-out." I think the reason why that one hurt the most was because I had not sold out to anyone. When I looked in the mirror I did not see color. I saw a girl looking for acceptance. Sure I took voice lessons and dance. This is because I was interested in those things; I was not trying to be better than my sisters. I cried because these girls would not even talk to me.

One day I was at the head of my aunt's dinner table and I was looking around the room. I realized that my daddy's family that I grew up with did not look like me. The only person in the room that had my complexion and my hair was my brother who was also a product of my white mother. The family was having a conversation about racial something or other. I snapped and said "I am not black either." My family paused and looked at me, but no one said anything. So in my opinion I assumed I was right. I was not black and I believed that for a long time. I think it hit me when I was 13 and a little Jewish boy called me that ignorant "n" word. It put me back into the mind of my sisters who called me a house ni**er. Now both forces were against me.

I went to the library and looked up black people from the past. And it was only then that I could place myself. I saw Langston Hughes, Lena Horne, Duke Ellington, Coretta Scott King, Rosa Parks, Alex Hailey, Debbie Allen, and Jasmine Guy. They were all black like me and damn proud to be. I kept looking at their hair and skin and comparing it to me. I am just like them. I am black.

That wasn't it though; the real day I knew I was black was Jan 24,1998 the day my son was born to me and his Jamaican father. His hair was kinky his skin was dark his eyes dark brown. Because he is a product of me, he is black like me.

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