I have been accused of being a follower. Why? Because I decided to share my thoughts on a movement that means to so much to me. Yet they did not believe me when I said this. Told me that I had no place to speak out on such a subject.
It took me awhile to realize that this is because they thought I was white.
See,I am one of those people who has a particular skill. I can “pass” as a different race as long as my face isn’t shown. My name, my voice, my way of writing. All passing in the eyes of society. It is not something that I like to think about but I do acknowledge that I get a sense of pleasure when people first stumble upon what I looked like.
My name is Jessica. Such a mundane and boring name. I hated it as a kid and I hate it even more now. There is no history to this name. No culture related stories I can tell to my friends. No one will look at me and ask me the origin of my name. I hated how unoriginal it was growing up. It didn’t help that people teased me over it, but really, that was a given since nothing is sacred with it comes to bullies. So yea, I hated it and I hate it now. Though less so than I used to.
As a brown skinned Jessica I pass. I am assumed to be not like “them” as though that is something to have pride in. Not like “them” but I am not accepted into any other group. So who I am? It doesn’t matter as much as it used to.
Still, I fight for the culture I was born into. I feel pride in my brown skin in the proper way, whatever that means. But because of my ability to pass I am often faced with those who feel like I have no space to speak in.
This girl told me that I should stick to my own kind yet when I do so i am ridiculed. It isn’t my fault that can’t see who I am really am but once I educate her on that fact I get blocked.
Or I get told to shut up
Or I get called a race traitor
One I was even called an Uncle Tom. Though that one was because I have a biracial daughter.
I am brown. My skin, as my daughter says, the color of the earth we play in. The one that sheltered the plants. Life thrives beneath my skin. I am proud of it and my connection to such a beautiful phenomenon.
And I stand by my people, my culture that I love, and fight for the injustice thrust upon us. I may not be without privilege but I still have my sense of justice. And I will fight till my brown matters in the eyes of the law and the society in which I live in.
Even if people do not believe I am real