Handing over this week's edition to my high school friend, now a Dr at University of Connecticut
I was once told by a very good friend of mine that I “wasn’t really black” because I was “smart”, “kind” in premed classes and I liked the Beatles and REM…
but I was “black enough” to be stopped by police officers because I fit the description, a laughable photocopy of a black face which looked just like me because I had eyes and a nose and ears and of course a black face. They were looking for a rapist and I, all 13 years of me, in my Catholic school shirt and tie “ fit the description”
I was “black enough” to be called a nigger randomly as I walked home one evening.
I was “black enough” to have white women step out of the elevator whenever I walked in
I am just “black enough” to be seen with suspicion and fear.
I was “scary Dr. Alerte” until I painted a smile on my face and donned the elbow padded tweed jacket uniform of the academic. The safe academic who probably won’t attack you or rob you or assault you. I wear a shirt and tie everywhere because a hoodie just might get me killed.
I named my son Atticus after Atticus Finch and I find myself secretly, quietly, happy that due to his genetics he is just “white enough” to “pass” so hopefully he won’t have to walk the road I’ve had to and hopefully I won’t be standing over his grave.
I am so very, very tired of the understood and accepted world I find myself in.