No, I don’t talk black

A few weeks ago, I was meeting my roomate’s family while helping her move in when I overheard her grandmother mention my name.

She said, “Trinity is black, but she don’t talk black.”

I froze in place. It had been so long since I heard someone say something like that. I don’t think anyone knows what to do or say when in such a situation.

I thought to myself, “What does that even mean?’

You can’t talk a color. That’s not a thing.

I don’t know why we’ve gotten to a place where as a culture, and as a race, if you sound as though you have more than a sixth-grade education, it’s a bad thing.

I won’t apologize for using standard English.

Is the way I talk somehow supposed to represent my ethnicity?  Does the way I speak somehow mean that I am less black than everyone else?

Maybe it means that I don’t fit the stereotype of a black person. When thinking of a black person, you may imagine the “ghetto” accent because apparently that is how people distinguish the light-skinned from the dark-skinned.

I don’t have to prove my blackness to anyone or show anyone my “black card.” I am so tired of people my own race telling me that I’m not black because I don’t listen to rap or because my hair isn’t kinky.

Not every black person talks the same or likes the same things.

I am not afraid to admit that I think Taylor Swift’s new album is incredible or that I use sunscreen so I don’t get burned. Melanin is great, but it can’t always protect me.

My dad likes to joke and say I am the whitest black person that anyone could ever meet, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not black.

I am very much aware of the stereotypes that come with being brown-skinned. I feel so out of place sometimes because I feel I’m too dark for my white friends but too light for my dark friends.

I will admit that sometimes I don’t understand what slang my black friends use. I don’t always know what song they play in the car, let alone who the artist is. I don’t text or use lots of emojis the way they do, and I get made fun of.

I don’t mind though. Watching them sing along and scream the lyrics at the top of their lungs while moving side to side is one of my favorite things about them.

I like learning what products they use for their natural hair and what kind of weaves are their favorites. They love styling my hair and suggesting what extensions I should get if I ever wanted some.

These are my friends though, so I don’t have to prove how black I am to them. They love me for who I am as do my white friends. I am a mix of both worlds, and I am proud of that.

I don’t talk black, and I don’t talk white. No one can talk a color. We all have a different way of speaking to one another.

Blackness comes in all shades, cultures, classes and experiences. There’s no guide to being black.

Language, much like my blackness, is universal.

Trinity Velazquez

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