Musings: Why I'm Tired of Being Black

I could very well have titled this post "Why I'm Tired of Being Labeled", but you may not have read that post. And really, "black" is the main label I have to deal with. I love my heritage, my history. This post is simply a way for me to say that I would like to be me.

And by be me, I mean being insanely cute like this picture from wayyyy back when
For whatever reason, I've talked about race so much this semester. I've explored my own thoughts and my own weaknesses. I've seen the prejudices that we all harbor and it scares me. I'm scared that the color of my skin makes people think that I'm some altered being and that they don't realize it.  I'm afraid to become a mother who will be unable to protect her children from these beliefs. My children will have to explain  that their skin is skin and yes, if it sits in the sun, it will darken. That their hair is just really curly hair. They can straighten it and wash it. It's hair. They'll have to deal with people who make racist jokes because they have black friends and "It's ok." I fear that my girls will wonder if every compliment is colored with "for a black girl" or that the compliments simply exist because they are some type of exotic being. I fear my boys getting in an accident and being shot because they asked the wrong person for help.

I'm tired of explaining that people are the way they are because of where they come. I'm tired of explaining or observing white privilege. I abhor the fact that white people are allowed to have idiosyncracies, to be distinctive people. While black people are assumed to have the exact same type of hair, to all be good at sports, to be poor, to be less than. I want to be a person without a qualifier.  I am weary of people me calling the names of other black women, as if we all look the same. That is laziness and lack of regard that people need to be convicted about. And it's not just white people. I hear black people say that all white people look the same and others saying all Asians look the same.

 Which brings me to my point,  we are people. We are people who God, the Creator of beauty, saw fit to make so that we could appreciate Him more. When I talk about race and prejudice, my heart is heavy in a way that it has never been before. My soul sings, "Come, Lord Jesus" because I know that is the only time that we will see complete restoration. I will spend eternity with the God who appreciates every curl on my head and who made my dark skin that still tans. And He will delight in each one of His children. And our eyes will be opened. We'll get it. We'll see Beauty.

That moment is a ways off, but it starts now. It starts by identifying our prejudices. I have some and I know you do too. It starts by seeing people as people, not skin colors. My name is Taylor Bryant. I was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago. I like indie music and black and white movies. I eat far too much pasta. I'm soft-spoken. I wear my hair in an afro. I love taking pictures and editing them.  I have a killer sweet tooth. I am a woman. I am a person. I have my own beliefs, thoughts, and ideologies. And yes, I am black.

This post is meant to spark conversation. Let's chat.

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  1. lovedddd this psot and how you identify a serious issue in our community that branches out into other communities. just like white can come in many forms, so can black and it shouldn't be the one identifier for a person. great post!

  2. Hey! Just found your blog via your post in HCBN.
    This is a really beautiful post and totally relateable! As an Iranian and Muslim, I totally understand the feeling of being categorized and stereotyped, the racist comments, etc and I'm in solidarity with you!
    I really love your passion in your writing and totally would love it if you could write a guest post on my blog--I'll email you with deets! c;
    P.S. your baby picture is adorable
    P.P.S. teehee I think we're using the same layout for our blogs
    P.P.P.S (sorry) but ahh you're from Chicago!? I'm in Chicago!!

    ~ <(") Hoda

  3. Do you feel your frustrations have increased attending a predominately white university and being part of a predominately white sorority?

  4. Hi anonymous friend. No I don't. I went to a predominately white school all of my life. Vandy is nothing new. And my sorority has actually been extremely refreshing because I am myself there and they love me for it. These frustrations that I mentioned were a mixture of life long struggles compounded by some deep conversations that I've had with my suite this semester. I'm really not a fan of self-segregation (another post to come maybe?). In my experience, the "black" community can put just as many restraints on who I'm "supposed" to be as the culture at large. As my dad told me when I went to Vandy, "Taylor, there are going to be some black people who say you're too white, some white people who say you're to black, and you've just gotta say, 'My name is Taylor and you can love me or you can leave me.' " Did I answer that ok?

  5. Hi friend! I'd love to do a guest post :) I'm glad you could relate to this. Let's keep in touch!

  6. Oh my gosh I just stalked your blog. We are kindred spirits! ahhhhhhhh!

  7. Your reply was lovely. I feel like I've had similar experiences through out my life. I was the token "black kid" most of my life and when I came to college I had a diverse group of friends but noticed overtime that I started to gravitate towards other people who had been the token "black kid" their whole life. It felt easier/refreshing not to deal with all the "black people" questions while still being able to listen to indie-pop without all the weird stares.

    I loved your post and I really think it addresses something that I wouldn't call racism but a social issue that any minority would be able to relate to..... and can be pretty darn annoying.

    Thanks for the read!
    Just Curious

  8. Taylor, I love this post. Hope it's okay I shared it on my blog today! You are SO right about everything you say in this post.

    Two years ago, I was part of a Diversity Leadership Institute, where we learned so much about our own hidden racisms and prejudices while engaging in raw and honest conversation with each other about what it means to be us (the group was a mix of many different races/ethnicities). It was heartbreaking and eye-opening.

    I agree, it's terrible that it's more socially acceptable for white people to be distinct and individual from each other and yet black people don't get that same privilege. It's not right at all. I feel like we should recognize difference, and simultaneously treat with equality. We are all so different from each other, and it's important to acknowledge that because when we don't, we take away from and disregard a person's unique experiences, struggles, perspectives, etc. It's about respect; if people would respect each other for who they are, the world would be such a better place. I like what you said your dad told you when you went to Vandy (below). That is spot on. I'm really glad you wrote this post, Taylor!

    Have you ever read Zora Neale Hurston's essay, "How It Feels To Be Colored Me"? I definitely recommend it!

    And have you heard about the Blue Eyes-Brown Eyes study? Here's two links to the videos:

    Just thought you might find them interesting!

  9. :D hahaha yaya I'm so glad you enjoy my blog! And yes, I definitely agree with you! c; xx

  10. LOOOVEEE this post and how raw it is! Congrats to you for being brave about your writing and so passionate about it! I am enjoying this blog, its the kind that makes you think!

    Andrea Fer

  11. Beautiful, beautiful post. Stereotypes and labels are extremely frustrating, and racism still persists, quite viciously. My Mom gave me a little warning when I married my husband and we moved to an area where there are some very strong stereotypes about Hispanic men that people are going to judge him the minute they see him--and they won't look at me the same way because I'm white. It's unfair and it's not right.

  12. I'm glad you could relate to this post! It's sad, but true that stereotypes exist. I hope that exposing them is the first step to change.

  13. Oh Andrea, your words are such an encouragement to me.

  14. I'm reading/watching these now. Thanks for sharing! I'll let you know what I think :)

  15. "Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It's beyond me." Lovely :)


Thanks for making my day a little brighter with your lovely words!