High school was an enjoyable 4 years for me. I loved everything about it: an eclectic group of friends from all parts of the city and county alike. I had friends that were as diverse as the music genres in my google play library. And while things were certainly normal for them, things were tumultuous in my head. See I was juggling all the genres while simultaneously trying to dispel any stereotype that had been attached to my ethnicity. It was only years later that I learned how deep I would have to go into myself to come out with different vernaculars to fit each group. As successful as I thought I was, having been selected as Class Favorite my senior year, and to the Homecoming Court. The reality was that I was always nice…….for a black guy. Despite the fight to merge cultures, there were families that would rather simply deal with me as the obligatory black friend (so as to not appear racist) than to consider the possibility of their predispositions being wrong.
Fast forward to 2011, married, minister, educator, with two children referred to as being odd. When I asked the group of three teachers what made me odd, the response was “you’re black, dress well, married, and love God.” This was only one of innumerable instances where all that I sacrificed to dispel was great………for a black guy.
Sadly enough as the dust flies with mass shootings, police brutality, and black on black crime, in the eyes of many, the melanin in my skin disqualifies me to be, in the eyes of others never good enough, or great, other than……….for a black guy.