February 2018, Opinion

We need to rethink what it means to be black

What does it mean to be black? Does it mean you listen to rap music, wear baggy clothes, live in impoverished neighborhoods and become a societal menace? Or does it mean to strive ad conform to being the closest thing to being white as possible, and denouncing your race? Or could it all possibly mean none of the above?

It seems that in this generation there is some set standard of being black. Some agenda or handbook that every African American should “conform” to. It also is becoming quite apparent that if you don’t fit these set standards, you are subnormal and not seen as “black” not only by the black community but by anyone else who thinks they know what it means to be black? However an even larger question pops up? What does it even mean to be “black?”

To many it means staying in the norm. Knowing all the popular language or slang, knowing all the mainstream music that black people know and even dressing as such. However that it is not at all what it means to be black.

Being Black means you are very aware of yourself and your race. You are proud of who you are and unapologetically yourself no matter what. You can be black and love wearing khakis and saddle shoes and listening to Hank Williams, and no one has the right to take that away from anyone. Just because you don’t fit the “norm” that has been set does not mean you are any less black than someone who listens to rap and likes popular black culture.

So the division that needs to stop, because at the end of the day we are all still the same race.

— Elyscia Vaughn Brown