Growing up I was always aware of my skin, always aware of how dark I was compared to some of the other kids I grew up with. Raised in a predominantly white school with kids who were very privileged while living in harlem during the crack era, I knew what it was to be in the ghetto. Then having my saturday mornings with people who i should feel right at home with, beautiful melanin girls in my dance class at Dance Theater of Harlem. However not quite at home with these girls there either.
However what I remember most was preparing to go into high school. I asked my mother if I could go to Frederick Douglass Academy where my cousins and older sister went to school. My mother was for it and told me to visit this school like all the others and from there I should make my final decision. I remember walking in with so much excitement and how I couldn't wait to check out the school where all my family was already going. I couldn't wait to just be another piece in this puzzle. However I was extremely wrong. I remember thinking how badly I wanted to be at prominent black school, and be with all the other black kids so I could feel a bit more black, as if there was such a thing.
I saw how everyone spoke to each other, and how everyone was so tight knit. It was such a beautiful thing to see, however I felt as though I didn't fit in and this would just be a huge mistake. I didn't want to be in yet another conversation where I was asked "why do you talk so white", "why do you act so stuck up", and my favorite of all "Fabiola, who gave you that ghetto ass name" (where little did they know my mom named me after the queen of belgium, a very rich and WHITE italian woman.
I opted out of FDA and went to Beacon, a decision I still don't regret. It was the perfect melding pot of black, white, latino, asian, and the best part about it...everyone was free to be themselves. If i could make a perfect world, it would be in reflection of that school.
It took me a while to accept my blackness because I don't think you can ever fully be prepared, and that has to be one of the saddest things I have ever fully admitted. While I am learning to accept myself, society has already decided that it hasn't or rather won't accept me. It looks past the person I have been raised to be, and automatically assumes the person that they picture me to be. I am no longer the haitian american girl who makes friends with everyone, cracks the silliest jokes, looks to help others, and has learned to love the person who she has become. All this to be hated on for something that is beyond her control. Hated for something that she never chose. Something that is a blessing but some would see as a curse.
I don't really know what year I live in as of yet because history is truly repeating itself in a manner that I can't stand to deal with. I can't see another person falsely accused, beaten, maced, tasered for no reason, and shot to death just for being something that they never choose, being black. We can always say that we will escape and run away where we are accepted but I still don't think it exists. In Brazil, a woman was stripped of her Carnival Queen title because she was too dark. In Hispaniola , Dominicans are killing off haitians and some of their own because they are too dark or as some would call it, ethnic cleansing. And in Africa, the motherland, women are buying up bleaching cream in order to be lighter and fit into the mold of what beauty is. Take a second to google the word beauty, tell me how many black women do you see in comparison to any other ethnicity. Now when you look up black beauty, It's the famous movie of a black horse, it's not until you type in beautiful black women that you will see women that look like me. So what does that say about how america, or rather the world looks at us.
Where am I supposed to feel safe, secured, at home, not dangered, worry free and me?
Please tell me where my black is accepted...