Thursday, September 25, 2008

Chronicles of Life … being the educated me

There is a serious problem in our society when characteristics are pinpointed as belonging to a particular race.
Yesterday, the Michael Baisden Show mentioned the latest Obama remark from country singer Toby Keith. Keith said black people think Obama “don’t talk, act, or care (to) railway himself as a black person,” during a Glen Beck interview. Beck himself had to ask “What does that even mean?”
Keith responded “I don't know what that means; I'm saying that's what I think that they would say. Even though the black society would pull for him, I still think that they think in the back of their mind that the only reason that he is in is because he talks, acts and carries himself as a Caucasian, but I think he's got a, I think him and McCain are the two best choices, in my opinion, that we've had in years.” To view the full interview, visit:
So, if you don’t know what you mean by a statement, why even say it? Can we say stupid?
Here’s a little news for you Toby Keith, Obama is not acting white. He’s just being himself: an educated man. He was raised to speak correct grammar, dress appropriately and behave in a professional manner.
Why does intelligence and education have to signify one is acting white? Does the opposite mean one is acting black?
I would be a very rich woman if I had a penny for every time I’ve been told I “act white.”
It started in elementary school. I went to an all black school near my grandparents.
I was an anomaly among my peers. My parents, and even my grand parents, were married to each other, not on drugs or in jail or unconcerned about their child.
To top it off, my grandmother and mother required nothing less than perfect behavior. That meant good grades, correct grammar and carrying myself with some pride.
“Why do you act like a white girl?” the other children would ask.
“I’m not acting white,” I would respond. “But why do you act like you have no sense?”
Yes, I speak, for the most part, the King’s English. I take pride in my appearance, and I act respectful. So shoot me!
When I got a little older, a friend of mine and later my mom’s co-worker said the black people at my high school talked and acted funny, sort of like we were better than everyone else.
Funny and better in what way? White of course.
I did go to Stanton Preparatory School. So because we made good grades, wanted to attend the best schools and chose to speak English over Ebonics, we thought we were white? I think not.
The “acting white” comments even followed me into adult hood.
An aunt and cousin told me just this past June I sound like a white girl. No, I sound like me.
Out of respect I laughed off my aunt’s comments, but my cousin was not so lucky.
“Unlike you, I don’t talk like I have a plate of hot grits in my mouth,” I told her. “It would behoove you to learn how to speak properly if you want to be a lawyer.”
Later, I made her read this article about why it shows ignorance when you claim someone is “acting white.” Maybe I need to share the same article with Toby Keith.
Must my “black card” get revoked because I choose to be educated?
I’m probably more in touch with my blackness than those who feel the need to call me out on “acting white.” Who’s rocking the natural hair, knows black history is more than just Malcolm and Martin and will proudly soak up the sun to get a shade darker?
Being educated is not limited to one race, culture or religion. It’s a universal concept.
Go to the University of Florida, or any school, and you will find several others like Obama, be they white, black, red, blue or green.
Like Obama, I am not “acting white,” I am just being me: an educated black woman. Keith and others who say someone is “acting white” are just being themselves too: ignorant.

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