I have noticed that in 4 years of blogging, I have only talked directly about my experience as a Black, hearing-impaired woman in America 4-5 times. Once, I talked about it in relation to my socio-economic [class] status and education. The others discussed the fetishization and sexualization of Black (women’s) bodies and the resultant sexual violence. I also discussed hue-ism/colorism within “the Black community.”
I’m more interested in the daily lived experiences of human beings globally. I’d rather discuss labor and water rights in the cotton fields of Uzbekistan than talk about the lastest article on the perceived plight of single Black women. I talk about women’s rights in the developing world- entrepreneurship, division of labor and access to food, water, shelter and education. I’m not going to talk about generations of Black out-of-wedlock children trapped in generational poverty in America- at least, not without context [institution inequalities stratified on the variables of race, gender, class, ability, etc., housing and employment discrimination, un(der)education, inequitable distribution of tax dollars across districts, etc]. However, I am more likely to talk about global economies, neo-colonialism, neo-liberalism, globalization and human trafficking.
I fought hard to get outside of the constraints of “blackness.” I may embrace my natural hair texture and express great love for it, but it does not define me. I (mostly) grew up in a multicultural environment where African-Americans were the minority. I socialized more with Naijas than American-born Blacks at one point in my life. I knew more Hmong slang than “black” slang. I found “blackness” to be essentializing, limiting. ”Black people don’t swim.” “Black people don’t speak Russian.” “Black people don’t wear those clothes…” “Black people don’t have long hair.”
For the sake of brevity, I’ll simply end by saying that I have a contentious relationship with “blackness.”