This I Believe

Zahra - Miami, Florida
Entered on September 15, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I believe I am not an Oreo. The word “Oreo”, in my opinion, is just as offensive as “the n word” when used in a certain context. My black friends and I have been called Oreos. Only because we speak properly, and don’t dress in huge oversized clothing, we are considered Oreos. Let me clarify what this term means. It is a person who is black on the outside…but “white” on the inside. The word Oreo is just a euphemism. It refers to a black person who “isn’t really black”, who has become one of “them”, by speaking well, being educated, listening to anything other than music that degrades women and glorifies a “pimpin lifestyle”, or all of the above. I remember when in the 9th grade, I classified myself as a “rocker”, a person who listened to rock music above all other. I was told by people that barely knew me that I was not a rocker. I had hardly spoken to these people, so how would they know what kind of music I listened to? I thought about it, and realized that the stereotypical black is constantly spouting out rap lyrics, not screeching rock lines. This began my awareness of the box that I have been put in solely because of my skin color. I believe that if people would step outside of their own little worlds, I would not be the recipient of so many ignorant questions and remarks. Questions such as whether my best friend and I are sisters, even twins, when we look nothing alike are popular ones that I receive often. Calling me “African American” is another. While I realize that people are trying to be politically conscious, I would prefer to be called black, since I am Jamaican American, and there is a difference. I believe that to be noticed as a black girl in this society, I have to outdo every other girl. Just recently, a boy I know admitted that he doesn’t like how dark girls look, and he would only date a black girl if she were “really light, or really hot”. I have been told that to fit in with some crowds of my peers, I have to be the stereotypically black person, plucked straight out of the ghetto. I have to deal with the n word getting thrown around by my contemporaries, and seem like an annoying prude if I voice my discomfort with it. The question that arises from these ordeals is…what makes a person black? I believe that what makes a person black is their skin color. That is the only prerequisite. To be black, I do not need to be witness to drive by shootings, speak Ebonics, or be an incredible dancer. To be black, I just need to be me, the salsa dancing, literature loving, diversity embracing person that I am. This I believe.