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Your "blackness" starts with YOU

Allaire W | 12/30/2013, 10:44 a.m.
How Black is Black Enough?

In the constantly changing world, the definition of what being black personifies is continuously evolving. Black used to be associated with music, sports, fashion, slang and how it affected society as a whole, but with so many cultures embracing what was once sacred for a "black" society, the notion of what black really means is questionable.

While there is much to be said about the progress black people have made, it should not necessarily be associated with being black. Being black does have a sense of responsibility -- to stand up for your rights and band together for injustice. Being black means taking pride in who you are and knowing your history -- where you've come from and how far you plan to go. Being black means celebrating your ancestry and your beauty, not relying on enhancements to fit in.

The question remains, how black is black enough? You should know and understand that being black is not the color of your skin, but the state of your mind. Are you intelligent enough to think for yourself? Walk for yourself? Talk for yourself? Care about the progress of your children? Progress and equality as a whole? Then you're black enough.

All too frequently black people have become so close-minded that they cannot accept another black person dating outside of the race, or have issues with black people who are Republicans. It's much more than that. If you know and recognize who you are, understanding that you will be treated differently in certain instances, you are black enough. If you are thoughtful in your choices, definitive in your stance and informed about your decisions, you are black enough.

Deciding to immerse yourself into society doesn't diminish your blackness, because you are reminded of it at the most inopportune times. What you do with that realization contributes to how you handle being black and move forward. When you don't stand for what's right, even though it is inadvertently affecting you, then you should start questioning your "blackness."

Black enough does not mean staying all natural, or listening only to black music, or only supporting black businesses. Being black enough means making sure your history and culture becomes just as important as the next, being taught in schools. Being black enough means making sure your vote counts, your dollar spent is just as powerful and your business has as much of a fighting chance as any other. Being black enough means fighting against profiling and ensuring our children have opportunities. Being black enough means taking corruption to task and championing when we are in a position of power to make a change.

Being black enough is embracing your identity to collectively share the black experience, negating the stereotypes. Being black is... a rich world of blackness subject to personal definition. Embrace it.