So apparently race is an adjective.
Lately, more and more I’ve been hearing people use "black" and “white” to describe the way a person speaks, dresses, and behaves, as in “She’s acting black.” Or “She’s acting white.”
The problem with using someone’s skin tone to identify their personality is that it adds to stereotypes. For example, if I use slang, like “That’s dope,” and someone tells me I sound black, athough it may not be meant in an offensive way; it is.
I don’t believe the way I speak should instantly associate me with a race.
Why do I have to be labeled “you’re being white” if I use good vocabulary, or if I wear a popped collar polo shirt? People constantly make comments about the way that I speak and say, “You sound like a white person.” And they usually say, “You sound black" to someone who is not black. The stereotypes are so rigid that if you do anything outside the box, you instantly get a reaction.
“I do this, I’m white. I do that, I’m black."
But I’m pretty sure I am Alleyha. So I wish people would stop defining me by race which has nothing to do with who I am. It’s simply their assumptions.
Being black in Greenwich can be conflicting. Because you’re stuck in between the black stereotype, of having no vocabulary, no "class", and being loud and obnoxious, and the Greenwich stereotype where everyone is articulate, poised and conservative, it leaves very little room for individuality.
This was an issue especially when I was younger and I was new to Greenwich. I was torn between acting how some "expected" a black person to behave, how they expected a preppy Greenwich person to act, and just being myself. The result of that meant not having too many friends.
When I came to Greenwich in fourth grade, and people found out I moved here from Stamford – even though I only lived there one year - they expected me to know all about drugs, guns, and life in “the hood.” People even went as far as asking me “Have you ever seen anyone get shot?” This was my first introduction to stereotyping.
In elementary school, if I wanted to hang out with one group I had to behave the way they expected. But whenever I tried to conform to their ideas of how I should behave, I felt like I was putting on a show. And I didn’t feel like I was being myself.
These days, quite frankly, I just want to be myself. I don’t want to be identified as a black person or as a white person. And really that’s not that much to ask.