I grew up in all Black spaces, but I had a crew of classmates that fortunately were in accelerated and advanced learning classes. We laughed, cut up, did the dozens played together — but our parents thankfully taught us code switch. I think learning code switch (the shifting from Blackness to Whiteness in White and public spaces) helped me avoid these feelings. I had lots of things that I enjoyed that was different, like my taste in music, clothing, and food — but I always embraced my Black culture. I learned early I really wasn’t appreciated in White spaces for anything other than tokenism — something else my parents taught me.

My heart goes out to you. Chasing Whiteness in the Black community is bad for our health. I realize we must rely on Whiteness for our sustenance because they possess everything, but we don’t have to forsake our culture in order to survive. No other ethnic group comes to America and forsakes their culture except us. We need to stop it, and we need to stop forcing our kids into assimilation — at least with out the code switch component. Kind of like the police talk component. It’s a must. We can’t deny it. It’s vital to preserving our mental health.

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