6. Wait, what? I’m what? Me?
On the plane ride from Dubai to Accra and it started to hit me that I was really going to Africa. I started saying all the lame things that people say such as “Wow, the motherland!” and the like. However, at the same exact time I could not help but notice that almost everyone on the plane was darker than me. My skin tone is a “regular brown”. In my mind, my skin tone is the same as most Black people you will find. It’s not common in the United States to see a lot of people in large numbers that are several shades darker than me. Growing up, my Dad would always say “the darker the skin the closer you are to the earth.” So I never thought being “dark skinned” was a bad thing or ugly. As far as my skin tone, in my head, I’m right at the earth. Turns out, nope. I got a very rude awakening on this plane. I was honestly starting to get jealous. I thought to myself “Wow, I wonder if this is how light skinned people feel?” Then it suddenly occurred to me that most of the people on this plane could call me light skinned and they would, technically, be right!
Oh no! I started thinking about all the jokes I tell my friends to their face and all of the jokes that people make about light skinned Black people. I was horrified. Partly because I couldn’t think of any sharp comebacks and I know I’ve heard plenty of solid comebacks. If anybody on that plane pointed to something I did and blamed it on me being light skinned (technically), I had nothing! I say all of this in jest, but there is a bit of truth to all of this. In this moment of realization, I thought back to that Richard Pryor special where he said he visited Africa, came back and didn’t want to use the “N word” anymore. I hadn’t even been in African air space before I swore off making light skinned jokes ever again.
I’m still joking, but I am going to work on it; in real life. It’s not funny; but sometimes it is. Except that now I feel super bad for laughing and making jokes. When I realized that I was a light skinned person (technically, in that particular situation) I came to see that those jokes are hurtful and mean and I’m surprised that more light skinned and mixed people don’t take more offense to these awful jokes. It would make me want to fight somebody that came with the right joke at the wrong time. Browner Black people like myself are all trash for making light skinned jokes. Us browner people need to make an effort to make lighter skinned people feel just as Black as we do. It’s the right thing to do.
It was all funny to me at the time but I still felt some kind of way. I felt like I wasn’t as Black as I thought I was and everyone around me is Blacker than me. I’ve never felt like that before. A new experience. I didn’t like it. I eventually got over it because I was starting to get more excited about being on the continent more than I expected. But that feeling of guilt and knowing I’m not as “Black” as I thought, will definitely stick with me for as long as I am Black.
Beautifully written. I have followed you a long time. Think 2000’s… Bumblebee story. There is something about your soul that is extra ordinary, you are imperfect but what I notice about you is introspection You have an open mind and whether you believe it or not, you are a good person.
The paths that led you to Africa wasnt by mistake. You were meant to be there and I was so happy for you. Wasnt least bit shocked your ancestral results traced you back to Yorubaland. You come from great people. Your open mind, ability to seek out and integrate new experiences aren’t a mistake. I’m glad you took that step… your journey has just begun. Thank you for sharing this blog. May the ancestors always guide your path.
Wow, thank you for saying that. I really appreciate it. It does feel like all fo this was meant to happen. Im extremely grateful.
I read it All. Your writing has tremendously improved. This is beautiful. Hope you savour every bit of your Yorubaness, Yorubas are party people so you definitely no miss road. Beautiful write up. You did good!
Bro this is dope as hell. I’m glad you were able to publish this! This inspires me to get the fuck outta here man! I gotta go and I mean permanently!
Thanks! I wish my Max was here to read it tho. My Dad too.
Ohjay I have no words. I literally laughed and cried reading this. You have an amazing talent for story telling that’s for damn sure! If you need editing let me know hahaha I was mentally correcting as I read but I know you and I love your imperfections, always have. Max would have loved this! Dammit now I wanna go to Africa! I have family in The Gambia and I would love to visit. My dad did the African Ancestry DNA test too, we also hail from the Yoruba Tribe my light bright mixed ass has ancestral lands all over the world! One day…
AAAYYYEEEEE!!!!! HIGH FIVE! Knowing what kind of African I am is kind of an amazing feeling. Thank you and yea, I might have to take you up on that editing offer. I need to get better lol.