How Black do you have to be to be black enough?

So I was having a weird conversation with a dark skinned “full black” Jamaican brother who proceeded to tell me that I have no right to talk about black issues, black culture or black injustices and that I should stop making videos uplifting black women as it’s not my place….. Because I’m light skinned and “only half black”.
I listened to this very annoying brother talk at me for a lot longer than I really wanted to. He then said “You should only uplift hispanic women, since you look more hispanic than black”.
At that point I tried to explain to him that hispanic is not a race, it’s a culture so there are Black hispanics and I am not just “half black”.
He then told me that I have no right to the black culture, and being black is not something that you’re even just born into but something you have to experience on a daily basis.
So here’s the thing. As a son of a proud black Jamaican father and a strong mixed black and Taino Puerto Rican mother with light skin and kinky hair, raised in the projects of Marcy Houses in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn NY. I now have to question…If being black is more than just skin tone, a way of life, culture, heritage, blood and experience, then how black do you have to be, to be black enough? But how can you tell me that because I’m half Puerto Rican that I have no right to embrace my Jamaican side?
When I’m in the UK they automatically assume I have one black parent and one white parent. When I’m in NY they automatically assume I’m either Puerto Rican or Dominican… I always found that funny when people tried to define my race by using a nationality to classify me.
Whenever a black woman is on TV or in a magazine, it seems totally fine for her to be light skinned or mixed… Black men don’t seem to bat an eyelid at that. But the moment a light skinned mixed black man like myself speaks out about injustices within our community I’m automatically attacked and told “but you’re not black”… “You have a spanish last name, you’re light skinned… You look puerto rican”. So lets totally ignore that my last name is “Ramirez-Jordan” and simply focus on the Ramirez part squint emoticon ….. This man told me that having a spanish last name takes away my “blackness”. Bearing in mind this man had an ENGLISH last name. Well if we’re using language to define “blackness” then shouldn’t all black people have last names like “Olufemi”, “Adeyemi”, “Ogundare”, “Asante”, “Yakengue”? I think he missed the history lesson on colonialism. Speaking french or having a french last name doesn’t automatically make you white.
But the statement that I’m not black enough to understand what it’s like to be black, really struck a nerve with me. I’ve been stopped by police for no reason other than I fit the description of light skinned African American, mixed or “hispanic” guy. I’ve had white people cross the street when they see me. I’ve been called a “n**ger”, I’ve had people not offer me an interview simply because my last name implies dual heritage of “black” and “hispanic”.
Now apparently I’m not black enough…. BUT the majority of African Americans or black Caribbeans are mixed with at least 25% of white blood.. You know why? A little thing called SLAVERY.
I have no problems with bi-racial people wanting to identify as both… I personally look at mixed people and see a black person…. Mixed but BLACK. I feel these “purists” who themselves probably are not genetically 100% indigenous African are trying to wedge a divide between mixed, light skinned black people and “full” black people.
Malcolm X was black but his mother was half white, so I guess he has no entitlement in the black struggle, right? unsure emoticon Barack Obama will forever be known as a BLACK president even though his mother was white. My big sister is much darker than myself and has always been identified as Black before being identified as mixed and we both share the same parents. Now if everything is solely about physical appearance and not my ACTUAL mix, then I find it funny when women compliment me on my full lips, my thick curly afro and my bone structure…. But hold on….. Those traits CLEARLY come from my black genes. “But Angel your nose is straight”… Yes it is and so is my father’s nose… Next?
I knew an Eritrean woman who got refused a part in a movie, because they said she wasn’t black enough… Hold on. Both her parents are black… both her parents came straight out of Africa and have no white blood in them at all.. How is she not black enough for this role?
I was always taught that black people come in all different shades, colors and mixes. Just because some of us aren’t as dark as Lupita or have a looser curl pattern and not the kinkiest of kinkiest hair texture does NOT make us any less black.
We are all people with melanin and African ancestry. No one has the right to dictate who is black enough based on the shade or tone of their complexion. We are not some Rachel Dolezal wannabe’s who woke up one day and decided to pick a race… We were born into this.
Being born with lighter skin and looser curl pattern than a 4C was not something that I chose.
“Team light skin” and “Team dark skin” is bullshit. Having our identity questioned by our own people is the craziest thing to me. Whether we’re “full black”, mixed black and white, Puerto rican, Dominican (Tri-Racial) we are all impacted by the effects of racism AND still judged as being BLACK.
Our experiences as Black people may differ slightly due to our skin tone… But in reality, we ALL share the same struggle. This division amongst Black people makes us less effective in the work towards eradicating racism. You can’t destroy colorism by creating your own colorism.

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