The Day I Became BLACK

12:00 AM

I was in my second year in university and prepared a PowerPoint for a class. I mindlessly picked out pictures that will explain my points without paying attention to the skin colors of the people. The presentation went well; while giving me feedback, my professor  asked me to look around the class. 

At first I was really confused, but it didn't take a while for me to figure out what she meant. She continued by saying, the whole class was Black, why is everyone on my PowerPoint....White? I stood there stunned. The thought didn't even cross my mind; to me, they were just pictures on a PowerPoint. After she spoke more words, she turned to me and said in stern words 'YOU ARE BLACK'; like she was reminding me of a rudimentary fact I ought to have known that should control everything I did.

I walked away not sure how to feel. I didn't knowingly commit an offense, and I wasn't sure how many more people I offended apart from my professor. What was more concerning was the new name 'Black'; I definitely didn't know how to act or what was expected of me as 'Black'. Growing up in Nigeria came with a lot of things, but skin color label in the way I was experiencing it in the US, was definitely not one of them.

I soon realized that skin color was more powerful than I imagined. I saw the word 'Diversity' in a different light. Everything had to be analyzed based on how many skin colors fit a racial group. Even more concerning, was that an identity and opinions had been formed for me. Being Black had picked and chosen what I should say, and how to behave. Most importantly, I had to be loyal to being 'Black'...I'm still not sure of what it means.

Funnily enough, I noticed a variety of expectations, based on my skin color; they were not always high or esteemed. The list of experiences are endless. Not to add how many times I've been expected to pick racial sides, that I did not always pick and the reactions where quite interesting.

I still learn everyday. I'm learning to understand the beauty in different races and cultures. In so many places in the US, I will always be called 'Black'. But as someone born and raised in another country, I will always stick out like a sore thumb. This is because I and so many other Africans, don't really understand race in the Western world. We all realized all of a sudden that we were 'Black', after a plan ride.

We are still figuring it out.....

Make it a Winning-Day

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  1. Wow.
    Thank you for sharing. Keep learning.

    PS I went to Howard, so Hi!


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