GLOBAL BLACKNESS: We Are Everyone: Intimidated by the Grandeur of Black World History?

Nayara Justino thought her dreams had come true when she was selected as the Globeleza carnival queen in 2013 after a public vote on one of Brazil's biggest TV shows. Subscribe to The Guardian ► But some regarded her complexion to be too dark to be an acceptable queen.



While I am happy for Nayara Justino... and I know that there is a good percentage of the populace that needs to be struck in the head with the reality of that barbaric, satanic, historical experience...
I do not have it in me to watch another TV or Cinema production about the Black "slave" experience.
I just can't.
There are many that are intimidated by the grandeur of Black world history. They are afraid that, to address the whole of Black culture and personality would diminish theirs.
But when has that ever happened?
Where in history have we done anything but enhance and enrich every thing around us?
Who can say that they are not better for Black style and influence... and say it without Black contributions to their "voice"?
We are more than just the result of oppression and abuse. We have more to say than to scream out in pain... 
"We" are everyone. "We" own everyone's stories.
This is why I art.
I want to help to show the world a complete human existence, one "work" at a time...
And help it be made whole.
So be it.

~ Grey


As children, our father used to take my siblings and I to the annual Dayton African American Cultural Festival (DAACF). I remember buying my first Africa-inspired jewelry... a red, black and green continent of Africa on a black leather cord. I think it had beads. I also remember being timid about wearing it in public. I longed to own a "100% Black Queen" t-shirt or a variation that I spotted at the festival, but I was worried that I would be called out as a poser or a fraud. It was the "100%" that troubled me as a child of a Black man and a Korean woman. My young mind couldn't reconcile what I believed was the exclusion of my Korean heritage from the celebration of my Black pride. Our father taught us that we were Black, regardless of what society labeled us. And though I secretly wished that I was 100% Black, the Africa-necklace stayed in my jewelry box and I never asked my daddy to buy me the "100% Black Queen" t-shirt. 



My story is not unique. In elementary school, when taking standardized tests, I was sometimes forced to choose a race or instructed to "check all that apply." When I did have to choose one, my teachers and my parents said I had to choose Black. When I was teased by other children, it was because of my "slanty eyes", so Black felt felt strong. By the time I got to college, I was more militant than mild, to the point that my dad asked that I "tone it down," at least in public. Another layered lesson.  

Years later, with the rise of social media, it became easy to connect with others who shared a similar heritage. At first, it was exciting to connect and swap stories of our bi-racial, bi-cultural experiences. It was a bittersweet mix of experiences... of immigrant parents worried their children wouldn't assimilate and find success in America... shame from not being able to speak our Mother tongue... unique blends of soul/seoul food at family meals... the embracing of our labels of "half" or "hapa"... Then I noticed how some of my fellow "Blasians" felt that by being "mixed" they were somehow the envy of all others. Just enough drops of Black, but not too much cause good hair and all. 



Well, damn. Should I spoil the party and tell them that the "hateration" they feel may not be because of jealousy but due to their anti-blackness and self-hatred? That being called "exotic" was not necessarily the compliment they thought it was...? I did not want to confront the anti-blackness of my Black friends, regardless of their percentage of Blackness. I was not equipped and I was tired, so I pulled back.

How you gon’ win when you ain’t right within
How you gon’ win when you ain’t right within
How you gon’ win when you ain’t right within
Come again
Come again, come again, come again, come again
— Lauryn Hill, Lyrics from "Doo Wop (That Thing)"


Fortunately, I've discovered some thought-leaders who are working hard to combat anti-blackness and white supremacy in the Asian community, among other battles: 

If you have more to add, please let me know via twitter @onjena


So, what have I learned? I am not required to choose. I am 100% human. 

And... I can say it loud. You don't have to be Black to celebrate Blackness. What the hell is 100% Black anyway? No, seriously, is there a test? Do we get a certificate? Is that what the race card is for? Or maybe, the 100% is about keeping it real.

FUTURE TOPICS: Celebrating vs Appropriating Blackness. Queen/King/Monarchy/Imperialist/Colonial shit must end. 

~ Onjena Yo

Share your #MultinationalPATRIOT story with us by participating in our PATRIOT SURVEY SAYS!!! blog series. Click the pic below to learn how to share your story!