Black is a colour to most,
Black is a Race to politicians,
Black is grotesque to the ignorant,
Black is beauty to my Motherland, and
Black is an identity to me!!!
Just as the cliché movie title, "50 Shades of Grey" suggests variation in colour, I believe there are more than 50 shades of black.
Black as an identity is more than just the skin, it goes all the way back to historical events such as slavery and social exclusion. Being black means embracing what historical activities have been stigmatised to the word black, over-coming the brutal behaviour directed toward our ancestors (Nelson Mandela) and what they went through, constantly fighting to be seen as the norm, rather than 'the other'.
The norm being the white race, mostly Europeans and 'the other' being Africans, African Americans, Asians, Arabs...etc.
I got asked a question, and I was surprised by my response -- "If you had to choose one, which would it be; Are you a woman or Black?" Bear in mind that if you asked a white woman, her response will be "woman". Of course, my instinct said Black, despite being proud of my womanhood. It is this feeling of having to constantly feel like I must defend my race before my gender that saddens me. Another reason is, the term feminism has lost all it's meaning when it is overly popularised on T-shirts to gain financial income. Now I am not saying some of the motives behind the production of such clothing is not good, but with the mass production and Instagram filtered posts that have the "We should all be feminists" shirt has lead to a lost translation of what being a Feminist is.
When majority of White people think of us 'Black' individuals, an idea of increased crime rate comes to mind, you think of gang fights and aggressive behaviours. Oh, and let's not forget the silly 'tatted up' bodies, grills and gold chains big enough to imprison someone. I do acknowledge that some of these stereotypes are based on what has been seen, but the ignorance of what a Black person is, seems to constantly re-surface. Another stigmatised term when thinking of black is the monkey and/or ape -- The BET's series, "Being Mary Jane" shines light on what being an "Ugly Black Woman" can be, in an interview on 'Talk Back with fictional character Elizabeth Foy and Mary-Jane, played by Gabrielle Union. Another encounter is a white man calling Mary-Jane a "Black Bitch" (Season 2, Episode 9) furthering identifying her as a monkey "...Because you look like a monkey, an ugly BLACK MONKEY".
So what exactly is black?