""Welcome home! You look happy to be back." The White Immigration officer said to me, beaming. "I am. I've been gone for a while!" And I really was at that moment. The new "scan your passport and adjust your weave for a picture" system was impressive to me. No more long lines. I was digging … Continue reading Welcome to America
She held out a four-strip traditionally woven Kente stole. Kente cloth held the distinction of matching everything even when it clashed.
I could “talk proper” and “articulate so well.” And by year three I got compliments for having no accent: “no one would be able to tell you weren’t from here!” I was ecstatic. I even let them touch my hair. After all, they were “just curious.” And I relished in the fact that I “wasn’t like them” because being the kind of Black I was made me acceptable. I was the “safe” African/Black woman.
The “safe Black” aka the African immigrant does not have the history of slavery imprinted on his/her DNA; this NAB is not “angry” because really, what do they have to be angry about? They are being offered a piece of the American Dream, they need only work hard. Which they do, supposedly in contrast to the American Blacks, who though failed by the system, are meant to bear the brunt of this failure.
I stop staring at my feet/I refuse to let them intimidate me/I am clearly out of my element/this far down the 52 on AC Transit/I stash my inhaler/switch seats/await my stop with some anxiety/dreading the return trip/wishing cabs were not so expensive in the U.S./hoping the return trip will be less jarring on my bougie self/acknowledging/Black can never equate one experience