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Friday, January 15, 2010

Question on my Ethnicity

I know this will open up a whole new can of worms- but let's.

My response to this is the best I could give on my own behalf- I can't speak for anyone else on the subject.

This is a question from a very good friend here on YouTube:

I love your videos and find your weight loss inspirational!
My question is concerning your ethnicity... I know it doesnt matter too much, I'm just curious about why you so vehemently deny having any african ancestory? You say you're Dominican, and I beleive that is true but you look African American, frankly. You could have knocked me over with a feather when you mentioned in one of your videos that you arent black. I felt slightly offended about it, actually... I know you dont give a shit about anyones hurt feelings, but I'm curious. You must know that many of your subscribers are African American! 90% of Domicans are part African, you know! Its ok if you dont answer this question, its a touchy subject, and actually, I may have answered it myself, but any of your thoughts on the matter would be appreciated. ^_^


I replied:
What matter? I'm Dominican, we are all kinds of races- especially African. I still don't understand what you're asking....

"Black" (a term I hate) for us means African American (another term I hate)- we usually don't want to be confused with being African-American because our cultures are so different.
Am I black? Yeah.
African American? No.

Blacktina like some people called it. It doesn't really make a difference to me, but our culture is so instilled in us we want to make sure we know others know too, it's a pride thing I guess.

I've read a lot on this topic and different opinions and views. I feel like it's not a disassociation with being black- but more so one with being American.
AT least for me, I can't speak for others.

Just as if a European immigrant comes here- you can call them white, they're white wherever they are in the world. But they're just NOT American.

I'm from NYC- so anyone I know who comes here from other countries, make it known what country you are from. IE Jamaican, Russian, Haitian.

I LOVE everything in me that's African- you know how bland I'd be without it?

Good question- I didn't mean to offend people, just let them know where I was from. My race is Hispanic- or Latino (some people prefer one term over the other). My ancestry is primarily African- not "black".

It's just a words game.




I should probably think out my responses better. You can call me anti-American, which a lot of the time I can be in some cases, for example: Government.

I wasn't sure what pic to put in here, but here's me and my sis at New Year's. :D


29 comments:

  1. Hey girl,

    This is sooo interesting to me. I think the words game is more of an issue for non-NewYorkers. I am from the Bronx and know that one cannot assume that a darker skinned person clearly of African descent even speaks English. Folks will speak pure Spanish. So it totally makes sense to me that you identify as Dominican and I get what you mean. Maybe "Black" is the umbrella we all fall under but in my home, the way I was raised, the patois I heard growing up, the reggae we listened to in the house, the food we ate makes me more than Black. I am uniquely Jamaican, as you are uniquely Dominican.

    Kudos,
    K (YT-mikki5008)

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  2. @Anonymous I am not from NY, but I am from NJ and in my opinion the word game is really not an issue for non New Yorkers, but people who are ill informed. It does have some to do with where you live (granted if you live in a city like NY or somewhere populated with a multitude of races/etnicities etc, you're more open to not automatically assuming what someone is) but for the most part it happens to all races. For example when someone sees my good friend they think she's a "white girl" pale skin, long hair, blue eyes. When in all actuality she was born and raised in Puerto Rico and came to the U.S. at 15 yrs old. People just see black and white and etc. which is crazy, but that's just the way it is. I am Black "African American" and Native American, though looking at me people think I am bi-racial, hispanic, or Asian & Black. I went to the store the other day and this women walks up to me and starts speaking spanish (I had the blankest look on my face) lol, because I am a a medium brown skin complexion, with long hair, yet she thought I was Hispanic. People look at someone and may assume they are one race, when they are completely something different.


    @tearsnomore87 I found a good article that LaLa Vasquez wrote check it out, it's a good quick read much like what you were trying to say. I jsut feel the girl who asked the question had validity, because in the video you said "I am not black" as if you were offended someone would think that, like it's something wrong being black! Happy you're proud of your ethnicity, but just the tone of the way you said that statment was what caught my attention...

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  3. here is the LaLa Vasquez Link

    http://hellobeautiful.com/your-world/hello-beautiful-staff/lala-vasquez-sets-record-straight-on-being-latina/

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  4. I can say "I'm not black" the same way I would say "I'm not Chinese" "I'm not Puerto Rican".. I specifically said I wasn't black because I was being asked if I was.

    If me saying (or tone) "I'm black", make someone who is "black" feel better about being "black", then the issue is not mine.

    If I went places saying "I'm black". What would that even mean? I'm African-American? I have African descent? I was born in Africa?

    As far as I know being Egyptian or Moroccan is African-American, but you don't see people going around calling them "black", or them calling themselves "black" or "brown" or "sandy-colored".

    My issue with the word is that US ALL as Americans take it to mean ONE THING, and ONE THING ONLY.

    Let's break from that a little people. We are people with cultures and a multitude of ethnic backgrounds. Even if you say you are "black", the majority of African-Americans (or Americans in general) in the country wouldn't be able to know where exactly in the world their ancestry is from.

    Genetics doesn't say "HEY, ONE OF YOU IS RANDOMLY GOING TO LOOK MIXED- BUT YOURE ALL THE SAME."

    There are a multitude of ethnicities in each and every one of us.

    Sorry I don't bind myself to the word "Black"- it's a little more involved than a word used to describe the darkest of all colors.

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  5. http://www.miamiherald.com/multimedia/news/afrolatin/part2/index.html

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  6. You're a mess.You're so confused I feel sorry for you!BTW you won't EVER be a size 0, just thought you should know -_-

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  7. Hey, your insecurities are showing. You can call yourself a million different things. You can fuck as many white boys as you can (btw, hope you know you won't become 'less Black' through osmosis! LOL). You can speak with the whitest accent. You can relax your hair until it's no more. You can starve yourself to DEATH! Still won't change what you are! The Spainards did a wonderful job of brain-washing ya'll ignorant asses.
    Bet you were told often (most likey by your ignorant ass mother) How pretty your half-sister was because she had a lighter skin tone and more European looking features than you. Is that why you dyed your hair that god awful dirty red? Is that why you're trying to lose weight? To look more like her?

    NE way just wanted to let you know how much I LOVE watching your videos and reading your blog. It's like watching a train wreck. Can't wait until you either starve yourself to serious malnutrition or Phil leaves you to marry a White girl after he's done using your ass. Guess his family accepts that he's just 'experimenting' with the confused little black girl who speaks spanish LOL. He treats you like shit but you're so proud to be with him it's pityful. That video you posted of your new place was disgusting. How can you allow him to treat you like that?

    Keep the videos and blog posts coming. Really good free entertainment!

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  8. Haha woah- jealous much? Hahaha crazy bitch. Keep watching! Thanks for the hits and the views. Click some ads while you're at it.

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  9. @ Tearsnomore 87...i guess you have officially stirred the pot! While im here i'll give my 2 cents. I was born and raised in the DC area and as a certified mutt( I'm Jamaican, Cuban, Dominican) I completely understand why you don't consider yourself "black". At least I think so... As I've gotten older I realize how I differ from my "black" American friends when I consider my values and my (or my parents) emphasis on education. I have a DEEP pride for my heritage and by simply labeling me as "black" or "African American" shuts out my true heritage. I think the bigger issue at hand is that true "black" Americans don't have a real sense of culture outside the US so every person with the slightest hint of pigment in their skin is labeled as "black". I get that at this point its systematically ingrained in US culture and I could careless who people percieve me to be but, in my experience, the best solution ive ever been able to come up with is dismissal. Unless you know me and my culture and how my culture affects my vaulues you will never be able understand why being "black" isn't descriptive enough.

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  10. @LaBellaDonna What do you mean when you say you differ than "black" americans considering your values and emphasis on education? what the hell does that mean? I am "black" have a bachelors degree, and currently working on my masters degree and I have values too. All black women and men aren't what you see on mtv and vh1.... or see in rap and music videos! When I see someone with any pigment I don't assume they are black, african american or whatever. I get you and "your culture" blah blah blah,n how you celebrate it, but don't put every person in a box. Just because I am black, doesn't mean I am hood, ghetto, or a angry black or loud woman. I celebrate being a woman of color, learning about different cultures and experiencing new things. I felt your comment had this superiority, that is unneccessary.. ok so your cuban and dominican, but your also black so get over yourself. I can go learn different languages and try to conform as well, because at the end of the day if I go take genetic testing I'm not 100 % afican. I too have european ancestors, you know..due to the slave masters who raped black women during slavery??? There is no 100% anything... we all have a mix up.. but don't get angry if someone assumes your ethnicity, due to your skin pigment.. it's normal. People expecially in the U.S. only see black or white. You see a person who looks white and they may be from spain, of africa, they're considered white... no matter what they really are. NO ONE can change what someone assumes they are! I'm happy you embrace all your sides as you should, but remember that you can't make people see what you are by just looking at you, nor should they just assume

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  11. Just because La Bella Donna says she feels different, doesn't mean she feels she's BETTER than anyone. YOU took it that way- your OWN insecurities said "I'm not inferior to you!"

    It's sad that it had to be perceived that way. One person's pride in their heritage becomes another's insecurities. You didn't have to say "Well I'm not hood!" Trust me- I know tons of Dominicans, Jamaicans and white people who are hood and ghetto as fuck.

    Please don't take anything the wrong way. Black is a limited label. Wyclef Jean went on the grammies and said "I am Hatian- I rock my flag- I want to say Hi to my wife, who is also Hatian"

    NO ONE said HEY WYCLEF DONT YOU KNOW YOU BLACK?! if someone did- know how dumb that would sound? Does Wyclef think he's white? Doesn't he know he's black too??????? He MUST be brainwashed- a racist. Did you hear him talking all that Patois and Creole on stage? That French brainwashed fool. Tsk tsk.

    People- chill out. Someone else's pride should NOT trigger YOUR OWN insecurities. Doesn't mean you need to come up with reasons to validate your own worth.

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  12. To sweetbrcutie87- thank you for understanding i am by no means calling my self superior to anyone. Im just not that bold or arrogant. To the anonymous poster that responded to my commnent- despite all your acheivements at the end of the day you will be judged by your race. BET and MTV do an excellent job of making sure the loud and the ignorant are heard. You said that just because your black doesnt make you hood or ghetto etc.... That may be the case, however, at the end of the day be Black in america is more often seen as just that. Being a graduate student, you should know that the perception never changes, you just become more of an exception to the rule. At the end of the day I'm dark skinned female and people will judge me based on their experience with people that look like me! There are millions of Souljah Boys, Gucci Men, 50 cent,who evers in the world that dominate black media and culture and therefore shape peoples perception of who were are as people despite the fact that our President is of African descent. Please don't be offended that I refuse to be labeled by these standards. Who would want to be. but like you said people only see black and white but i refuse to care.

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  13. Tears I think you're weight loss is very inspiring!! Your sister is so pretty. But this entry is a HOT ASS MESS!!

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  14. This is MuslimahStar81 from YouTube. I subscribe to you :)

    Thank you so much for speaking on this. I deal with the ALL THE TIME.

    It does not name sense to me why someone who looks Black, also looks African American.

    Whoever sent you that messages needs to look at a map and learn that there are OVER 50 countries in Africa. THOUSANDS of languages and HUNDREDS of different ethnic groups. Yes, HUNDREDS. Not just that, but there's a whole bunch of other countries in the world too. And there's Black people all over the world.

    If you've ever looked at a Samoan or Figian or Cambodian or Indonesian or Malaysian or East Indian or Arabic or Southern Italian person and NOTICED that they have some African features - THERE IS A REASON FOR IT. It's cuz they have African ancestry. But they're not Black, and they are not African American, that's for damn sure.

    Ever notice how some people who are biracial black/white mixes often look Hispanic, Arabic, Asian?? Gee, I freaking wonder why. It's what happens when different parts of Africa meet up with different parts of Europe.

    If a group of people have been the same for hundreds or thousands of years, they are their own ethnic group.

    African Americans are their OWN ethnic group.

    Black Cubans are their OWN ethnic group.

    Black Brazilians are their OWN ethnic group.

    Black Iriaqis are their OWN ethnic group.

    Black Pacific Islanders are their OWN ethnic group.

    EVERYONE IS NOT AFRICAN AMERICAN.

    I wish people would get this through their heads.

    I think it usually confuses white people, cuz they have been brainwashed to think that anyone who looks like they have Sub Saharab West African ancestry is African American. And they are not.

    African American people are stuck on the one drop thing... like if someone had one black great grandparent, that the're African American. The rest could be Russian Jew and they could ahve been born and raised in Austria - but nope, they're still African American.

    Sorry for the long ass comment but it just pisses me off.

    This is NOT a self hatred or denial issue. The same way that human beings are not.. Daisies... is the same way Dominican people are not African American. It's so dissimilar that its almost like, not even a comparison.

    Accept people for who they are - not what you THINK they are or what you WANT them to be.

    TNM87 if you ever vlog about this, I'm making a response. Or I might make a vid about this.

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  15. @Tearsnomore87, I agree with what you mean by being called black. Its weird, my mom is American and my dads side of the family are from east Africa and the people there have all different kinds of skin color.

    But my cousins that are from East Africa call "african-Americans" black and not people in Africa. Pretty interesting.

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  16. wow, i just read that afro-american article 'black denial'(someone above posted)... i am jamaican but i live in canada and here even though i am jamaican and have a mixed background (black, white, indian and cuban), my family is prodiminently black... here in toronto, we will say we are jamaican but also consider ourselves black.
    i have very naturally curly 'mixed' looking hair.

    anyway i always used to want to visit the dominican but after reading that 'black denial' article, i am completely turned off of going there. it is really fucked up. i don't want to be treated poorly for having curly hair and being 'too black'... wow. it's so sad.

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  17. WELL in my opinion i don't think no one,should get offended,because she didn't said nothing rude about african=americans,she just answered honestly that she it's spanish/dominican/latino/hispanic well you get the point.People constantly confused me with being puerto rican or any where else besides dominican nd when they ask me where I'm from i just answer honestly like she did..I'M DOMINICAN TOO and believe me we have african roots in fact WE ALL DO!! I don't think this should really be an argument because it's not a big deal we all EQUAL it don't matter wheather you are WHITE,BLACK,CHINESE,ITALIAN,HISPANIC,DOMINICAN ...DON'T MATTER people we all EQUAL no OTHER race it's better than another.

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  18. I am sorry I think you are confused. African Slaves were not only brought over to America but the Carribean as well. That is why you have people of African descent in Cuba, Domincan Republic, Puerto Rico and South America. African Americans are not mono raced people just as Dominicans aren't either. Your enthnicity is Latino, but your Race would be perceived as Black. Just as Black Americans Race would be perceived as Black and their enthnicity American. Don't you understand that most Black Americans are mixed with European, Indian, African amongst other races. They are not Afican. The Census desgnites the Race Black as having decendants from the African Diaspora. You based of your appearance, definitely have decendants from Africa. You don't looked mixed at all. I am mixed with Puerto Rican so I am speaking with knowledge on this matter. Puerto Ricans are various races. I have cousins of several races. I don't think you get it!

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  19. Just understand even in the Dominican Republic you would be looked down upon because you are dark. As a Puerto Rican, I know I am mixed with various races. My family looks like Jennifer Lopez and Eva Longoria. I am a little tanner than they are and we have some cousins that have more black blood. Embrace your race and your ethnicity hun.

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  20. PLEASE- In the Dominican Republic, I'm the shit. No one "looks down upon" anyone. STFU.

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  21. agreeing with the post above me. that article on 'black denial' forgot to mention that most black people do the same thing. the women in the dominican republic do not relax their hair to look more "white", just like that episode of friends when they went to the caribean, and monica's hair was out of control, well that is what happens to curly hair over there, and since we dont have the time to go to the hair salon everyday, and dont want to go to work with a nasty looking afro, then they relaxed it. i used to relax my hair when i lived in the Dominican republic, but after moving to NYC noticed a big difference in the texture of my hair so i stopped relaxing it, like a lot of dominican women do. but once again, when i go down to visit, goes back to the same hot ass mess.

    second, one very important fact that a lot of people reading this post are missing is that dominicans' skin color go from the lightest to the darkest, once of my two best friends from childhood looks straight up like a white girl, and the other one looks like she just came out of asia yesterday. i remember growing up there were more light skin kids in my classroom than there where dark skin.
    i am used to seeing all types of color dominicans, one of my grandfathers was really dark and the other one was white as paper with green eyes, so my skin is right in the middle. for some reason i dont get confused with being black(african american)
    i do not understand why african american people get so offended if we do not want to be label the same as them. but the truth is, the only similarity we have with them is our skin color.

    dominicans have a lot of pride of where we come from. even the ones who have been in the US for lots of generations, even the ones who have never been to the dominican republic. we take interest in our culture, and want to learn about it.

    just like jamaicans, i have yet to meet the first jamaican that just exclaims he or she is "black". they are very proud of being jamaican and make it very clear once you ask about their ethnicity.

    so do us a big favor next time and don't be your ignorant self. we are more different than similar.

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  22. @LaBellaDonna and sweetbrcutie87

    LaBellaDonna you were talking about blacks above like we are immoral, uneducated, lower class folks, you were dropping the "black Americans have no values card awfully hard." And sense you are not African American what makes either of you an expert on African American values.

    Like all African Americans are one person btw. Stop watching videos and cop movies and take the time to learn about us. Values huh? Was thinking you are better than others one of the values your culture teaches?

    It's funny how those who don't want to be stuffed into a box and generalized themselves don't even realize it when they are doing the same thing. So I agree 100% with what that Anonymous person said.

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  23. ***********************
    ".. African Slaves were not only brought over to America but the Carribean as well. That is why you have people of African descent in Cuba, Domincan Republic, Puerto Rico and South America.."

    I am African American man, and I TOTALLY understand when other people of color from the Caribbeans(Dominican, Jamaica,etc.) don't want to be labeled in one big box...
    you are all decedents from Africa and that is just a fact..that is why you have brown to dark skin people throughout Dominican republic,etc.. so people who say "you don't look Dominican u look African-american" just needs to read a bit more on the history of the world...

    your beautiful and congrats on ur weight lost, and keep being you!

    I wont comment on the other posts who say African Americans are immoral, and other clearly ignorant comments because I
    never argue with an idiot, I will lose every time.

    peace everyone!:)

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  24. FOR THE RECORD..NO HISPANIC OR LATINO NATION IS COMPLETELY SPANISH.
    Depending on which part of the country you are from, your features differentiate. Lets say you live in the coast of the Dominican Republic, you will tend to be darker and curvier (the majority of us are curvy) because its right next to Haiti. The further north, the lighter you are etc. I'd have to agree that its a pride thing, we don't like to associate ourselves with ANY country whether it be Africa, America or Puerto Rico. I'm light skinned and clearly curvaceous (a Dominican trait) but because I'm light skinned, people assume that I am Puerto Rican. We hate that. Simply because we have been conquered so many times by Europe that we are free as a nation and we take pride in our culture, our language, our food, our customs; we get offended once you take that away from us.

    Another historical fact is why the older generation of Dominicans "frown upon" darker Dominicans is because of the dictator Rafael Trujillo, if you were found you were basically a slave, exiled to Haiti or killed. The lighter you were, the better you were in social class. Now thats a load of crap but thats how it was.
    I know that I am mixed with Dominican, African, Indian and Spanish etc.. We all originated from somewhere. I acknowledge the fact that i have 'black' roots but I am very proud of being Dominican.

    OH AND JUST LIKE ETHIOPIANS....they are very much from the continent of Africa but they are so proud and will be quick to say they arent African (which genetically and geographically they are) but just like the Dominicans they say 'I'm Ethiopian'.
    Its not a race thing its a pride thing. let it go and rep your country, be proud of who you are and love each other, we are all human after all.

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  25. It deffinatly makes sense to say that your Dominican not Black because thats just what you are. Thats like when people see me, they automatically say "oh she's black." Even my teachers and guidence councilers from when I was in highschool used to say "you should apply for the scholarship for African-Amenricans," and I'd just be like... What?! No-one in my immediate family is black. We're all Panamanian (which does have black or "african american" ancestory) or Native american Indians.. So it kindda feels like a slap in the face when people automatically assume that because your brown skinned that means your african american..

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  26. I could relate so much with tearsnomore87 on this topic because I am Dominican myself (and I find her to be very similar to me based on what I've read on this blog and on Youtube). Some people can tell I'm Dominican but it sorta annoys me when they think I'm black. (Sometimes people even think I'm a dark-skinned Indian I guess because of my hair because it looks naturally straight when it's actually relaxed... well that's out of the topic here though). Anyway, I get frustrated sometimes because though I was born and raised here in New York (the Bronx) people usually get the whole Dominican identity thing but if you go a bit outside the area then people think that you're black and you explain to them you're actually hispanic, from the dominican republic so you deny being black but when you think about it, the term black when being linked with being African-American, can actually make sense since technically the Dominican Republic is part of America (North America) and you are of African descent.. but then that would mean I'm mixed because I have lighter-skinned (white) family members in my family. But then again, African-Americans that are part white still label themselves African-American. Yeah, this whole race-name game can be confused but whenever the topic comes up, I just inform them that I'm of Dominican heritage. But you know, I've been so out of touch with my Dominican side that I'd rather just call myself American. Just plain American. Or better yet, not even define myself as anything, just call myself a person. I hate labels anyway -_- ... (sorry this was so effin long lol)

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  27. I think it's ridiculous that we have to say what we are in America. In America I am half Cuban half Arab, anywhere else in the world? I am one thing, American (trust me, I've traveled). Frankly, it pisses me off when tests (or someone)ask you what race you are, like does it REALLY matter? It's funny how we, as a country, speak about inequality, when the first thing that we do is catagorize eachother. If you're a citizen there, you're American, simple as that. You shouldn't have to explain further, to anyone.

    It's not a pride thing, it's a nicer form of racist thing, in my personal opinion.

    And for those people with those nasty comments...I'll pray for them, it must be sad to see the world in such a sad light that you have to insult someone and the way they live. those "Jim Crow" thoughts, I hope, one day will be put to rest.

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  28. equality, not inequality, btw.

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  29. The responses to this post are hilarious... Everyone is stating the same thing yet getting mad at each other for the way they are saying it.

    "Black" is an umbrella term.
    Being deeply ingrained in your culture/cultures and preferring not to remain under that broad umbrella but define what makes you unique... does not make you egotistical, or automatically better than everyone who is comfortable being called black...

    It means exactly what it sounds like, You are proud of your roots and their influence on your life and want to share that.

    The original post did not define black people as being ignorant, uneducated, ect.. nor did any of the other posts I've read.. If your definition of a black person includes hootrats/thugs/hoes/junkies whatever negative terms you can think of then YOU have a problem. None of those words relate to ONE race. so why bring those into the conversation?

    Lastly, I'll personalize this like everyone else. In my experience, black people calling each other black is recognizing a historical/ethnic bond. Meaning "my brother/my sister" Weather you are Haitian, Cuban, Dominican, or Jamaican.. It means we share roots. Now, I'm mixed. That's what I call myself. I have African and Italian roots. And identify with both cultures. I am lightskinned like Alicia keys or Keisha Cole.. Meaning my hole life, it was an argument to even call me black, until i was 14 i was just "White"..

    I don't despise anyone for not considering themselves "black" or "African American" It is an American custom to see someones skin color and attach a ethnicity to it. So if it offends you when someone corrects you for a wrong assumption, YOU need to read a book or travel. Its not a personal attack against you or your race, its PERSONAL. Your own opinions and perceptions. Arguing about it isn't going to change anyones mind.

    @Tearsnomore87 I found you on youtube, i love your videos and equally your blog, i do allot of things differently and disagree with some but i understand that weightleoss is person and that is to be expected so thank you for sharing. I choose to read your blog and watch your videos because i identify with you, and agree that you are entitled to your own opinions, which i happen to respect.

    -Patience2720

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