In a check out line at the grocery store I saw this amazingly beautiful young girl. The only word I could mentally think of to describe her was "exotic." When it came time for her to check me out I was compelled to ask her ethnicity. She looked up at me with these incredible doe eyes and quipped, "I'm the same as you." I didn't expect that answered and it showed. "I'm B.W.I.F she said nonchalantly, Black White Indian and French.....like you."
It was revolutionary for me to hear this young woman speak so boldly and honestly about my ancestry, our ancestry. She was spot on. We are people of color, all colors. It is freeing to not only recognize yourself in others but embrace it.
I have always seen myself in others. Not in denial of the history of America but as a silent observer of shames of the past. In the white woman at the hair salon with hair kinkier than mine, we steal quick glances at each other, an unspeakable knowing. I see myself when I look into a pair of blue eyes surrounded by blond hair and a face characterized by thick lips and an even wider nose.
If I don't say anything I blend in perfectly with my Native American friends. In New York on a subway I look like a myriad of folks from all over the world as well as all over America.
Yes my grandmother spoke creole french and broken English. Her hair sandy blonde, her eyes transparent green. A proud defiant black woman.
Just as I am reminded by a new generation of my place in America, just as I replaced the mindset of "thinking outside of the box," with "there is no box," I am fully aware that there are no black people or white people. There are only people.
Black history is really American history. Those boxes labeled black, white, Hispanic, and Asian are for people in denial. If we all delve deep enough into our hearts, found and accepted the truth, the only appropriate box to check would be human !