Growing up an “Oreo” in America

time-100-influential-photos-john-dominis-black-power-salute-61Now this is a story all about how my life was flipped turned upside-down….

Wait…..

I’ve always lived this life. Nothing has changed, and the new normal, has always been for me, in a sense, just like every other african american in america. This is nothing new! That’s the first thing that america should understand.

All my life I have been known as the “good boy”. The one who you shouldn’t be “scared of” because of the way I carried myself (i.e. my mf’n personality). I’ve been called “white boy” more times that I could count growing up and at that time, I only took it as a playful gesture. I was called “white boy” though because of my skin. I was really really light skinned. Already being taught the importance of appearance in society before I even knew how important it would be. My family and friends used to call me this all the time, so when strangers decided to as well as I grew up and went to different schools, I didn’t think much of it. I just went with it. They were just playing, right? Unbeknownst to me, I was being called that because of how I acted.

An Oreo: “To be African-American in appearance, but to have interests that align with those of Caucasian people.”

Which brings up the question of “What is acting black/white” anyway? This is probably another story for another day.

Anywho, growing up I had minimal influence from others. Elementary school, I had two good white friends, and one indian (south asian) friend and the rest of the people I hung out with were family. All black. I’ve always loved hip hop and r&b growing up and literally had more rhythm that I could deal with (still do, but I’m just tall and awkward now), but just because I didn’t act a certain way growing up, I wasn’t considered african american by my peers. Funny thing is, I probably still am not considered “black”. Obviously my skin color states otherwise, but nope, stick me in a class with the AP and Honors kids (which weren’t even predominately white either so…wtf) and don’t hang around with a certain group and BAM. You’re caucasian.

One of those white guys was my great friend. All the way up until high school. But once we got to high school, he said one thing to me that I will never ever forget. He says “you know that we aren’t going to be friends when we get to high school, right?”. Me, being the ignorant son of a bitch I was at the time was like what? Why? What’s going to happen?

All of a sudden….Immediate disconnect of conversation. I lost my best friend from years 2 to 8 just like that. It was because he didn’t want to be associated with a black guy. I know most of you are thinking, “how do you know that?”.  Well you just don’t throw away 6 years of constant friendship, you know?

Moving on…

I will ALWAYS be a black man. I can’t change that. No matter how proper I talk, and what crowd I hang around. I could be the most non threatening man in America, but I will still be seen as a BLACK MAN. Unfortunately, this is something a lot of non black people can’t seem to understand. You know me, sure. You understand my personality, and how I carry myself, sure. But when I’m in a situation where someone who doesn’t know me, the first thing they see is a big black aggressive male. Essentially, a threat.

I remember my mom giving me “the talk”. No, not the birds and the bees one, but about how I should “act in public”.  My dad was a cop and sheriff, so I already had a grasp of the bullshit happening even back then.  Luckily, I was more worried about embarrassing my mom (who was a teacher) and my dad that I didn’t really get into too much trouble. But that doesn’t negate the fact that I had to hear about my blackness being a problem; Even though I was called “white boy” on multiple occasions.

“But Malc, how could someone like you be seen as someone like these other guys out in america who are breaking the law and that shouldn’t have been causing trouble in the first place.”  “You’re seriously the nicest black guy I know and you wouldn’t hurt a fly”. (Yes, I have heard these quotes VERBATIM on multiple occasions). All of these quotes from well-intentioned  Caucasians, of course, but because you don’t have to deal with this on a regular basis, there is no way that you could could imagine.

Don’t believe me….Here’s a small example;

Many of you who know me already probably already know this story, but I was down in the “dirty” Myrtle for a random friends trip, and me and my friend were on our way back to our hotel. Mind you we’ve been drinking, as all of america in Myrtle Beach that night. Ocean Blvd was literally backed up with cars full of drunk kids. Even kids riding on the back of pickup truck yelling out obscenities and who knows what else. The point I’m getting across is, me and my boy were not the only ones out and about at this moment.

I bump into one of those trees that these cities always think is good idea to place in the middle of the sidewalk walking back to the hotel, and a police officer decides to stop us. Mind you, my friend probably looks like he’s about 11 at this time, so the officer lady probably thought she was stopping an underage drinker. Whatever, that’s not the problem I have at the moment.

So she stops us. Asks us where we were going, asks us how old we were, and we tell her. She doesn’t believe us and asks for ID. We show her, and boom, legal. This should be the end of the conversation right? No. She decided to roll over to the fact that my boy was too drunk and he was bumping into trees (which she was wrong, that was me) so we need to chill out before we go anywhere. We were about 3 blocks from the hotel at this point. I tell her that, and she’s like no, you need to call a taxi. Me, being the slightly drunk irrational person I am, asked her why we couldn’t walk (since we were literally 3 blocks away). Woman told us that she would arrest us and take us in for public intoxication if we didn’t call a taxi. Again, ALL of ocean blvd was probably two times more drunk than myself and my friend at this point. We look at nearby taxis….TWO HOUR wait. We tell her and then she calls her little cop friend. Idk what she said, but she was like “as long as you go back to your hotel, you can go back”. Like bitch, I didn’t break the law, I can go back regardless.

I know this story isn’t a “bad” as other stories you’ve probably heard from other people, but to be stopped and almost arrested, even after proving your age AND being coherent enough to have AND remember a conversation. There was no reason for us to be stopped when there were clearly other people more drunk than us around.

This is how the average black male lives their life. You might not believe it, but things like this happen more often than you realize, and THIS is what needs to change in america. This is why we say BLACK LIVES MATTER.  It’s unfortunate that we have to “censor” ourselves.  It’s unfortunate that I have to review EVERY. SINGLE. EMAIL. I send because I don’t want to sound like the angry black man even though I’m asking a simple question. It’s unfortunate that we have to actively ensure we aren’t being a threat for fear that we may be arrested, or fired, or even KILLED.

And you have people caring more about how they feel like people kneeling is disrpecting a flag when Mike Brown, Philando Castile, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, and every other male or female who were taken from us, by someone who felt they were the Judge in each situation.  That could have been me, arrested because I’d rather walk and save money than call a lame ass myrtle beach taxi.