You Can Take My Pride and My Dignity, but Why Are People Always Trying to Take My Black Card Away?csudhbulletin August 13, 2020 0 COMMENTS
I know I deserve to have my Black Card Taken away, but let me live why don’t you? Photo by Jessica Potter.
By Destiny Jackson, Opinion Editor
What’s a Black Card?
According to the nifty Urban Dictionary: “‘Black Card’ is an imaginary card that all black people are born with and that mixed people have to earn and it’s constantly under threat of being revoked if said black person does not act black enough or in proper black ways.”
The point being, it’s the Black social construct of “blackness.” For example, maybe you’ve never seen the “Friday” series starring Ice Cube and Chris Tucker, or perhaps you can’t name more than two Whitney Houston songs. When other Black folks find this out about you, you become an immediate target of the Black community.
My black card has been in a constant fluctuation of being threatened for a number of reasons over the years. I like salt and NOT sugar in my grits, I didn’t truly appreciate Beyonce until my early-20s, I occasionally shop at Whole Foods Market, and I don’t like Tyler Perry films–even though I watch them–but these are minor offenses. Here are three main reasons why my black card should be taken away, and one reason why I’ll go out fighting for it.
I can’t dance.
Somehow, I didn’t inherit the rhythm gene from my African ancestors. I get so jealous looking at videos on social media where I see women dancing or Black folks line dancing to the “Cupid Shuffle” at the cookout. And every night I often ask myself why I can’t twerk like Meg the Stallion–honestly sis, how does it feel to be God’s favorite? The closest I’ve come to “successfully” dancing was when I was (unfortunately) asked to prom, and my date pulled me out on the dance floor to LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It” and I managed not to step on anyone’s dress or feet, but I did knock an entire cup of punch on a girl’s $300 dress. I’ve never danced at a party since.
Denzel Washington does nothing for me (I’m sorry).
This is not necessarily about him as a whole, but more about the embarrassing gap in my Black cinematic knowledge. It’s truly a damn shame that I can name every character in “Game of Thrones” or effortlessly quote “Legally Blonde” but struggle to remember that “Spawn” (1997) and “Blade” (1998) are two different Black comic book superhero films and that Wesley Snipes was in … one of them. I’ve seen “The Wiz”, “Alex Haley’s Roots”, and “The Color Purple” but it’s still shameful, and I’m working on it. There are many classics (and current) Black films and television that I need to catch up on. Thank goodness Netflix just added popular 90s/00s retro black sitcoms like “Moesha”, “Sister, Sister”, and “Girlfriends” to their catalog. I’ve got some serious
catching up blackening up to do.
I really like Coldplay, like a lot.
Being a Black person who has loved Coldplay for most of my 27-year-old life (seriously, 19 years) has been nothing but exhausting. Not in the traditional sense of physical exhaustion, but in an emotional sense. Countless times my friends put me in charge of various party playlists, only to be sorely disappointed when vibing to the likes of Nicki Minaj, Beyonce, or Childish Gambino a Coldplay song shuffles into the mix. I’m tired of justifying why I don’t know all the words to “WAP” by Cardi B (ft. Meg the Stallion) but know all the words to “Fix You.”
I know there’s famous Coldplay jokes from films such as “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Family Guy”’s ongoing jokes that allude to Coldplay fans being mentally challenged for liking their “whiny bullcrap.” It certainly didn’t help things when they performed at the 2016 Super Bowl 50 halftime show, and most of the attention online went to the surprise appearances from Beyonce and Bruno Mars.
So, I know how hard it is to be an unwavering Black Coldplay fan, and honestly, Chris Martin should pay me for the emotional damages. And that’s why I will never, under any circumstances, tell anyone that I also like Jason Mraz and Jack Johnson…unless I want to be permanently banned from every Black function for eternity.
It helps to remember that Black people are not a monolith.
While this article is written in jest–though the statements above are true–it is important to remember that despite certain stereotypes, or narratives about what it means to “truly” be Black, not all of us like the same things. And there is beauty in that. As we dive deeper into the digital age and the effects of globalization, we can find others with similar interests. I no longer need to worry about being judged for liking Coldplay, OK, maybe a little. I don’t need to worry about being a Black female gamer who is into Japanese Role Playing Games (JRPGs) as there’s now an entire Twitch channel dedicated to Black girl gamers and popular horror game black YouTuber CoryxKenshin holding down the fort in representation.
Blackness encompasses a variety of things. So, the next time someone tries to take away your black card (or mine), ask the person if they’ve read James Baldwin or Jane Austen or Stephenie Meyer, or if they’ve seen “The Wizard of Oz” or “Moonlight” or “Blacula.”
You’ll find that we all have cultural blind spots and that we should educate ourselves and celebrate these differences instead of shaming people…I mean, unless you don’t like Coldplay either. Then we’ve got problems.