Contemplating "Black Jealousy"
A recent discussion on the Narrative got me thinking about non-Black people who look down on Black and claim that we're jealous of them. I've read this from various commenters in various spaces on the net, and there's always been something about that thinking which just bugged me (aside for the obvious). It took me a while to fully articulate it until today, when I met some awesome, beautiful Black women at my new job, and every word out of their mouths literally made me think, "God, I love Black people."
Some Black people wish they had more money. They wish for bigger houses, nicer cars, better schools for their kids, and less overall harassment and drama from society. Some of us wish we'd gone to college longer. Some of us wish we'd gone to a better university. Some of us wish our families were better connected and our communities more united. And while some of us envy these things in other people, we generally don't envy the people themselves.
In other words, Black people generally wish for better lives as Black people.
No disrespect to non-Black people, but we don't want to be you. Take Moi, for example; I am a pygmy. I am thick. I...am vain...as hell. I don't want to be a white girl. I don't want to be a Latina. I don't want to be an Asian chick. I love Moi "as is" and I look at my reflection every goddamn chance I get.
I love nothing more than toying with my curls or lathering my skin with cocoa butter or rocking some braids or twists. At the cultural level, I love being a Wimbum girl, and I don't wish I'd been born into another culture. I love listening to my mother tell hilarious stories in Limbum, I love hearing about our people's history from my uncle*, I love our food, I love our clothes, I love our music, and I like the love-hate relationship my fellow Cameroonians have with our neighbors the Nigerians.
I love Africa; I love Africans and all their descendants worldwide. I wish that a lot of things hadn't happened to us. I wish we had more than we do now, but I would never wish that we weren't us. We're simply too awesome to not want to be us. And for all the smack everyone else in the world talks about Africa, people worldwide are constantly coming to our continent and refusing to leave. Those who get deported from our countries actually try to sneak back in.
So for all the people out there comforting themselves with the thought that they're "better" than us and that we're "jealous" of them, um...no. We might want your stuff (which is why some of our more misguided kin might rob you), but we don't want to be you.
This is the part where some troll comes in to rattle off about "the Black people they know", or post a link to some ethnic autophobe's online journal of self-loathing. *chuckles* It's funny how non-Black people always befriend such Black people and deliberately seek them out. Newsflash: those folks are sick. You're comforting and flattering yourself at the expense of people who are sick.
*I also really enjoy conversations about Limbum with my uncle. He's been the first relative to fully and properly explain my Limbum names. My first name is basically a question/proverb which cautions against excessive worry. My middle name is derived from an old term meaning "good behavior." My last name refers to "the people's trouble" or "a troubled people."
Thus, my uncle explained, my real name essentially means, "The one who, through good behavior, eases the worry of a troubled people."