Living La Vida Token.

Random introductory tangent: When I started this topic I had intended to put a picture up. Let me give you a rundown of the pics I found on Google when I searched “Token Black Person” lol: Lisa Turtle from “Saved By the Bell”,  Mercedes from “gLee”, Princess Tiana from “The Princess and the Frog”, the Black Power Ranger, Gerald from “Hey, Arnold!” and Omarosa. The thought crossed my mind to make a collage, but there’s no discreet way to do that when I’m supposed to be doing work lol. *sigh*. I think I’ll go picture-less today. lol

A few little known facts about me:

1. I have never in my life attended a public school (and I may never… depending on how these grad apps go.)
2. Before I started college, I could count on my fingers how many black friends I had.
3. My family (my parents/sisters and I) never lived in a neighborhood where there were more than one family of black neighbors aside from our own.
4. I had never heard of “Historically Black Fraternities/Sororities” until about 2 months into my freshman year.
5. I actively avoided the BSU in highschool
6. It probably would have taken an act of God to get me to go to an HBCU. [Note, years of hashing this out with F, a Morehouse Alum, has given me more perspective on this issue in particular, and while I do still have my reasons for this, that is for another post.]

I was raised as the token.

There have been times when I was honestly more comfortable being the lone black person in a room of non-black people, just because it’s what I’m used to. And conversely, I will admit I’ve had moments where being in a room full of black people who admittedly, I don’t always relate as well to, has made me extremely uncomforable.

The concept of being the only dark face in a sea of those lighter than me has never really bothered me. Like I said, I’m used to it. In highschool, I was one of less than 10 in my class of 73. In college, the black members of the C/O 2009 were less than 100, out of a class of nearly 1500. In my major, which in recent years has boasted graduating classes of well over 100 students, I was one of about 6.

So to put it simply, it doesn’t bother me at all to be in situations where I am the only black person. What can I say, I grew up with super strict African parents. If I had even tried to bring that ghetto nonsense into my house, my mother would have smacked the sense back into me lol.  And as grad school approaches, I’m acknowledging the fact that I’ll prolly be the only black person in my department, but I’m not terribly surprised or anxious. I mean that’s been my life for like, ever, right? lol.

Even F calls me “bougie” lol. Patients at work ask me why I “talk white” (a term I HATE, btw). And I get a lot of grief from more “urbanly acclimated” black folk but in all honesty, clearly not much is gonna change from this point on.

Looks like I’m a token for life, lol.


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