identity’s a bitch.
black, non-binary, queer
gamer, creative, dreamer
some of these things i chose, and some of them i didn’t. they were just kind of thrown onto me. it also didn’t help that being part of Gen-Z means that i grew up chronically online.
Overflows of information.
i used to hear that all the time growing up.
“Standing that close to the tv will rot your your brain.”
“You spend too much damn time on those videogames.”
“If you got time to google all that ‘how to get a book published’ bullshit, then you should have no problem getting a scholarship, mr.writer.”
in case you were wondering… yes. i am deeply traumtized in a lot of ways. honestly though, i think it was less about being influenced and more so about learning about different ways of being in the world.
in other articles by myself and countless other Black folks, we often recount how the trauma of racism follows us our birth to death.
niggas born under miraculous conditions of antiblackness; niggas dying in spectcular dipslays of violence.
growing up under the constant specter of whiteness–from whitewashed history curriculums, children’s programming that primarily fostered White audiences, and remaking my image into whiteness in the role-playing videogames that i played. whiteness had its metaphorical and material boots on my neck.
it took me a while to come to consciousness, to understand myself as Black. the same thing happened with my sexuality and my gender identity(something i am just now grappling on with).
for me though, i hated the idea that life was about “finding yourself.” for people that were deemed normal by society, “finding yourself” is just about becoming that version of what society wants you to be. it puts the implied subject of “you” finding yourself as a passive act, as something that just comes to you.
life’s too short to be looking for yourself. baby, it’s time to create yourself.
this isn’t me trying to sell-some water down “girlboss, neoliberal” propaganda. the historical structures that we live in literally determine what identities we are allowed to access and what not.
dominant representations of blackness are historically signified as “docile” “ghetto” and “excessive” to name a few.
dominant conceptions of whiteness are signified from past into present as “rational” “human” and “diverse.” think of the way that White characters in any number of shows from The Vampire Diaries, Teen Wolf, and even my personal favorite Euphoria are able to have rich narrative and aesthetic diversity because whiteness is allowed the capacity of complexity.
these all serve as examples of how whiteness is afforded the full nuances and complexity that make up the messy parts of people’s identities. blackness isn’t afforded that same nuance. if it was, George Floyd, Tamir Rice and Breonna Taylor would still be here with us.
blackness isn’t something i asked for; it’s something located onto my body and flesh because of the myths, narratives, and ideologies we reproduce about people that are racialized as Black in society.
i came into blackness because i had no other choice. so believe me when i say, i understand that identity formation is more than just the individual trying to recreate themselves over and over. this process of refashioning yourself is constrained by what society deems appropriate.
think about why it’s fairly easy for a lot of people to conflate blackness with criminality and not with an inherited virtue or innocence, not even afforded to Black children.
regardless of how the world tries to treat me, regardless of how society overdetermined blackness as having value only for the project and in and service of whiteness.
look no further for evidence than the way White conservatives easily rally behind the words of Black folks such as Candace Owens or Kayne West, but fail to consider the work of other Black people that aren’t ideologically the same as them as i.e. James Baldwin, Angela Davis, bell hooks.
i have value. ever time i open my Black ass mouth, everytime I switched up my aesthetics, everytime i dare to experiment with something new, i break the possibility of what’s possible.
does that mean my tiny act of resistance has toppled down the walls of transphobia and antiblackness?
does that mean it didn’t matter?
–the farthest thing from it.
my good sis in power says it best
“If I didn’t define myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.”
whenever i assert my identity through how i experience the world,
as a person who exists between too many fucking nexuses society,
i bring who i am to bear on the world.
because teetering on the edge of what doesn’t already exist, allows for the possibility for something to come about.
when you’re at the rung of society,
you always manage to create something out of nothing.