To black or not to black?

by kawrage

Am I black or am I brown? That – for me – has been a very perplexing question.

I understand that it would seem like a trivial exercise for quite a few people. After all, doesn’t being a woman of colour mark us as colonised, exoticised, exploited, violated and fetishised? Can’t it be said that these categories are arbitrary and shifting? And to what extent is it even relevant to my own context?

It’s not the question itself that vexes me, but rather the fact that I’m asking it in the first place. It highlights how I’ve internalised an hierarchy: brown over black.

Blackness, I feel, excludes – or at the very least places me on the margins of – other markers of identity (such as being Muslim or Arab) , while brownness allows for transcending, integrating and moulding identities.

It’s as if blackness is a void – a darkness that consumes everything.