"Acting White"

by Najma Hassan

I recently went out to dinner with a group of friends and we stumbled upon the conversation topic of "acting white". This sparked an interesting debate among  my friends and I.  My friends believed that I and two others behaved the most "white". According to them, the "white" characteristics I exhibited were as follows; using an essential oil diffuser, taking a holistic approach to medicine, and wearing stackable arm jewelry. The other two were perceived to act "white" because of the manner in which they spoke. They enunciated their words, spoke in clear diction, and used a broad vocabulary. 

Although, this conversation started out being comical. Once we identified what characteristics were synonymous with being "white", it struck a question in my head. Why are all the intelligent, classy attributes deemed as synonymous with being white? Why are the more progressive, innovative ideas and philosophies "white"?

Many times the black people who practice these principles tend to be more educated, and from a societal standpoint, are more accepted because they have assimilated to "white" culture. It's as if the lower socioeconomic groups strive to implement these "white" practices and philosophies in order to fit into that group. Hence it is believed the more rich and educated you are, the more "white" you are. But guess what? YOU'RE STILL BLACK! If you believe that this is the epitome of success, then you will be forever caught in the complex of thinking white people are superior to you. 

So, here's our call to action. Stop defining all forward thinking thoughts with being white. There is no color behind progress!