down the rabbit hole…
the name â€œmensahâ€ is Igbo (some believe it is Twi) for â€œthird born son.â€ this makes â€œmensahâ€ a far more accurate name than â€œThomas.â€ i retained my last name (real) to honor my father. combined, mensah demary references my parentsâ€”I love themâ€”and it represents definintionâ€”agency. i am free to define myself, i am free to define myself, i am free to name myself properly.
iâ€™ve never been called a nigger. but i have been called nigger-liteâ€”niggaâ€”as a term of endearment, as a word in search of a new definition. iâ€™ve called people â€œniggasâ€â€”iâ€™ve called you one under my breath. i have a long way to go.
no one called me a nigger, but images whisper in bold letters.
the current web sensation â€œAwkward Black Girlâ€ captivates young black people like me. it is not, however, the fetishizing of awkwardness. â€œawkwardâ€ can be swapped for â€œnerdyâ€ or â€œnormalâ€ or â€œfrustratedâ€â€”words in direct opposition to nigger or merely â€œlazy.â€
â€œAwkward Black Girlâ€ challenges the ignorant & humiliating portrayalsâ€”rhymes with â€œbetrayalâ€â€”of so-called black life. it is satireâ€”if CNN & other channels like to run shows about the â€œblack experience,â€ then we can use the same medium to mock them, to bolster us. â€œAwkward Black Girlâ€ is about identity: love yourself, or donâ€™tâ€”but be yourself.
these words are from a black man. they should be associated with black men. black women, meanwhile, fight the good fight against â€œThe Help.â€ soon, i will join them on the battlefield, at the intersection of Mammy and White Guilt.
iâ€™ve never been called a nigger, but i was accused of â€œtalking white.â€ i blacken my words with agency; i await the accusation of writing â€œafrican-american.â€
as a child, when i knew I was losing at checkers or Candyland, i flipped over the board or smacked away the game pieces.
if all black men in america spoke up, one by one, just to tell their side of the tale, then Toure, Tyrese and Steve Harvey would pipe down. just an idea.
i never been called a nigger, but i do call myself â€œmensah.â€ not a sudden changeâ€”in my head, i havenâ€™t called myself by my real name in twelve years.
the act of naming is holy, but not permanentâ€”and far from automatic accuracy. naming defines you while attaching you to lineage, to history.
i am the third born son of Diane. thatâ€™s all i am.
i never been called a nigger, but if you call me a nigger, i assure youâ€”a nigger will be revealed and it wonâ€™t be me.
black men are not victims.
note: â€œvictimâ€ and â€œvictimizedâ€ are not the same.
tell me white men save black women from unmarried lives; tell me our children have no fathers; tell me we donâ€™t read & we canâ€™t create (except babies); tell me in your soft tone, with disingenuous babble about race (post), how we mean nothing to everyone; tell me about the niggers in jail and in rap videos, waiting for my smile & nod; tell me my name is Thomas; tell me youâ€™re not listeningâ€”