By Jenise Jackson
Blog Content Contributor
Jenise Jackson, the black girl who was never really defined as cool. She can’t really dance, she doesn’t party and her favorite movie is Napoleon Dynamite. She can also appear to be very standoffish in certain situations, mainly because she has no clue on how to approach them. I guess this isn’t what most people would consider to be the stereotypical “black girl”. So congratulations to me, I am awkward.
While others might think being awkward is a curse, I embrace it wholeheartedly. I love not being what others expect me to be. However, it took me a while to appreciate my difference. Growing up, other black girls would describe me as being “white” or an “Oreo”, as if those were personalities. The thing was, I knew I was black (all I had to do was look at my skin to tell me that) and I wasn’t ashamed of that fact. I just dabbled in things that I guess most black kids around me wouldn’t particularly care for. I blasted The All-American Rejects, enjoyed watching reruns of Saved by the Bell , had a crush on curly-haired Nick Jonas. I wasn’t loud or quick to fight someone, I usually talked proper, and people labeled me as “shy” because they assumed I was reserved. But I also enjoyed rapping Lil’ Wayne verses, reciting lines from each episode of A Different World and daydreaming about marrying each member of Mindless Behavior. I wasn’t afraid to throw hands in order to defend myself, I would speak ebonics with those I was comfortable with and I only appeared to be reserved in some situations because I was afraid of completely embarrassing myself. The point I’m trying to make is that I always felt like I had an advantage, even when others thought I was a loser, because I didn’t try to fit into the categories that society had set up for me. I chose not to limit myself.
I never understood why my characteristics always made people associate me with the idea of wanting to be white. I believe this is what caused me to have low self-esteem for years. Of course I have nothing against white people, but I also didn’t want to be anything other than black. My way of thinking was that because I had a love and appreciation for different cultures and interests, I was just very open-minded and that was perfectly fine. We as people shouldn’t be expected to be more than just ourselves. We should be able to be who we are and like what we like without feeling as if we are a questionable being. Sure I may not fit in with everyone, but normal is way too boring for me. Being awkward has made each day of life a new experience and I wouldn’t have it any other way (well I guess we could take back some of those awkward silences I’ve had in several different conversations).
Even though I wish my awkwardness was more accepted when I was younger, I am glad to see that more black individuals are flourishing in their true personalities. I like having shows like Insecure, Atlanta, and Chewing Gum that remind us that not every black girl is sassy or full of attitude and not every black guy wants to be an athlete or a rapper. These are narratives that are necessary because they help tear down the unnecessary stereotypes that plague our society. Maybe it is just me, but it’s almost as if being uncool is becoming cool and I love it.
Featured image by Jenise Jackson.