Thursday, May 5, 2011

How Much “Blacker” Can I Be?

I recently put in an entry for a contest for Black Women’s Fiction because I thought I was a black woman, writing for women, including black women like me.

Lo and behold, when I got the score sheet back, one of the judges felt I was confusing Multicultural Women’s Fiction with Black Women’s Fiction. Now, I totally indentify with multicultural, but I also identify with Black Women’s Fiction because I am 100% black, at the risk of sounding condescending, though no harm is intended. I am not mixed with anything. I am just about as black as they come.

I feel like Obama now. Do I have to bring my Birth Certificate to show who my parents are? Though born in the UK, it does list my Nigerian parents, which makes me fully Nigerian. Or do I have to do a DNA to prove my origin or just how black I am? Do I have to go to my local government in Nigeria to prove I’m on some kind of list?

Now, if they really meant African American Women’s Fiction, why didn’t they just say so? Then we African women would know to step to the side. But I take offense with being told I do not belong in Black Women’s Fiction but rather in Multicultural Women's Fiction. So, I go better with Asians and Indians (which I totally have no problem with) than I do with those sisters that have my skin tone? Why can’t I belong in both genres?

Once again, I feel this distancing by African Americans from Africans. This is the exact reason why I am now part of an organization that is spreading the word about unity among African Americans and Africans. It is called Bridging the African Divide (BTAD), a non-profit. Our board consists of the most amazing group of African Americans and Africans I have seen in one place in a long time.

I am already aware that African American readers do not read much of books by Africans, generally speaking. Not the rule, of course. This was actually explained to me by a Nigerian book store owner who caters to the African American crowd but hardly stocks books by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie because the few copies he has have gotten old in his store. That has been his experience and I agree with him because generally, I have not seen enough support from the African American community either.

Is that warped or what? Is it just me, or is something wrong with that picture? Is this just another manifestation of the Black people nontogetherness? Like the Tyler Perry syndrome! And yes, I just made up that word because I can.

Will we ever be one?



Folake. :(