I’m called a free spirit…a hippie; which are declarations proclaimed on the heels of what many of my chocolate dusted friends call “doing white people shit.” Let me explain…
When it comes to activities that are involved in nature many of the groups I run with are not used to or familiar with others like them or in their circle who genuinely enjoy things like hiking, tubing, kayaking, even cabin trips. My labor day weekend couples retreat was the perfect place for many to declare such a statement and it got me to thinking; do I limit myself in the same ways a statement like that limits my community?
In truth I’ve always done the things that I like. It’s those things that has gotten me stamped with the label “weird” or “strange.” Yet, even some of those labels are followed by the statement which makes an assumption that I must be an outlier to the norm for liking outdoor activities. To be honest, it not the labels that concern me so but the idea that liking something for pure enjoyment in a specific category places you in this gray area where black people are not thought to reside.
“Oh, y’all doing white people stuff. White people really know how to have fun and enjoy life; I wish black people would do that more.” I’m paraphrasing but this was a statement that was made as a way to show excitement for the news that I was in a mountain cabin, trekking to hidden waterfalls and floating on big donut shaped tubes downstream. I analyzed this statement, wondering if there were some truth to it that I had not thought of before.
I mean when I typed in “cabin” and “kayaking” I did get a bunch of smiling faces of people doing these activities who look nothing like me. I imagine typing in “hip hop dancing” or “barber shop” would have generated more familiar faces. Even the search engine stereotypes us and locks us into a search box; must we also do that to ourselves? In my thought process I discovered that my community is creative, rich in making the most out of the smaller things because many times that’s all we could see in front of us.
We can have spontaneous karaoke at an Applebee’s on a Tuesday night or turn a Friday night at the cinema into a fashion show/world premiere atmosphere, just refer to the hype surrounding black panther. My point is, my community does know how to have fun and enjoy life; more and more we are expanding and reaching outside of our boxes to see a world of different activities that has been otherwise foreign to us for more than one reason. But those activities do not belong to a specific race or ethic group; they belong to all of those adventurous enough to explore them.
Will I ever go bungee jumping or do the great cheese roll (omg look that up, it’s hilarious)?…HELL NO; but if one of my black friends decides to I won’t tell them that they’re “crazy to do that white people shit.” I’ll just say “you’re crazy,” because what they look like doesn’t determine WHAT they like.
Don’t put arguably the most diverse group, black people, into such a box, there are many of us who love nature; who feel at home in it and feel like we find another piece of ourselves when we partake in outdoor activities.
No Race explains all of what you are, what you love or what you can do.
I am not just my race. Though I advocate on behalf of this important part of who I am, it is not what I am. What I am is a 27-year-old soul with free-flowing natural hair who loves doing all kinds of fun, exciting things. I love finding different parts of myself in bars on the dance floor, hiking trails, forever 21 sales racks, or even completely pretentious books. What I like doesn’t determine what race I belong to no more than my skin determines whether I should be fairly treated. I will never place myself in those mental chains, my only hope is that those in my community no matter what gender, demographic, race etc…will free themselves from it as well. Let’s just do
white people shit we enjoy in this life. No labels, No statements, just life.
Ok Builders, Let’s hear it. What new activities have you participated in lately that was not considered your cultural norm? Comment below and Let’s Talk.