I don’t like collard greens or sweet potato pie. I don’t eat grits—with sugar, eggs, shrimp, cheese or salt. Don’t eat them period. I’ve learned how to play dominoes and spades probably 20 times now and for the life of me, I still don’t know what the heck I’m doing. I can’t remember the rules long enough to call them up the next time somebody tries to draw me into a game. I’ve never seen I’m Gonna Get You Sucka or Coming to America in their entirety. And I really don’t see what all the fuss over Anita Baker is about, although admitting that almost got me beat up one time.
For these and probably a dozen more reasons, I’ve had my Black card threatened on more occasions than I can rightly count. Even my own daughter tried to take it when it came out that she could beat me pretty easily in two Black girl rites of passage: numbers and double dutch. Forget that my graduate work is in African-American studies or that I can flawlessly transition from the Electric Slide to the Wobble Dance without being that person who gets the rhythm all jacked up. Doesn’t matter. You might be born with it, but holding on to it is a whole different story. Lawd don’t I know it. And you might just lose your black card if:
1. You stumble through the first stanza of Lift Every Voice and Sing (or you only come in loud and proud on the chorus) but you know “Moves Like Jagger” word for word.
2. You can name every character on Gossip Girl but struggle to identify the three original cast members on Dreamgirls.
3. You can’t celebrate Barack Obama being in the White House, even if you don’t agree with his politics.
4. You ease your hand down to lock your car doors or subtly grasp your purse strap tighter when you see a band of young, Black men approaching.
5. You brazenly use the N-word in mixed company or even worse, you call a person in mixed company the N-word.
6. You’d rather wear an offensively scaggy lace front or a ri-damn-diculous weave than be caught dead rocking your natural hair.
7. You don’t have at least one uncle living in his glory days, an aunt who’s hanging onto 35 when she’s almost 65, or a cousin who “went away” for a little while.
8. You cannot, on command, list five Luther Vandross songs.
9. You don’t support Black businesses—and you badmouth them to anybody who’ll listen—because you had a bad experience one time seven years ago.
10. You call Kool-Aid by its actual flavor instead of identifying it solely by its color.