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  • Writer's picturejdc

Where Are You From?

“Where are you from?”


Have you ever been asked this question? It can be deceiving. At first it can be construed as genuine interest. A desire to learn more about you as a person – a fellow human with whom another human wishes to deepen the connection.


And yet when I am asked this question, regardless of the person asking, it is often an attempt to categorize me – to make sense of me. Here is what this question seeks to reveal:

  • What kind of Black are you?

  • Are you Black enough?

  • Are you domestic or exotic?

To be reduced to a single story narrative (i.e., southern, from a major metropolitan, etc.) or an exception (i.e., the magical negress) is part of being Black that many of us share. When it happens I always think of Chimananda Ngozi Adichie


I am a Black person.

I am not all Black people.


That being said, we (Black people) all share one thing - the experience and preparation required of us walking into a room full of white people.


Illustration by Lansing Cai/cnn - In handwriting style font the question "But where are you really from?" is split by a tear in the paper and five differently colored people drawn in pen against a drawn city outline in the background
Illustration by Lansing Cai/cnn - In handwriting style font the question "But where are you really from?" is split by a tear in the paper and five differently colored people drawn in pen against a drawn city outline in the background

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