“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.