I have, at this late age, settled on what I am: AAmerican. Spelled with a Double A but pronounced American. Some might see AA as a target and others as a mark of excellence. I exist somewhere in between. Though our numbers are fewer than theirs, I am not a minority. I refuse the negative connotation and stereotype. I am an American with afforded rights and privileges. I am a member of a group: AAmerican. Human nature categorizes. I’m ok with that. I refuse, however, to be beaten down because of some vague notion I might be a threat to someone’s woman and, eventually, way of life.
So I have quit checking the box. I have stopped wondering who I am. I have stopped explaining I am ideologically Black, not African-American, Negro, Colored . . .
I am descended from the African peoples brought here as slaves to build to America. I am an integral part of the United States.
But why identify at all. Because too many out there still see me as a rusty, wayward nail. I must remind myself to keep safe, to keep my children safe, and friends, relatives and loved ones that there are discriminating hammers that will pound the life from us if given the chance.