19 Answers: What Does It Mean to be Black In 2010

As most of you all know, I’m often left with a bitter taste in my mouth when people just assume that there is one monolithic way to express one’s ethnic culture. I am one of those guys that grew up in the “black” community with a mother who was an English major from a pretty prestigious college, who just happened to be able speak with a dialect different from all of his peers. With experience has come understanding, yet I see that many are affected by the same limited social and cultural paradigms that offset my life. In that need to understand better, to develop a better coping mechanism for my own childhood trauma, I ask 24 bloggers and writers from Twitter what they thought. I have the responses of 19 here today…

From @SoNeoSoulFul

In 2010, being Black means different things to different people. To white America, Barack Obama has become the great equalizer. Every version of Black America is seeing something different. One generation says “We finally made it” to another that has no idea to where we have finally arrived. Another mindset sees beautiful window dressing on a roach-infested house that is being eaten by termites. To me, the whole world has it wrong. Being Black in 2010 doesn’t mean too much more than it did in 2007.

Regardless of all the strides that have been taken, our children still have the lowest test scores. Fathers are walking away from their families because they had a baby with the wrong woman. Affirmative Action and race quotas be damned, because we’ve still got the highest unemployment rates. We have no pride in ourselves. We have become completely content with the crumbs from the master’s table. As far as the general Black mind is concerned, we already went through the Civil Rights Movement and everything is now as good as it will get. I feel like we have given up on the prospect of running the world. Our children don’t even know there WAS such a thing as a BLACK Wall Street. The details of Dr. King’s legacy have been reduced to a boulevard in town and a day off school.

I have graduated college in that time span. I have beaten another set of odds. I’m a few steps closer to where I want my life to be. I am a writer and a mentor. And I still feel like my Black skin is the first thing that defines me. I am not a woman, I’m a Black woman. When I get published, any fiction I write will be labeled “African American” regardless of how I describe it. Time hasn’t changed that, and it’s definitely not the only thing we need. Being Black in 2010, to me, means frustration and disappointment.

From @Coreman2200

What does it mean to be black in 2010.

While I find that the only Truth one obtains is fodder for the Self, I find myself rather interested in this question: What does it mean to be black neigh-47 years after the lauded and aptly named “I Have A Dream” speech? I am a “Black” Man. An honor in which I partake wholly by the will of my mother and my father. A classification that in My Truth speaks ‘only’ of my taking in of interactions with those of different pigmentation in this either really vast or infinitesimally small world that we all share, from earth to sky, from breath to breath.

What does it mean to be ‘Black’..

My life experiences place me quite disparately from the masses of my people. My thinking often puts me at odds with either the conscious or unAware of my collective. My Way has led me astray from our form and define of Truth. But my potential or his potential or her potential or Their potential are similarly and equally infinite.

So. What is it to be ‘Black’..

In frustration I’ve once defined being Black as being “not White”. We, the conscious, seek to dissolve the powerhouse and evil empire that is the White. We, the unAware, sell our culture to the White that could never emulate our passion and our Story. I feel that in my youth and often-internalized passion such a hasty judgment was made, and that it should be acknowledged, then lost. I imagine, still, that with this paragraph alone I will never be president.

Black…

I think within this question lies our greatest failing. We are still seeking some mechanism by which to classify We the People and define our boundaries – our limitations – our box… So anything that falls outside of such understanding is not of that same group. If I don’t feel inclined to hate ‘them’, then I am not ‘we’. If I don’t Swag Surf or pack an mp3 player within the range of Soulja Boy through to Talib, then I am not ‘we’. If my experience makes me atypical, if my Way leads me away from the litany of stereotypes, if my thinking is to love the grand sons and daughters of the ‘enemy’ – then I am not familiar. The question in itself asks of me to cage myself within my own prison, just to say, “Hey! I’m here, too guys! See Me.”

Where, as I see it, to be Black, or White, or Me or They, is to Be.

The saying “There’s nothing new under the Sun” strikes me as both amazing and wholly applicable here, because it is both absolutely True and False, depending on one’s thinking and their perspective. To he that looks to the past to define our future, nothing’s new. To she who teachers her sons and/or daughters to acknowledge the collectively imagined line in the sand, nothing’s different. To the one or the many that aim not to change and evolve and Grow beyond our vendettas and an eagerness to blame, nothing changes.

BUT.

To all that look to Self to define our future, everything’s new. And in every single instance of Now, and with every moment that we collectively experience under that Sun, to be Black, or any other anything, is to be absolutely and unfathomably infinite.

So. To me, being Black in 1963, 2010, or year 2323, means to be any and all that the potential of one’s Way, one’s Heart, and one’s Self will ever permit.

From @Dingane1

To be black in 2010 is to be a heir to a rich diverse and global cultural heritage that founded civilization. However as grand lineage as that is the historical reality of globalization white supremacy and the race gender capitalism caste that has been set up to maintain it as well as a measure of being our own worst enemy has derailed us from where we should be in my estimation. As a result what it means to be black has developed some characteristics that reflect such a situation.

One of them for me being the a black existence is one that is caught in a series of consecutive tug of war matches. I realize such an assertion could apply to any group however as an diasporic african in america the metaphor just seems to fit snugly. Diasporic Africans in america are pulled between individual and community;tradition/antiquity and innovation; integration and separation; monolithic wholeness and functional heterogeneity; violence and non violence; america vs africa (in terms of residence and loyalty) to name a few. All of these choices are made on a individual level and collective level whether there is a meeting about it or not. And as a result have very real tangible consequences on what black will be in the future or if blackness will even continue to exist.


From @SwagDonors

To be Black in 2010, to me, means the World is yours. Gift and curse. Keep your “nose clean”? You can be the next Obama, which only means “no ceilings”…he ain’t shit, I digress. Get dirty? They’ll put you under the under. The power Blacks have is obvious.

Pick a genre of life, they all lead to Blacks somehow. It’s time for us to realize that it’s ALL us, not all about us, IT is us. When a giant seeks to be “all it can be”,nothing can compare. The ball has BEEN in our court. Word.

A donor



From @Speciallyours

Soooo to be black in America…. so much could be said

Everything that our ancestors did in order for us to make progress has been lost.

Everything that was once a issue is now ok. Many morals have been lost, along with tradition.

We have no respect for ourselves and are feeding into the stereotype. No one is holding us back. We’re now at a point where we’re holding ourselves back.

We have so many followers in the community now and not enough leaders.


From @Born2Motivate

To be Black in 2010 means to be just as fulfilled as I am empty; just as hopeful as I am disheartened; just as elated as I am seething. How could I not be? I am Black. And this is 2010. Not 1963. I am a student, but I am not staging sit-ins; I’m simply sitting, in the midst of racism that went from signs over water fountains to fine print on low-interest shark loan mortgages. This is 2010. You know… the year after the first Black President was born. We gave birth to him, and are still going through labor pains a year later. except Worse. Now, “we have no excuse” for not achieving greatness because we have a Black man in the White House. except That exactly seven (7) miles from the White House little Black children must start school late every Fall because pipes are bursting or roofs are falling in at their schools. But that is okay. They can sit in Their classRooms with Water dripping from the ceiling. They can just use their 56-year-old textbooks as umbrellas to coVer their heads. Or they can look to their 56-year-old teacher for help, but all she’s doing Is looking down at her Watch, Watching to see if it is Time to reTire yet.

Me? I’m elated that now when little Black kids get their hair wet in the dripping, rainy schoolHouse, their little hairs curl back against their scalps because fewer mothers are chemically straightening their baby girls’ hairs. Or … wait… That was a dream I had last night. Sort of like the Dream that MLK had. Or shall I call him Dr. MLK, Jr. since that Dr. title gets dropped an awful lot. I digress. My dreams are like escapes from reality because when I wake up, I am still Black in America in 2010. I do see pieces of Dr. King’s dream coming to fruition, but for everything that glimmers in the light, there lurks a shadow. Shadows are Black, like my People, like the Night, like in that poem that Mr. Langston Hughes wrote. You know the one that my great-grand-children may never read because it’s not in anyone’s textbooks? yeah. THAT one.

I am empty because the Life that was growing inside of me has been birthed into my degrees, into my mother’s first house, into ownership, into marriage – that thing that doesn’t exist between Black People anymore {thanks, Media} – that’s where my life has gone. It has been wasted on advancing myself so that my children will know more; my life has been drained by uplifting my Sistas that want to be wives, too – but could not compete with the easy money that Daddy was making to provide a roof for Her and Baby – could not compete with those thick, heavy, metal Bars. I am empty because I am a vessel waiting on the next seed of Life to fall into my Soul, so that my Uterus may bIrth a new generation of hungry, thirsty, angry, elated, fulfilled, empty Black Babies that will know their own name, and know their grandmother’s name, and know the name that was taken away.

I am hopeful because Obama sold me a drug called “Hope for Change” in 2008, and it takes at least 5 years to wear off. I am hopeful because I am still high. I am disheartened because in order to remain hopeful, I must remain high.

What is being Black in 2010? Being Black is being Love and Love is Always, even in 2010… Love still Is. So for me, being Black in 2010 is being Love and Loved and Loving

– Always.


From @NukNoE

I wish I had more time to gave you a complete thought into how I feel about this question, but honestly, who has the correct answer¿? I feel that being black now is being black in any time period! There has always been some force that either holds back or setsback the african american community. To give this thought a bit more depth…what is considered “black” anymore¿?

We have black people who have no clue of the ancestory and those who could careless!!!

If the race as a whole would take the history of our people more serious then there would and could be a shift in their mental focus. For the most part…most “blacks” in america do not even know their american bloodline…let alone their african one!


From @Brandale2221

Black in 2010: A parable by Brandale Randolph

After doing 32 years in state prison as a political prisoner, James Johnson, was a free man. His daughter and grand daughter picked him up a few hours late but he did not complain. At 55, he was a already a great grandfather but he did not complain. As he rode home, he listened to an hour or more of songs about sex, degradation and killing on mainstream radio but he did not complain. He came home to find the two fathers of his children’s children both smoking weed and playing video games but he did not complain.
Then when none of them went to work that Monday, and his daughter and grand daughter did, he complained. They waited until the women were gone and they beat him within an inch of his life. They tossed him out of the house onto the streets for complaining.
He cried as he walked. Then, to rest he stopped outside a department store. He looked up at the window display. He saw the image of a young black man dressed in pastel tight fitting jeans and a low cut neon striped v-neck t-shirt. With tears in his eyes, he leaned back and shouted to the heavens. He picked up a brick and smashed the window…

HE was Black in 2010…

Brandale Randolph’s book Me & My Broke Nieghbor: The 7 Things I Learned About Success Just By Living Next to Him will be available in print, ebook & audiobook in late Summer 2010. Follow on twitter at @Brandale2221 or search for the Me & My Broke Neighbor fan page.


From @HollywoodHeat

If there’s one thing I’ve learned flirting with the girlfriends and women of the academic circle, its that the answer to every perspective question, is itself perspective. First note: The difference of “meaning” and “definition” and the decision of one over the other for the question’s sake. M-W uses words like “logical,” “intent,” and “language” to describe meaning and uses words/phrases like “determining,” “essential nature of,” and “distinct” to describe definition. It is crucial to recognize the impossibility of defining “Black” before entertaining the idea of its meaning to be……Definitions limit, Meanings give purpose….

“If I abuse myself daily, who can I love?” – Big K.R.I.T (rapper)

– With that said, lets shall we?-

“I was born a slave, but nature gave me a soul of a free man….” – Toussaint L’ouverture (Revolutionary)

The cause and effect of the pain of the Black individual is that of a cryovolcano on a distant moon; frozen intensity experienced only outside of the world considered “normal.” This is not to be Black, nor its meaning in 2010. What it means to be Black in 2010 is to be available, escaped from the mass physical struggle, psychological turmoil of living with and changing what is or is not “constitutional” in regards to Black affairs, and what Henry Louis Gates Jr. in the introduction of ‘America Behind The Color Line’ referred to as the “crisis of identity and representative responsibility” darted to Black’s who set out for intellectual expansion (although that phrase could easily be applied to the generation as a whole) of the last three generations. In “We’re Not Alone” by Nas, he states that “American Blacks” are the “teenagers of this world.” The validity of this statement escapes the reputation that hiphop has retained in recent years. In the next decade, the meaning of being black is to expand. The strength of black men and women will always be reliant on unity, but successfully developing varying perspectives that do not divide unity will be the ultimate goal of this generation.

For every Kenneth Chenault there will be a Gucci Mane, just as for every Freeman A. Hrabowski III there will be a Clarence Thomas. The tendency of the Black community to seek acceptance from others by disowning members of their community will prove cryptic ( in the rapidity of 21st century globalization. This disowning creates a larger disparity amongst the Black people than a “unified” voice intends. To be Black in 2010 is to be irresponsible in a traditional sense, it is to lack fear and “common” sense; of course not a literal application of the way we use those words most often. Progress of the race no longer means sacrifice for future generations. That generation breathes the polluted air of today, because the combination of inexperienced ignorance and being thrown in the water create the most organic solutions.

“I learned the game long time ago………dont ever let these suckers find out what they are trying to know” – Pill (rapper)

The transition amongst other groups of people have also begun. The current power struggle between cultures and races lies in production (of talent or those with the ability to contribute and LEAD economic systems [be it created by one’s own group or another]) rather than on the frontlines with bloodshed (modern wars/conflict are mostly religious based or a result of said power struggle, not the power struggle itself). If the Black population and others have no hunger for this power, race then becomes a failed social construct. This is not the case. Black is the color of the universe, nature’s desire is endless. Black culture is adaptation. To be Black in 2010 is not to end struggle, it is to turn destined into reality.

“We always hope for the easy fix: the one simple change that will erase a problem in a stroke. But few things in life work this way. Instead, success requires making a hundred small steps go right – one after the other, no slipups, no goofs, everyone pitching in.” – Atul Gawande (Surgeon, author of The Checklist Manifesto)

“I’m messy is all” – Tommie Shelby ( Black professor of AfAm philosophy at Harvard University)

– Heat


From Jess…

“What does it mean to be Black in 2010?”

Strabismus. When eyes are not aligned with each other. Greek in origin meaning “to squint”. As the eye muscles lack strength and coordination to focus on the same points simultaneously a person suffering from strabismus often lacks depth perception, adequate peripheral vision, inability to establish or sustain power of motion or direction, and a blurred frontal focus. Directions of the deviation include exotropic meaning outward and esotropic meaning inward, there are also rarer, vertical deviations hypertropia (upward) and hypotropia (downward). To be Black in America is to be afflicted with Strabismus.

It often seems that we as a people lack the ability to see what’s in front of us, and that which we do see is distorted. Who’s holding knowledge captive? I wish I could see the key in my hand, unfortunately, my vision’s fucked. Three hundred years mentally bound; soul still humming hymns yearning for freedom, back still stinging with scars of woeful submission.

Why won’t you let me be great?

Who are we talking to? Exotropic…everyone who burdens me. Esotropic…I who have bent my back for the ease. Hypertropic…God. Hypotropic…Satan. Despite the audience we are crying out. Lost as a people. We. Can’t. See.
We can’t see ourselves. We can’t see each other. There’s a Swedish proverb that says “eyes that do not cry, cannot see,” and as I stand, Black in 2010 I just wish my people would weep.

Weep and wake up to realize these eyes we have don’t work. Take a cue from Jacosta and become blind, maybe then we could see by faith, and learn to trust. As it stands we fall prey to wanting. Something. Everything. Make it better. Somebody? Self? God?
We don’t trust. To be black in 2010 is to give in to the safe mediocrity, or to strive for better battered and wounded at having to claw out of the pack. Why are you leaving? Are you better than I am? Do you see clearer than me? What do you see that I don’t?
Envious of the vision the forerunners. Realizing not, we long ago closed our eyes.

Jessica Williams
University of Tennessee, BA
University of West Georgia, MEd Class of 2011
Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart~Psalms 37:4


From @BlackPosImage

What does it mean to be Black in 2010?

Undefinable Definition

To be Black in 2010 means to be you. To live in an individualistic mind set and to do things to your pleasure without worrying about how you may effect others. Being Black is no longer connected with unity and/or being a part of something greater than yourself. We fought together to make choices alone.

Being Black means being able to make choices in opposition. Being able to defy what was once not available to you and going above and beyond a potential threshold that has been assigned. Individually being Black in 2010 means to defy the laws that once oppressed our skin and even though the chains aren’t there we are still trying to break free.

Being Black in 2010 is fighting for a freedom we have never defined in our own words. Being Black is not definable in Webster or Wikipedia, in 2010 we have become the GREAT unknown.

Copyright 2010 Brittney Greene

Black Positive Image


From @HollaGraphics

What it means to be Black in 2010

I think being black in 2010 means the same thing it meant since the first time we were labeled black,which is STRUGGLE based on confusion. A struggle to unlearn wicked ways adopted from perverse captors. A struggle to define my legacy and establish a standard of excellence. A struggle to master me. A struggle to convince my people to let go of the kidnappers hand and quoting Willy Lynch in their actions. A struggle to be a Black Couple. That means in 2010 we STILL struggle with the one that’s our partner in the struggle. Its hard watching your Queen go out and hustle. It means being a new Father that laments, for he perceives his seeds struggles. A struggle to struggle. It means going the distance to smuggle struggle. Trying not to look like a monkey while you dance and juggle struggles. If all I am is ‘black’ in 2010 than I haven’t struggled hard enough.

In 2010 the most important concept for us to internalize, accept and project is that We Are God. Have always been and will always be. We have been rendered dormant from conditioning. The alarm is banging without a snooze button. We have been programmed into submission. The software is outdated. Its time to reboot and reactivate our original Operating System. Its 2010 which means the time for Black as described by The United States of America has past. It is time for the return of the Divine Mind.

I hope I answered the question Jay. Peace, congratulations + Power to the People.


From @NigerianLamb

What does it mean to be Black in 2010? Owl, Please Edit.

Everybody else seems to easily express their idea of what Black is. But when faced with this question I, assigned as a Black person, could not seem to easily answer it. Probably because I am always being told what Black is… Or what it should be. Rarely is Black defined by Black people. Blackness is something that is often dictated to us. Non sequitor.

Since Blackness has yet to be a determined by us, in the year 2010, I will define being Black as a constant struggle. Fighting to love, define, and accept ourselves. Resisting the urge to glorify things we have been told are to be exalted. Embracing the skin, hair, and influence that we were blessed with. Once we start to accept AND love Black on our own terms, we will truly OWN this idea of ‘being Black’.

From @zqclay

What Does It Mean To Be Black in 2010?
By Zettler Clay IV

Sitting here pondering on this question with Outkast’s E.T. blaring in the background, I am burdened by the futility of finding an answer. I wrote a piece over two years ago about what it’s like being a black man in America. I was 22.

I’m just as pensive now as I was then. I am just as weighted by my experience now as I was then. It’ll be like this until I’m the culinary delight of terrestrial worms.

How do you explain something so innate, so embedded, so….you?

The person who tells me what it’s like being Black in America is the person who has found a way to appropriate the black experience. I realize appropriation is an inevitable side effect of a capitalistic modus operandi. I also realize that appropriation breeds a vague sense of finality that I’d rather not attach to my mental.

(Besides, the definition of race as we know it is a man-made concept used to classify and stratify based on geography and genes. Technically, the black experience is the human experience, being that we came from the same source. But I digress.)

In regards to contemporary discussion, telling my story is telling the black (human) experience. Part and parcel. I’ve owned that and my story isn’t complete.

So, qui suis-je?

I’m from Atlanta (Cascade Rd.), have two scholastic degrees from Georgia State and University of Maryland (in two weeks), read a decent amount, listen to rap, listen to jazz, listens to whatever titillates, hits the scene, endeavors to know as much about my history as I can and openly engages in discussions ranging from hip-hop to Hegel to DuBois to Marx to Jesus to critical race theory.

Not to mention BET. Or Essence. Or the Black Panthers.

And I still couldn’t tell you what being black is anymore than the derelict in downtown Atlanta or D.C. who has no more than a 9th grade education and 5th grade literacy.

The black experience is a kaleidoscope of perspectives, tears, blood-stained clothes, broken promises, glass pipes, hope, education, escapism, razor blades, white powder, achievement, peer pressure, bad role models, rocks, great role models, gym shorts, baseball bats (and gloves), trumpets, church, family dinners, hugs, turnips and beets, whippings, ass whippings, straight beat-downs and brushes with death.

The black experience is a constant face-to-face with reality.

All under the umbrella of love, exilic soul searching and death (in all forms).

My story is the black experience. My experience is the human experience. Part and parcel. I’ve owned that, and my story isn’t complete.

For more Zettler Clay, please visit his site or follow him on Twitter.


From @BilalSankofa

What does it mean to be black in 2010

The question asked pre supposes the answer given, and special attention must be paid to the questioner, their worldview, Knowledge of Self, Self-Concept, social awareness, spiritual insight, religious indoctrination & knowledge of the Amerikkkan/Western/Euro His-Story & an acute understanding of their place on the time table of the Amerikkkan experiment. The mere fact that such questions are still being posed in the year 2010 shows an absolute imprisonment of the minds of the questioner & answerer.

With that being said, I will not attempt to give credit to the question, but to discredit the validity of the question itself, by posing different questions in my conclusion.

Black is not a People, Black is not a color, black is not a culture, but BLACK is the ESSENCE of All People, Cultures & Colors. In 2010 just as in every other place & time of hue-mind existence; a secure & transformative innerstanding of the essence of oneself will either be the CURE or continued CONFUSION of a People, Place or Culture. To name a thing one must know its nature. To reclaim the essence of who & what Afrikan People, people of Afrikan Descent, Blacks, Colored’s, Negros & YES, The proverbial Nigga; to reclaim Our ESSENCE requires a Total Re-Afrikanization of our MINDS, BODIES & SPIRITS. To return to our Original NAMES and to begin understanding the importance & inherent power of Names and how they represent an individuals People, culture and spirit.

As Steve Biko so accurately stated, “The greatest weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the MIND of the Oppressed”

What “Black” People know of themselves is of far greater importance than what it means to be black in a particular year. We must come to know again that we are a Cosmologically, Spiritual people with a Constant Cosmological Connection to the ALL. European scientist have always understood that the hidden secret to the Afrikan & control of Afrikan people & culture lives in our SPIRIT, in our essential, innate connection to the Universe. They Know now, and have always known that we are controlled by spirit and if we are to be controlled by them then we must be controlled through misinterpretations of ourselves. As stated by one of their own Colonel Laurens van der Post in a 1954 meeting of the C. G. Jung Institute & The Psychology Club in Zurich:

“It is not we (Europeans) who are filled with Spirit and Soul, but rather the Afrikan people about us. They have so much of it that it over flows into the trees, rocks, rivers, lakes, birds, snakes & animals that surround them…they are humble parts of life and at one with it…Whatever happens to them, their lives are never lonely for lack of spirit nor do they find life wanting in meaning”

Through a systematic, political, religious & miseducational process of cultural disorientation we have been locked into a matrix of Isfet (disorder,chaos & lies). We have been misguided away from our socio-spiritual connection of Maat (Universal Order, truth, righteousness, balance, harmony, justice, reciprocity kwk…) into a global experiment of spiritless assimilation. Europeans in their quest for Our Spirituality, they have systematically and successfully, I might add; as Mwalimu K. Baruti stated: “…they (Europeans) have attempted both to become what we were/are and change us into what they were/are.” They have successfully sold this confusion through their “higher miseducational” political science channels. Nefariously stating that, “since we are all from Afrika, therefore, we are all the same and in their illogic, what belongs to us belongs to them”. While successfully miseducating us into “being afraid of & rejecting our own Afrikan Spirituality, they work diligently, spending countless amounts of time, energy, effort & resources to get “IT” for themselves. Like nature & everything in it they see spirit as a potential possession, as something to be invaded, as a wilderness awaiting their taming, as a weapon to be mastered”.

So in conclusion; I would ask each us to ask ourselvess:

What does it mean to be a free spirit trapped in a spiritless society? What does it mean to be Natural in an Artificial Reality? What does it mean to be a Communal being in a segmented, individualistic society? What does it mean to be a spiritual being in an environment that separates the Sacred from the Secular?

We are NOT Black in 2010. We are the ESSENCE of every time period. WE are the ESSENCE of what it means to be Hue-Mind-Beings; being at one with Nature & everything in it. We are NOT them & they are NOT Us. We are AFRIKAN Past, Present & Future.

Black People in 2010 and beyond: Let’s FREE OUR MINDS & SPIRITS and ALL UNIVERSAL ASSETS WILL FOLLOW.

Coach Bilal Sankofa A. Salaam

Transfromational Behavior Coach

President/CEO of Ankh Services Inc.


From @Cheymarlymom

“What Does It Mean to Be Black in 2010?”

Wow…I was really taken aback when I read this question in my email… It is entirely relevant to the dynamics of today’s social sphere, yet it’s not exactly a question I’ve ever attempted to answer myself or have sought an answer to from others. I mean I AM a Black woman, my family is Black…and every day of our lives we co-exist with other ethnicities on a basic human level. However, I suppose the unique experience of being Black in 2010 means that we are expected to subscribe to the belief that we are NOW on a level playing field with our white counterparts…I mean isn’t that the suggestion ?(sold in the main stream media at least..) The President of the United States of America is a Black man, doesn’t his status undo every atrocity suffered by Blacks…it’s all just null and void now right? Blacks have the sole responsibility of repairing all that is broken & wrong within our communities… Isn’t it the expectation? That we should recover independently from all of the detrimental contributions bestowed upon us in history. Is it too far fetched to assume that there is an implication that reparations are actually on us in 2010? Isn’t this the general consensus among Blacks AND non Blacks? You know… that all is forgiven, the past is the past and we should all be singing Kuummbaaayyahhh! Hence the idea of American being “post racial” or NOT… I digress… LOL (pardon my sarcasm)

In 2010 the playing field is far from level. For instance Blacks are STILL expected to and in many cases required to masterfully adapt and assimilate into the status quo (socially & culturally Euro centered capitalists driven ideals) without ruffling any feathers or making whites uncomfortable. The majority of Black people I know are chameleons. We are socially multi faceted…living double lives so to speak. Many of our cultural traditions (speak, attitude and appearance, norms and ideas) as they relate specifically to our ethnicity (excluding the obvious, our skin tone) are virtually undetectable outside of our comfort zones. We literally ‘role play’ as needed. We socialize ourselves differently in like and unlike company. We’ve learned that in order to compete professionally, and oftentimes academically, our interests are better served by being unlike our true most authentic and comfortable selves. On the contrary, White people are not subject to adapting to ‘our ways & norms’ or that of any other ethnic group (at least that’s what they don’t believe themselves to be doing *wink), and are hardly expected to behave other than they normally would when among non whites. Blacks are widely expected to exhibit what are perceived to be non threatening (non ethnic) practices so as to co-exist in the mainstream or status quo (aka remixed, borrowed chopped and screwed socially acceptable norms as re-defined & directed by whites…my personal definition). I suppose other non-White ethnicities may exhibit this dynamic existence as well, presumably more so among foreign born non whites. But those of us who are born of African ancestry are masters of deception on this front. We are basically burdened (from birth it seems) to dispel by practice every misconception, stereotype, or generalization negatively imposed upon us by virtue of having melanated skin… for the purpose of acquiring success/wealth/acceptance as defined by Eurocentric standards. If you think about it, Blacks that do not assimilate are characterized as being anti or negative, ignorant, angry or militant, as opposed to pro or positive, educated, and simply proud to be OURselves in 2010. Even in our entrepreneurial endeavors we tend to not support OUR own establishments as they oftentimes are characterized as NOT satisfying the status quo’s seal of approval, or at least the ideas/standards sold to us, that we have bought into…literally… unless they have been authenticated by the main stream…i.e. Hip-hop influenced popular culture…(Euro validated authenticity). I don’t want to insinuate that all Blacks in 2010 are brainwashed either because that is not the case (I mean this post is on OwlsAsylum J) …but there is an element of truth to what I’m saying that applies to the majority. If you’re not guilty of assimilating today on some level… you are indeed a minority in ways than the word generally implies…

So to me, being the cynic that I obviously am or maybe just Devil’s advocate on this topic (smile)… to discuss what it means to be Black in 2010 in its entirety, there must be some consideration of this aspect… a double life imposed upon Blacks even in this day and age. My husband says we are all basically “posers” (defined as someone who tries to fit into a profile they aren’t). Sure…He might be reaching, but is he really? Would it be a stretch to assume that President and Mrs. Obama’s success stories are heavily rooted in mastering this phenomenon? Or are we in actuality living up to the contributions of our ancestors? I mean Blacks are the originators of civilization, math, sciences, religion, technology etc…History proves that African ideas were pillaged, renamed & redefined… maybe in hindsight we are reclaiming what was taken…and not competing in Euro drag after all (see now, I’m reaching….LOL) but if that is the case, why are we STILL required to disassociate from the African part of OURselves to compete in a time when the leader of the free world is Black (mind you African…with an African name) in 2010…


From @UnkleBee

What Does It Mean To Be Black In 2010?

To be honest, when I first read this question I was a bit perplexed. I found myself struggling to decide what was significant about the year 2010, perhaps missing the point altogether. Previously, I had never associated my blackness with any sort of specific time period; maybe the here, maybe the now, but even those two spaces were ever-changing. Thus, my assessment of what my blackness meant today, might not be the same for when I evaluated on some future tomorrow. It was in this thinking that I found the answer to my question.

For me, being black in 2010 is the same as what it was for me in 1990 when I was six years old, and that’s being fluid. There’s a bit of irony, and even a little humor, in that: the only constant is being variable. I’m reminded of a quote from Bruce Lee that reads:

“Don’t get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; you put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”

I often feel that as a black person, specifically a black male, that I am encouraged, taught even, to adhere to an image set forth by society and my peers; this notion that there is one, true way to be black. Too white for the black kids, too black for the white kids; my upbringing in a suburban, middle to upper-class sect of white society only made my experiences with said advice that much more extreme. It was through these occurrences that I grew to find individuality in my commonality, while embracing my commonality through individuality.

Being black to me, in 2010, is a show of just how versatile and multi-dimensional I am. I was always told that black is strong, black is tough, black is deep, and so on. While I don’t disagree with any of these assessments, I still have never been a man of absolutes. I am not always strong, and I don’t think that I need to be. My strength, like many other attributes, is fleeting, changing, and adapting as the moment, in turn, changes. Sometimes my blackness is grey, sometimes white, but the variation of my hue is still cemented in the foundation of my color. Water can be as strong as a tsunami or as soft as raindrop, but it is always water, the most powerful of all the elements. I liken my blackness to that. My blackness is water.


From @WriterChanelle

On Being Black in 2010
Where do I start? There are so many different applications. A black person on welfare has had a different life experience than someone who is middle class and black. A black person from Baldwin Hills has led a very different life than the middle class black person. Each category carries with it a different frame of reference; and, that is just relating to class differences. When discussing the differences between people of differing cultural backgrounds, the issues become more stratified and emotionally charged. With the greater access into the political realm given to Blacks by the election of Barack Obama into the office of President of The United States of America, what it means to be black in 2010 has even greater complexity.

What it means to be black is difficult to state objectively because there is no common fact of Blackness. There are elements that are particular to cultures found within the Black Diaspora. There are also experiences that bond people of similar classes in the same living environments together. Some will attribute those to being black. I submit that if other races can co-opt something that a black person is doing or feeling, then it is not beholden solely to black people. Being black in 2010 is not to be poor and malnourished. It is not to be undereducated and underprivileged. It is not to be hopeful and motivated. Ultimately, being black is about finding and developing your goals in life and living to that end successfully while uplifting the next generation to do the same.

Therefore, being black in 2010 means you will feel that you may fit in everywhere and nowhere all at once. Depending on how you dress one day, you may be judged to be a certain type of black person. The same goes for how you speak, walk, spend money and eat. Being black in 2010 means being aware of all the stereotypes that surround blackness and defining yourself as an individual separate from those stereotypes, for choosing to fall in line with the stereotypes puts you in danger of being a different kind of black – the kind Chris Rock can’t stand.


From @Sail_ore_Moon

Black in 2010

Being black in 2010 means simultaneously having nothing and everything at your fingertips. Knowing the world is your oyster but realizing that it can clam up on you so fast that you may lose appendages. Black is so cold; black is always hot. Being black in 2010 is just as much O.J., as it is Barack. It is remembering how far we have come & visualizing how far we have to go. Indeed, it is just as much, affirmative action, as it is, Jim Crow. It is the sum our triumphs fused with the collection of our tears. The awesome above & the awful below, it is. Being black in 2010 means to be postmodern & stuck in the past. It means to strive for the more but, at times, be perfectly content with, the less.

We are carnivores, omnivores, & vegans. We are rappers, students, & scientists. We are democrats, republicans, & independents. We are well read, misread, & yes, even illiterate. We are geniuses, and sadly, we are fools. We at winners, well, until we lose. We are in love with one another just as we are in hate. We are evolving; we are staying the same. We are joy; we are pain. We are loss; we are gain. We are misrepresented, represented, & re- presented. We are just starting, and in ways, almost finished. We are the road less travelled; we are the highly trafficked path. We are science yet, we are math. We are in a bad way yet, never better. We are one but evenly, at odds with one another. We are nowhere and we are everywhere. We are the far reach, we are the neighbors near. But, most importantly, we are HERE!

~Venus I.L.


From @DrDia

MY TRUTH from Dr. Dia…What does it mean to be Black in 2010? To be Black in 2010 is to be a living contradiction. It’s being loved and hated; envied and despised; iconic and criminal; embraced and feared; a trendsetter and biter all at the same time. Being Black in 2010 is having every opportunity at your feet, while simultaneously being “at-risk” to fail. To be Black in 2010 is to be told “you don’t understand struggle” though your entire existence has been a fight. I was an Olympic torchbearer at 16, a published author with a doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology before age 30, and my family has been in America since the 1700s, but because I’m Black in 2010, this means little to many and I’m often viewed as inferior. When I look in the mirror, I see the eyes of my ancestors who were beaten, raped, and tortured but politicians, American history, “society,” and tea baggers subliminally tell me they never existed. Being Black in 2010 for some is a gift to change the world through social justice, technology, education, science, entertainment, and any other imaginable or unimaginable phenomenon; yet because the journey is wrought with pain, being Black in 2010 is a curse to others. It’s carrying 10 generations of pain from ancestors who endured unspeakable torture and terrorism, while enduring the reverberations of this oppression since the day of conception.

Due to these contradictions, being Black in 2010 is marked by hopefulness, sadness, confusion, brilliance, anxiety, joy, and rage. Being Black in 2010 is a journey through uncharted familiar territory, while facing unique well-known situations involving the vicious cycle of freedom, Jim Crow, slavery. Like it or not, being Black in 2010 is being a reflection of Hip Hop, THE rose that grew from the concrete. It’s holding your future in the palm of your hand, while trying to break the mold and think outside of a box covered by a glass ceiling. It’s staring at the world through your rearview, never forgetting where you’ve come from, or who shed blood to put you there, while always facing forward never backwards. Being Black in 2010 is pride, shame, vision, and blindness. And as the mother of four children, three sons and one daughter, I must navigate them through this maze of contradictions while teaching the lessons and values that will direct the lives of my descendents in 2110. Being Black in 2010 is REVOLUTION!


I am Dr. Dia…Black in 2010 and the author/developer of H.Y.P.E.: Healing Young People thru Empowerment (African American Images, 2009), a Hip Hop therapy program for Black teenage and young adult males engaging in disruptive, illegal, or nonproductive behaviors. H.Y.P.E. intertwines participant experiences with being Black in America, Hip Hop culture, and Black history. Learn more about me and H.Y.P.E. at www.letsgethype.com.