This post includes personal poetry.
“Well you’re a wanna-be, wanna be better than me!”
Imitations of whiteness and deletion of blackness you say?
But how must one move forward
Without degrading one’s self to attain things
Did not have
Can not want
Were not inherently given
I don’t mind being black, I really don’t
but I do mind what comes with being black
The blackness that is all consuming without control
I straighten my hair
Not because of the hate I have for the
unyielding curls that restrict my social mobility
Their strength will be my downfall
The curls grow upwards and outwards towards the sun, towards God
But God doesn’t rule here
Man rules and mans feet are planted on the ground
An infertile obstinate ground stronger than that of my hair
But for the love of ease that is spread through my veins from the root of my hair as the heat consumes every breath of resilience and opposition
My curls loosen and weaken to welcome my new found domination
Domination of my definition
The heat is inescapable
But it shatters me, everything within me
And puts me back together in a different order
An order of my favor
I don’t mind being black, I still am aren’t I?
But my blackness is now palatable, smooth, silky
Restrained, subdued, refracted
I don’t mind being black
But I do mind
The wanna-be and jigaboo conflict has been deemed one of superficial themes whose depth is skin-deep. The action of being a wanna-be or a jigaboo is done irrespective of skin color, nor is this decision one of inconsequential repercussions. The hair the and the clothes they wear are the physical manifestation of a predetermined, postcolonial political identity in which one must decide to adhere to a specific portrayal of blackness, and specifically black femininity. The wanna-bes specifically become one of intense judgment and scrutiny due to the initial indications of aspiring to whiteness and white ideals. Because Spike Lee makes a conscious decision to include women of multiple skin tones within both groups and therefore disproving the simplicity of that theory.
Fact: The wanna-bes don’t want to be white.
Fact: They just want to be better than the jigaboos.
But what does that mean within the context of blackness? The wanna-bes are very concerned with attaining the highest social level possible. They straighten their hair, wear what some would say are “quieter, more pleasing to the eye” colors. But they aren’t trying to please white people. They are attending an HBCU so its not as if they are ashamed on their blackness. The wanna-bes have realized that because whiteness has come to be defined through the lens of power and domination, they have chosen to use that same structure within the black community to redefine themselves in order to evoke that same response from others. Is this perpetuating a very dangerous culture? Can social mobility interpersonally and intrapersonally be attained only through the imitation of whiteness?