The Bad Black

I’m not a good Black. I used to be.

When I was born, my dad said I reminded him of Jimi Hendrix due to my wild, curly afro; and loud, raspy scream. My father named me Randalyn: a compromise of my mom’s love of the name Lynne and his desire for someone named after him. “Randalyn” is on my birth certificate; but even then, my parents knew Randalyn’s resume would get passed over more quickly than “Randi’s” would, so I’ve always been called Randi. My molding into a “good Black” started immediately — in that hospital room.

A “good Black” is one who is acceptable to White America. Essentially, White people like the idea of hiring or befriending an ethnic person, as long as she is not “too ethnic,” “too different,” or in my case, “too Black.” The more like them you are; the more comfortable…

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