Black v. White culture

Yesterday, half of the NAACP audience gave Mitt Romney a standing ovation after he addressed the convention. Extracting those members of the audience planted by the candidate, the remaining folk standing did so because that is what’s done in black culture.

Jonathan Capehart wrote about the “respect” shown by the audience in standing.Posted at 05:22 PM ET, 07/11/2012 Boos and respect for Romney at NAACP convention

In Sunday morning services all over the country you will see black audiences give standing ovations to children’s performances that clearly would have benefited with disciplined practice, because black culture (in my opinion) overly lauds the attempt; as opposed to the quality of a performance. How often have you heard in the last few days: Romney received “credit for showing up.”

I maybe be wrong for not standing when children give a lackluster performance; but when I see truly remarkable performances, I do stand in appreciation of the talent and hard work which resulted in an outstanding result. I attribute this to Biculturalism- black and white.

I believe that I am bicultural, as the term bilingual is applied to those who speak two languages. As a black girl raised in Harlem, NY by first generation college-educated, southern migrants, I was taught to be bicultural. I was educated at the premier Brearley School from sixth grade to graduation; then on to Princeton. My mother would often tell me, as I in turn would school my daughter: “I am not raising a white girl.” My mother would explain to me as she had to explain to Brearley, that they could not “stuff a square peg in a round hole” or vice versa. Daddy, for the mere twelve years of my life that he was alive, would teach me about the pitfalls of people getting “too big for their britches.” ( I originally responded to him with the question: why don’t they get bigger britches?”).

The school of Biculturalism gives hard knocks. Initially, it negatively impacts one’s self-esteem as you learn white culture. Then, since being black does not equate to being innately knowledgeable about black culture, you must continue your lessons in black culture. Black folk start to call you a “wannabe white” or not “down to earth” or “putting on airs” or “talking like white folk” and so on. You adapt, because these are important lessons. You have to filter the criticism – and you want to be able to fit in.

You learn not to be intimidated when you are the only black person in the room around white people. You sometimes serve as translator for either culture. I believe it is a duty. It helps to dispel ignorance in both cultures. But understand, I am no expert, although I have pedigree papers in white culture; as a former president of an HBCU once said, ” I am still working on my Master’s in blackness.”

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