Next Big Futures article The first time I saw a white jacket, I had to ask myself: Why?
Is it white?
Does it make me look like a black man?
When I saw that white jacket for the first time, I immediately thought: This is not white.
It is very white.
But I wanted to wear it because I wanted people to know I’m not a black woman, that I’m an American.
This white jacket is part of my identity.
My blackness is not something that I have to explain to people.
But black people who are born black are not white people.
So I wear white.
When I wore white I thought it was going to make me feel white, but it wasn’t.
When my white jacket became part of who I am, it made me feel more like a human being.
It was something I didn’t have to hide.
I wore a white button-down shirt, but I had no problems wearing a white coat.
When the white jacket came out, I started wearing it all the time.
I had the black jacket, the white coat, the black and the white, the all-white.
I’ve worn it to the office, to church, to work.
I was wearing it to my son’s basketball games, and it became part and parcel of his identity.
The jacket is my self.
When we started talking about the jacket, he asked, “What are the other things that I can wear on my head?”
I said, “A hat, black and whites.”
He said, Well, that’s your head.
“I said: No, that doesn’t work.
The hat didn’t work either.
I just had to make the jacket work for me.
I think the white is the most important thing about me.
That white jacket was a part of me, and that is why it has been with me through everything that has happened in my life.
My grandmothers clothes are white.
My parents clothes are black.
My father’s shoes are black, too.
The white is part and sum of my life, and I’m proud of that.
I wear it every day.
I have a white collar and black pants, and my shoes are white, too, and they make me white, I am white.
That is what I have always been.
I am not ashamed to be white.
I don’t have any fear about wearing a jacket.
When people see me wearing a black jacket I see it as an endorsement of white.
Because white is a part and consequence of being black.
Black is not a part, it’s the result of being white.
The only time I ever feel ashamed to wear a white shirt is when I’m wearing a dress and I have the black shirt on.
The black is part, the consequence of wearing a suit.
When you have a black suit on, the color of your suit does not matter.
I look great wearing a blue suit, and if I’m in a white suit, I look fabulous.
So when you’re wearing a brown jacket, you can’t be proud of your blackness.
I can be proud, but not of it.
I want people to see me as a human.
I like to think that I am more than white.