Deer Peer: What is “Being Black”?

The MSU Spokesman

Dear Peer,

This past week I was watching the premiere of the new show “Black-ish” with my roommates in Blount and we had this whole discussion about being black. I’m a freshman from Dallas, Texas and the last 5 weeks here in Baltimore have been hard, but only because I miss good food.

People keep telling me I act like a “white girl” because I don’t listen to a lot of hip-hop music and because I don’t like the homecoming lineup. I grew up around white kids in school and I had a lot of white friends so I guess because I hung around them they must’ve “rubbed off” on me. My roommates and classmates have been saying you “act white girl…”, “Why you talking so damn country? You sound white.”

I guess my question/concern is: What is being black? What do we consider being a standard for blacks here at Morgan State, because so far I don’t match? I don’t have nor have I ever worn a weave or these constant “Poetic Justice”-styled braids that I see every week. So if someone could please help me and tell me how should I proceed with this?


Black not “Black”


Dear Black not “Black”,

Well first, you need to ignore your roommates. I know it’s hard, especially because you all share a room together, but unless it is a general concern that effects the nature of your living space, you do NOT need to value their opinion about your personality.

I happen to be from Baltimore and I still go through the same things that you’ve encountered so far. I myself have been accused of acting “too white” simply because I know how to pronounce my ‘E’s and R’s’ in words or because I listen to music other than the typical trap-hop trash that has become of rap music now, but that is just a part of who I am. I know I’m black, I don’t need to act or dress in a certain manner to be considered such– again, it is who I am, whether or not someone who claims they’re “keepin’ it real” thinks and that is how you should feel.

There is NO standard for what we consider “black”  at Morgan, and if there was you don’t need to follow it to feel comfortable in your own skin. The culture here at Morgan is different, not everyone follows the stereotype of the typical HBCU student, nor should you; we are all different, no one person is the same so believing that you need to follow a possible “campus-wide standard” for being black is nonsense.

You need to continue to work on yourself and accept yourself for you are. I personally know it hard to fit in when you are the odd man or woman out but that is ok because in time you find people who feel the same way you do. You need to explain to your roommates that this your way of living and thinking; make apologies to no one. And to anyone else who feels that way, avoid them or ask them the question that I ask people who question my ‘blackness’—“What exactly have you done for the black community?”

Good luck,

Your Peer

Pleas send your questions or comments to [email protected].