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    Posted November 19, 2012 by
    Nashville, Tennessee
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Being black in 2012

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    Being the "Token Black Guy"


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     achavis09 is a medical student in Nashville, Tennessee, who grew up in what he considers white culture. As a child, he remembers being treated differently because of his race. He recalls throughout his childhood being used in photographs and being asked to speak on panels to make things appear racially diverse or so that the minority voice could be heard. He told me that as a kid, he grew up without much of a racial identity but identified more with his white peers and remembers being rejected by his black peers. 'I grew up being who I was, and that wasn't defined by any list of requirements or rigid prerequisites,' he says.

    'Being black in America in 2012 means that you are allowed to be who you are. As the dream and the hope of the slave, it's our job to be the best you can. And that means different things to all of us. The most infuriating thing for me is when I tell someone that I am going to be a doctor or that I am in medical school, and they say "Oh really?" or some other surprised response, as if being black only allows me with so much achievement,' he says. 'As African-Americans, we come in all shapes and sizes, all temperaments and flavors, and we can accomplish anything.'
    - Jamescia, CNN iReport producer

    I grew up in Iowa, and while I don't regret any aspect of my childhood, it took me a long time to figure out what it meant to be black. And it was tough, because frankly, I was rejected by much of the black community because I wasn't "black" enough. I wasn't white, but I wasn't exactly "black" either. I say "black" because I, and much of the community, was using a rigid definition that I couldn't make myself fit into. After a bit of an identity crisis, I realized that I was who I was, and though I am an African-American and proud of it, I'll never be what my notion of "black" was. And coming to that conclusion was the best thing I could have done. Because it freed me from my identity-less existence and allowed me to be myself and to be happy.
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