So Good At Being Bad

Bad as is in “damn, that’s a bad mamjama,” but bad as in “bad black,” in direct opposition to the “good black,” who is expected to assmiliate into popular American culture to be successful. A black person who attempts to separate themselves from the larger black community, the “exception,” to how black people are expected to behave. (As dicussed in The Good Black written by Paul Barett). As a young, queer, happily out black girl growing up in the West End of Atlanta, making me certaintly out of the grace of being recognized as a good black, and being carted across town to the predomnatly white private school, where I was then deemed an eloquent and ambitious, good black. I know about being viewed upon as both a “good black” and a “bad black.” I prefer bad. That’s who I write for, the bad blacks. The blacks who are seen unkempt, excel at making others uncomfortable due to their unwillingness to compromise their truth. For me that means kissing whoever I’m dating in public, sometimes wearing obnixously long blonde braids past every vertebrae of my back, unfit for any “professional environment,” speaking my fluent AAVE whenever I want to feel the first language prickle the top of my tounge, reading and committing Audre Lorde, Bell Hooks, Maya Angelous and all the other mother queens who encourage the inherent badness, and last, but certainly not least, piecing together and fully believing a queer community of color built upon love and trust can thrive whether they choose to be good or bad.


2 thoughts on “So Good At Being Bad

  1. this is great stuff!! keep going! I’m currently reading Hemphill’s Brother to Brother and recently read Pat Caplan’s The Cultural Construction of Sexuality, and both of these texts deal, in their own way, with issues around the performance of identities (sexual, social, ethnic etc.)..I love the idea of the bad black – non-conformist, questioning, talking-back, oppositional as necessary.


    1. Thank you so much! I will be sure to jot both of these titles down. I am always looking for new books that reaffirm the importance and necessity of clinging to one’s truth. As a person who lives in the margins, I realize that people are going to cast judgments regardless, so you may as well be honest to yourself. People and opportunities will arise who value you in just that manner.


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