Dear Little Black Boy and Girl; You’re Perfect Just the Way You Are

o-BLACK-CHILDREN-facebook Dear Little Black Boy and Girl; You’re Perfect Just the Way You Are
I read this week about a prominent teacher in Chicago telling little black boys they had a greater chance at success in life if they conformed. Cut their hair, have names that are more pronounceable, be more humble. If you do these things you’ll get people to like you more; give you more opportunities. You know what I’ve learned, stop asking people for opportunities and start taking them.

I grew up going to the largest African American school district in the country. North Forest ISD located on the Northeast side of Houston, TX. All my teachers were black, the parents, the students, the coaches. Demez felt like a normal name. It wasn’t until I started applying for colleges that I realized it wasn’t so normal. It wasn’t until my first summer interning for an engineering company and everyone wanted to call me D that I started to notice, “maybe my name is different.”

There isn’t one meeting I walk into or one email I send where someone doesn’t ask how to pronounce my name. Even though we live in a global society where Africans, Asians, Hispanics all have names that aren’t “traditional American.” Though yet and still my name is “unique.”

I learned early on something that has stayed with me every day since. People will look for reasons not to like you, not to give you the job, not to want to be impressed by you. I don’t care if you cut your dreads or change Demez White to D. White. I don’t care if you come to work on time every day and never make a mistake. You can’t conform or blend in enough. The only way they respect you is to be impressive. Is for you to wear your confidence, to know what you’re doing. To be professional and to not back down from ignorance but to face it head on.

The first time I sent my novel to a publisher they told me it was really good. In the next paragraph they told me that if I changed writing name to D. White or David White I could get more of a readership. At that moment I thought, “I’m going to have a son one day and I want to take his little hand and take him to Barnes and Noble or sit him on my lap while we’re online. I want to show him the books his father wrote and I don’t want to have to explain to him why my name isn’t on those books.” Our little black boys and girls are different from how we were but different styles, different lingo, it shouldn’t take away from how amazing they are. If only we nurture them and stop trying to teach them to fall in line.

You can be whoever you want to be. No matter your size, height, color, hair style or financial upbringing. You can get into the college you want to get into no matter your name, no matter your hairstyle, you just have to want to work for it. There are going to be people that look like you and people that look like complete strangers that will tell you otherwise. Don’t listen to them. Let your creativity flourish and let it mold you to be everything I believe you can be.

I thought I was a bright child. I never got in trouble, made great grades. When I was in the 9th grade I remember staying up late watching a Chris Rock stand up special. I’ll never forget what he said in a joke, “If you have a name where people have to double take to ask you how to pronounce it, you’re ghetto. If you call your grandma mama, you’re ghetto. If you can’t call your daddy on the phone because you don’t know his number, you’re ghetto.” I remembered laughing and then I remembered I fell into all three of those categories. I didn’t feel ghetto, I didn’t feel like I didn’t belong but in that moment I felt sad that I didn’t have a regular name. That I didn’t go on summer vacations with my mom and dad.

My name is Demez, I’m the product of an 18 year old mother, no father. I was raised by my grandparents and went to one of the worst high schools in the State of Texas. I failed out of college my first year and almost failed out of Community College. I allowed people to call me D when I first started working because I thought Demez was ghetto. I didn’t have a bank account until I was 21 and my credit was in ruins by the time I was 24. I didn’t remotely get my life together or start being proud of where I came from or who I am until I was almost 30. I tell you this because if I can’t make the mistakes I made and come from where I came from at this age. Then I know you can at 15, 16, 18. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that your name or hairstyle or origins make you less than. Don’t ever believe that you’ve messed up so much, that you can’t come back from that. I promise you; you can.

Demez White

My Definition of A Woman… Wait, How Can I Define A Woman?

Author Demez F. White

Author Demez F. White

My Definition of A Woman… Wait, How Can I Define A Woman?

Do you know exactly what you want? Have you thought about it and dreamed about it and pleasured yourself to everything from how she’s going to look to what she’s going to be wearing. Have you defined exactly what you want from her and what she’s going to do for you?

I know I have. I’ve thought about it often and if I’m being honest, in doing that I’m doing myself an injustice. One of the coolest things about women is that none of them are exactly alike. Sure, women can dress alike and talk alike but each person is just interestingly different. So why are we trying to define them?

Some of the best relationships and friendships of my life have come when I got to know women that were outside of my comfort zone. I’m a confident man but I can be quiet at times; I like to sit down and survey the room, listen to the conversation before I get in and give my opinion. That life of the party, let’s take shots woman, knows everyone’s name woman. That’s not what I saw myself with until I actually talked to her and fell in love with her and got inspired by her. It may not have lasted but it helped me become a better man, I better writer.

My definition of a woman isn’t what she does or what she wears. It isn’t that we have to have sex this many times or she needs to cook that many times. My definition of a woman isn’t anything I can define. When she walks into a room do I smile as though my direct deposit just hit on a Friday when I wasn’t expecting it until Monday? Does she respect her mother, laugh with her sisters, have friends that trust her? If I can’t write does a text from her telling me something silly or freaky or funny inspire the words to jump off the page? These are the questions I ask myself, not before I meet her, this isn’t an interview. These are the questions I ask when I’m falling in love and I don’t know about you but I can’t put falling in love in any sort of category nor can I define it. I just know it feels perfect.

A woman should be, wait, that doesn’t sound right. A women needs to be, stop, that doesn’t sound right either. A woman is perfect if she’s, if she’s what? Many men, including myself have become experts in what a woman should be. How she should dress, how she should act, what she should do with her vagina and hair and career. It’s not hard really, all it takes is an opinion, and we all have them. What I’ve seen lately however is the habitual destruction of individualism and creativity.

By giving a woman a definition, a standard she has to meet or else, aren’t we, aren’t I, taking away the very thing we love about most women. That piece of them that separates them from the last woman we dated. Yes, there will be general characteristics we’re attracted to. I love women that are witty, sexy, geeky but confident but does that mean I need to define every other aspect of what I want out of her? Instead defining I’m just going to start enjoying.

The next time you get ready to compare a woman to another woman or tell the world why these sorts of women suck or these sorts are amazing. Just remember we’re defined by our actions, not anything else.

Demez F. White