Welcome to the free world where we can pretty much wear what we want. Sure, women have been thrown off of flights for their shorts apparently being too short, and we focus more on how much Michelle Obama’s gifted designer dresses cost than reducing the deficit in the media, but we generally get to choose how we present ourselves to the world.
I choose black. All day, every day.
I don’t wear black because I’m curvy and I want to hide, or because it is a slimming color. I wear black because I like it. Is that so hard to comprehend?
Every time I wear a color other than black, it is not an invitation to remark on the fact that I have decided on a non-neutral for my outfit that day. When people say, “Oh my goodness, you’re wearing something that doesn’t look like you’re going to a funeral,” I want to retort, “Congratulations – you aren’t colorblind! Be grateful because I know a few people who are.”
Black has been proven to be associated with qualities I want to portray in a variety of studies. I don’t wear black because of these studies, but they do support my decision to don myself in a color that I adore.
Black is associated with a greater sense of confidence. Black is a color of power. Of respect. A color of luxury. Intelligence. Those are things that everyone wants to portray, but they are especially important to me right now.
There’s a scary world out there where individuals who look like me are being targeted. It’s frustrating and scary. My friends of all colors have reached out to me to make sure that I’m okay. Some days I am, and some days I’m not. I find comfort in a lot of different things, but I also find comfort in some consistency when things get turned upside down.
Confidence, power, respect, and luxury are things that a lot of people of color don’t have right now. A select few do, but many individuals feel disempowered daily. How brilliant is it that we can change our mindset and the way that people view us as intelligent human beings simply by the way that we dress? This is not a suggestion that racism is going to go away by choosing to wear certain colors, that would be inane.
But I want people to view me as I am, wearing the color I love that matches the race I was assigned. A color that is associated with brilliance. The way I dress is an addition to my excellence which is protest against all of the awful things that are said about people who look like me.
So, pardon me if I choose not to rock the pink and green that I earned in undergrad. I am not defined by whether or not I choose to slip into blue or beige.
Whether it is for ease, comfort, or prowess, I choose black. I choose it for me.
It’s beautiful that you get to choose for yourself too.