In having a conversation about my previous post, Excellent Black People, my friend Felicia brought up a good point, “sometimes successful black people are seen as exceptional even if they may not be”. I still believe that there is a prerequisite of extraordinary excellence for successful black people, but Felicia comment beings up another complication.
Personally, the assumption of my excellence often occurs. I believe that part of this is because I am intelligent, but to some degree it is because I am an anomaly, a Black male in graduate school. Sometimes people, of various races, view me as something different, something special, something that isn’t normal blackness. I am excellent because I am not like other black folk. I don’t think there is any malintent, but I do think that my success is somewhat inflated in the minds of some because of my ethnicity.
This limitation, that is real – if only in feeling -, is difficult. It isn’t that I wish to not be excellent, excellence is a noble pursuit. Rather, I wish to be excellent as a person, not a Black person.