Issa Rae Is Tired of Talking About Race
Rae was inspired to start the hit web-series after reading an article about the lack of black female nerd characters on the big screen. Premiering in 2011, Rae used ABG as a vehicle to highlight not only the plight of having to navigate through new and uncomfortable situations, but also doing so, while black.
Though in a recent essay on Cosmopolitan.com, which is titled Can We Not Talk About My Race for a Minute?, Rae talks about her exhaustion with the constant conversations surround race, and the constant pressure to prove one’s level of blackness.
"I love being black; that's not a problem. The problem is that I don't want to always talk about it, because honestly, talking about being black is extremely tiring. I don't know how Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson do it. People who talk, think, and breathe race every single day — how? Aren't they exhausted?
The pressure to contribute to these conversations now that we have a black president is even more infuriating. "What do you think about what's going on in the world and how our black president is handling it?" asks a race baiter. "It's all good, I guess," I want to answer with a Kanye shrug. "I'm over it." But am I? Could I be, even if I wanted to?"
Rae goes on to highlight the pressure to validate her blackness not only by her non-black peers, but her black peers as well:
"Black people don't do that." Or so I'm told by a black person. These, too, are derived from stereotypes shaped by pop culture. The difference is that in these situations, we black people are the ones buying into the stereotypes."
She discusses her personal experiences with having to challenge stereotypes, like the fact she over-tips at restaurants in an effort to dispel the idea that black people are cheap. She gives her thoughts on the fact that news outlets feel the need to make documentaries highlighting the experience of minorities in America.
While the article is an adaptation from her book, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl (available February 2), Rae’s essay brings a thought-provoking perspective to the ongoing dialogue about race and it’s necessity.