Angela Rye: I always knew I was black
Cable News Network (CNN)
Angela T. Rye
Angela Rye is a CNN political commentator, NPR political analyst and CEO of IMPACT Strategies, a political advocacy firm in Washington. She is also a former Congressional Black Caucus executive director and general counsel. You can follow her on Twitter @angela_rye and on Instagram @angelarye. This is part of the “First time I realized I was black” series. The views expressed are her own.
(CNN)I never had a moment of realization about my blackness — I just was. Blackness was a central thread of my experience as a child and as an adolescent, as it is now that I’m an adult.
It seemed like my father knew everybody in Seattle, where I was raised. When he and I would walk down the street I remember people would regularly ask him how he was doing. He would respond without missing a beat: “You know, just out here fighting this racism, man.”
My mother worked really hard to ensure that I had black dolls (of all hues), black books by black authors, and my personal favorite: a poster from the 1975 Anheuser-Busch Great Kings and Queens of Africa collection (of course, she removed the beer logo). She would regularly have me name family members and friends who looked like each of the queens and kings on the poster…
…Indeed, with every instance of systemic oppression, black people have demonstrated an uncanny ability to succeed and excel — from Black Wall Street (a name given to a economically thriving black neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma, during the early 1900s, which helped the black dollar circulate 36 to 100 times before leaving the community) to working diligently to elect the first black president. …
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