"Being Black is Like Wine, Only Gets Better with Age."

Let me start by saying being black is the greatest, most rewarding thing ever, but I would be lying if I didn’t say being black had its hardships as well. When you were in your Mom’s stomach some of the world already judged you just by the color of your skin. For me, it begins with the flip of a coin on what to wear because yes, “this hoodie looks so nice” but on the other hand you're presumed a hoodlum, thug, trouble maker; a threat. It’s sad because it’s a jacket with a hood.

Changing the way you talk or act is not even a thought that crosses your mind but does not offend anyone and or create a stereotype. Getting a job is damn near impossible; My first thought when meeting a person or applying for jobs is “gee I hope they aren’t racist.” I have to work extra hard. I feel being black means the rest of the world already has an idea of who you are.

Dating and being married to another culture is also challenging. The first thing I wondered when I met my now wife was “does she date black guys?” My wife is a Hispanic woman and it has been a lot to learn and endure culturally between the stares, comments, and offensive racial jokes. The continuous questions of paying separately knowing you walked in with your spouse holding hands; it’s sad.

I have been blessed with a biracial son. Watching him evolve tells me I did everything right as a man. My son is a living testament of love and a representation that hate can only be taught. My wife and I have our work cut out teaching him right from wrong, how to love and not hate, and how to treat people the way they should be treated. In the past, I’ve cried many tears because of all the things that I’ve endured as a black man and knowing the same things my son will have to endure as being of a mixed race.

Being black is like wine, only gets better with age.

I love being black. I am a persistent underdog. Our culture, with our backs against the wall, we always strive and conquer. We win despite the shackles that used to hold us; nothing can hold us or break us down. Black is beautiful. Black is bold. Black is wonderful. Black is awesome and I am proud to be who I am and what I am; a black man.

Tony Johnson