chapter  16
ITALIANI/AFRICANI
WithRONNIE MAE PAINTER, ROSETTE CAPOTORTO
Pages 9

My Black self has always been obvious by the way others perceive me and the low expectations they have of me. But the notion of being white seems ridiculous. I have the so-called "better hair" but still nappy, my skin is brown, and my consciousness follows. What makes me Italian? Surely not the store security guard who follows me up and down the aisles to make sure I'm not slipping the salami down my pants or the tomatoes into my bra. What makes me Italian are my eyes and my mouth. If you look very closely at my eyes, you'll see Italy in them. From my mouth you'll hear my mother, Beatrice. I say what I want, when I want, to whomever I want. If you couldn't tell I'm Italian by those two features, you'd better, because when my mouth starts telling you what I want, watch out for my arms. They'll be flying with such enthusiasm you have to step out the way for fear of a serious injury.