Black People: Racialized and Normalized in 2013

19 Feb

Moving through my week, attending classes, taking notes and remaining busy as though I had no option but to do so I wondered what my first post could and would be about. I paid close attention to comments I’d overhear in the dining commons, I took extra care to understand the topics and issues discussed in the Ethnic and Gender Studies classes, and I tried to go back in my own mind to moments where as a black woman I was exoticized, racialized, profiled, stared at, judged, forgotten– for lack of a better term, oppressed.  With all of these things in mind I wondered still, ‘how can I express to everyone the ways in which I now know my black is beautiful? How can I tell a story of empowerment, enlightenment, and knowledge in a way that others will be able to swallow wholly?‘ I was honestly conflicted by this because when you care about something so passionately as I do this subject, you want its presentation to be perfect so that others will become just as passionate as you. And then, in my struggle to find a starting point, I remembered something a speaker I went to see earlier that week said to his audience. He said, “Black people have to learn to understand the way that media and society today makes them only good from the waste down and white people from the waste up — black people are good in bed, good at running, and will kick your ass, while white people are educated, intelligent, and wise.” When this man said that I had to take a step back and say ‘hmm…he has a point.‘  Outside perspectives of the way black people are supposed to speak, look, behave, learn, grow is so commonly distorted today and people just digest those stereotypes and assumptions all the while degrading people of color.

This is really such an interesting dynamic because in all honesty, black people and people of color in general do this to each other as well. the whole notion that one can “sound” or “act” white lessens the intellect of people of color. The phrase that is so commonly thrown around in communities of color of a woman having “good hair” all the while making the presumption that black women have “bad” hair. All of these ideas about what a black person is supposed to be is internalized. Young black girls take in the way they are supposed to dress, speak, and behave based upon outside perspectives, and that perpetuates the problem. The point of this post is not to give you a full-blown lesson though. This post’s purpose is to say out loud and to anyone who has ever doubted that my black is surely beautiful because I have the ability to defy all of the misguided stereotypes and expectations of what a young black woman is supposed to be, and others can tell. my hair is unique to me, the way I speak is most certainly unique to me, my goals are defined by the unique way I was raised. What’s more, is that this is not just true for me, it is true for all other people of color as well. All over people are defining themselves on their own terms. And how is that NOT something beautiful?

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One Response to “Black People: Racialized and Normalized in 2013”

  1. Nate February 20, 2013 at 8:35 pm #

    amazingly powerful
    thoughtful
    inspiring

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