Every time I’m in public I get a big blank stare.
Not because they like me
But because of my hair
They ask me so many questions
Like “How did it get so tall?”
But, I just look away and purposely ignore them all
Their ignorance to my culture isn’t my fault
My hair has become the topic of conversations
My skin has been too
They ask without speaking
Can I get my hair like that too?
My hair isn’t an experiment
Nor something that’s just cool
And don’t ask me how to fix it
Or if I can lend you rules
Don’t ask if you can touch it
Or say “it’s so soft”
Because it’s not a practice or theory
Or something you just do
It’s the way God made me
And I’m just that cool
My hair is different
But, I like it that way
It’s so very interesting
So it can stay
So, the next time I’m in public
And you send me a awkward stare
I’ll look past your wondering eyes and silent wipers and I’ll laugh
Because I’ll know it’s because of my hair
-Ms. Taylor Robinson
When I was a little girl, I started writing poetry. It has always been something that I did blatantly simply because I knew I was good at it and because I loved to perform . However; as time progressed I began to take the art more serious. It became my therapy and something that I needed to do on the daily bases. At one point in my life all I knew was poetry. That’s how important it is to me. I just think that it is amazing how words can come together and create such a positive vibe in a single setting. I’ve never been so motivated to do anything beside write.
I wrote the poem below about a week ago. The day I wrote it, I was a little sad and overwhelmed. I remember sitting down at my kitchen table with a pen and a notebook. At that moment, I asked myself “What is truly bothering you?” I felt dark and gloomy. Although I knew that this feeling was temporary , deep down inside I had to acknowledge the issue. Which was that my sunshine and happiness was being overshadowed by darkness. Once I came to terms with that, I wanted to find my happy spot again , so I wrote “Darkness”.
The darkness overclouds my sunshine every time
I can feel the darkness running through my blood line
I’m tired of my blood lying
Just to save my tears
Cry me a river
This happiness cannot glow
let me go
let me grow
This darkness have become way too bold
It leaves my mind then takes control
Begging to be free
Just to breathe
Just to see
This darkness seems so cold
Let me live
Let me learn
This darkness isn’t just my monster
It’s my light that’s way to dim
Won’t leave the decision to them
Not her, nor him
This darkness is my light
So one day, my will darkness shine bright.
-Ms. Taylor Robinson
As a young African American woman, I have faced a number of difficult challenges that lead me to reevaluate and critique my life. From the way I presented myself in a social settings to how I carry myself as a young woman I have always tried to present myself in a way that attracted positive attention. However; that attention wasn’t always easy to obtain. In fact, I was constantly reminded to watch my attitude, the things that I said, my body language and the tone of my voice. Initially, I didn’t understand because for the most part the actions that I was being told to watch, were the same actions that I used to express myself. However; eventually I learned that I had to comply simply because the world viewed me as an “angry black woman”.
Black women are considered a minority group because we possess less power, privilege and are limited on a number of opportunities. The phrase “angry black woman” has been around for decades. However; in today’s society it is known as the act of a African American woman expressing angry emotions. This includes her facial expression, reactions towards situations and her personality. For so long we have been stigmatized as angry because we differ from white women. In earlier years, the white race was considered superior. This lead to the development of standards that specifically fitted white men and women, and if anyone was culturally different or didn’t fit the standards they either weren’t accepted or they simply had to conform. Therefore; society’s perspective towards African American women was negative because they possessed traits and skills that were typically uncommon among white women. This trend still occurs today because black women are still stigmatized as angry or not equal to white women or men.
Being stigmatized as a black woman has effected me and a number of my family and friends in several ways. First and foremost the media portrays a negative image of us, sending off messages that seems like the only emotion we have is anger. Traits such as bitter, and rude are consistently pinned on black women, leaving other Americans to view us as indignant.
The problem with this is that as African American women, we all don’t have an attitude. However; that doesn’t change the labels and stereotypes that we are constantly up against. These negative connotations affect the future for black women in a negative way. One being that the stereotype may never change and black women will always be perceived as angry which would lead to the a constant battle racial sexism .