A Black Woman’s Blues

IMG_0182

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

 

Advertisements

FACTS

IMG_0175       When I was younger, I didn’t identify myself as anything and I certainly did not think that I belonged to a particular group. In fact I was happy, I was lively and I was free. Free from labels, free from stereotypes and most of all free from awkward stares whenever I walked into a public place with my hands in my pocket. When I was younger, I didn’t see myself as “black”. I didn’t have to worry about being hated by people with lighter skin because my mommy did that worrying for me. I didn’t have to wake up every morning and pray to God that I wouldn’t experience a racial encounter and I definitely didn’t express concern in being treated any different from my peers. I am not young anymore. I am twenty, I am female, I am black, I am middle class, I am a college student, I am a victim of several crimes, I am, I am, I am… My point is, I identify myself as many things now.

          I never understood what it truly meant to be discriminated against until I experienced it first hand. Of course, I was taught very few details in school about what discrimination meant. However, I was never taught about how it was going to affect me personally. No one ever told me that my skin color was going to make a difference in a job that I was going to apply for, in fact in this day and age. “No one” thinks that issues such as that still (they shouldn’t have occurred in the first place) occurs. But they do and as an African American female I suffer from them in my everyday life.

          Though Discrimination is something that I try to avoid, it is something that is common in my life. Sometimes when I am discriminated against, I know that it was not done purposefully but other times I know in my heart that the act was done intentional. I hate that my skin color is a determining factor in my life when it shouldn’t be. I know that there are a number of people who have faced the same issues that I have and that’s a huge problem. I want to be able to do a number of things without worrying if I will be fully accepted because I am “black”.

          I believe that our skin, gender, religion or any other thing that acts as a line of division such as ethnicity shouldn’t determine who we are or what we do. It shouldn’t count against us because we are bigger then the labels that are placed upon us. People like me, or minorities didn’t choose to be who they are. We were born this way and because of that we should be accepted this way. Being different doesn’t make us any less or incapable, but it do limit us in a number of ways which has resulted in our failures.

-Ms. Taylor Robinson

Darkness

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”.

IMG_0164

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

“The Angry Black Woman”

IMG_0200As 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 .