Growing up in the rural town of Browns Mills, being a Black girl was like a dime a dozen; it held no signifying factors for me. Whether you were White, Black, Spanish, or any other group, the people I grew up with accepted everyone despite it. Such acceptance while enjoyable, did not fortify me for the later struggles I would confront after leaving the socially idyllic neighborhood. Since my town was accepting of everyone there was never a need to learn about or claim aspects of my diversity. My biggest personal claim to diversity in my childhood was the being great (many times over) granddaughter of to a Seminole Chief. Even this story, passed down through my family, was hard to prove. I had a disinterest in carrying over my families …show more content…
As a result, college became the first place I began to question “Who am I?” and “What am I?”. My self-identity was in great question; outside of “Black” I lacked further explanation. I was confronted by individuals who boasted cultural and national identifies that held both ancestral and historical significance to them. At the time I could say I had none of this. I was introduced to the cultural lines from around the world but also within my own race. They defined themselves outside of just being Black, claiming titles such as African-American, Bajan, Liberian, and Nigerian. This gave me a new definition and confusion on what titles I should use to define my cultural status. I began seeing my cultural background as a minority within a minority because of the lack of representation of Black-Americans in higher education. As a result of this racial similarity yet cultural diversity, that began to become blatantly obvious, I chose to learn about my history and begin to answer the questions Rutgers University created. I took classes in histories from all areas of the African Diaspora, the political implications of being a minority, and ultimately majored in Africana Studies, History, and Political Science. It was through this pursuit for my roots I found pride in my own unique Blackness.
Diversity means different things to different people, especially in this country. Before, I categorized myself based solely on my
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When I was young I didn’t really realize the impact of being African-American until high school. I went to a predominately white school for elementary and middle school. I was just like any other youth. I had my group of friends who were white; I was active in school activities and clubs. I was a student athlete and I got along well with my teachers. Everyone saw me as an upbeat person with a bubbly personality. Surprisingly, race was never brought up it wasn’t an issue for me during that period of my life. However, as I got older I realize there was a difference. As an adult I could really see the prejudice in others. I recall working a on a special project for the
"Good bye honey! Take care! Call us when you get there safely!" my mother cried. I can still hear those words as if it were yesterday and in reality it was fourteen years ago, that I packed up and left my small town back in southern New Jersey.
On the very first day of the class, Introduction to the Black Experience, we learned that people are defined by their culture and geography. We are also defined by the gaze of others and our own gaze. This realization led me to contemplate what the “black experience” means to me. As a first generation Haitian-American woman at Wellesley College, it has become clearer to me how important the language and culture of parents has been in shaping my identity. I have also begun to think more critically about how my identity as a woman of color separates me from black brothers as well as my white peers at Wellesley.
I learned early on not to judge a Jelly Bean by its color, and that it was an unrewarding practice to group together these individual candies because when not every bean fit into a color category, I forced it to. The same can be said for people. Each and every one of us are unique individuals, and it is virtually impossible to effectively ‘sort’ us into groups - even more so as our society progresses. Identifiers such as race, religion, sexual orientation - even gender - which we once used to group people together, now make up the many cracks in modern American society. It is this action of separating the Red Jelly Bellies from the rest that creates an almost immobile American mindset: you are a Red… you must be a cherry.
81% of Black adults reported that they have experienced at least one incident of day-to-day discrimination. And Adolescence is a stage in which to examine the impact of racial discrimination on the psychological part of African Americans (Racial Identity Matters). Which can cause a person to be scared expectably if someone has already confined in themselves of their race. "My siblings had already instilled the notion of black pride in me. I would have preferred that Mommy were black. Now, as a grown man, I feel privileged to have come from two worlds" (McBride 103). It was easier to accept the black
It was only a year ago when I was faced with making a very important decision that would affect me for the rest of my life. It was time for me to choose an institution of higher learning to continue my studies that would eventually lead me to my career. My decision wasn’t simply which university or college to choose, but as a young black student, whether to choose a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) or a Predominately White Institution (PWI). This would take me on an insightful journey and I would make my decision after discussing the pros and cons of both institutions and through interactions with students, faculty and staff. Before too long
Meet Rachel, a sophomore studying at Howard University who is also mixed with both black and white. Rachel transferred to the Historically Black University from a Predominantly White Institution because she felt as though she was not “white enough” and Howard would better suit her. Unfortunately upon her arrival, Rachel could not help but feel as though she was not “black enough” to attend Howard University. Rachel’s feeling of not belonging are not isolated, they are shared by millions of biracial Americans who, at one time or another, felt as though they did not belong to either culture. These feelings have been brought on, over time, by the way, America, although believed to be a “melting pot” of cultures, often wants people to categorize themselves as one ethnicity and the pressure placed on Americans to solely identify with one race divides the country more than anything else. The only way to rectify this problem is for Americans to stop separating themselves into racial categories and come together to be classified as simply American.
Thesis: Even with the creation of Black Studies as an academic discipline, the culture and influence of white dependency still seem to block people of color’s mental potential, and inherently their ability to progress as a group.
Growing up as an African American in Winchester was an experience. It was not unusual for me to be the only student of color in class or a sports team; which bothered me at times, but I learned to accept the issue and figure out a way to fit in. I began to mimic my peers’ behavior; I walked like them, sought out similar clothing brands, I nearly convinced myself I thought like them. I basically created a superficial mask to hide my visible difference. And it worked, but, once I entered my two bedroom apartment on the “bad” side of town. My mask dissipated.
For a short period of time or what would I say my high school years I was interested in law. I wanted to become a lawyer to fight both cases that impacted my life. When I moved to Pennsylvania and went to school where I was one of the few minorities, I realized that it was different. People’s views were very different. I was able to choose the classes I had wished to take. When learned about this I was more interested in school since this was a chance to experience and get taught subjects I found to be most interesting. Law was in fact my favorite subject. Lucky for me there were multiple classes offered for it. Since my freshman year to my senior year I had ended up taking a total of three Law classes. During this time of my life I had started to feel out of place in the school I had attended. Things that I had said or the way I had dressed was just not what they accepted, for example if I was not on the basketball team there should be no reason for me to be wearing certain brands of sneakers. Diversity never seemed to be accepted. I had the need to balance the culture in my life if that could ever make sense to the person that reads this. When trying to integrate my friends together, it never seemed to end well. My friends in white bodies would constantly talk down to my friends in colored bodies. They would always say negative comments about them. What they considered as
Introduction to African American Studies was the class that I decided to take this summer because I am genuinely interested in learning more about the cultures and lifestyles of African Americans through out history and I want to further my knowledge beyond just learning about what was taught to me in secondary school. I do not know much about African American studies as I have not taken any courses on it or relating to it in the past but I hope that I can gain a lot of information on the topic through out this intellectual experience. I also hope to gain a better understanding of the history of Africans and African Americas and be able to dive deeper into this topic instead of just hitting the surface as I feel as though my previous experiences with this topic have covered. In just this first weeks lesson I have learned about the three great principles that characterize the “Black Intellectual Tradition” and how these three principles are used and perceived.
Although I did not know why, I understood that I was different from my peers; for most of my childhood the black experience for me was denying the ‘black’ part of my identity. That weird obsession for elementary school kids to differentiate between being black and African was very prevalent in my black peers, which led to the suppression of not only a pride in my culture, but of the desire to learn more about it. All throughout elementary school, I was not only aware that I was different from those I did not look like, but also from those that I did. This was the trend for most of my adolescence, but it was not until I arrived at the University of Texas at Austin, that I was able to stand unashamed of all parts of my identity. As I became more
Five years and three days ago, in a little town call Tollasend were the sky is painted all color and never rest, Jazmine, Nathan, Grace, and myself were bowling on 13th Street. We only had a month left of summer before we had to go back to school. As Jazmine throw her last gutter of the game she came and sat with the rest of us to join the rest of the conversation. After a long egotistic talk about who is the best and smartest we get on the topic of what it means to be African-American. This was a very confusing topic for us because we were surround by white people and we have adopted their culture. An odd silent fell among us for a minute. Then, Grace spoke hoping that the odd silent well end. “Well, being black is like living in a cardboard box,” Grace explained. To this day I don’t know what she meant but, being black to me… well I really don’t know what it means to be black. After the we finished our conversation we walked how our speared ways:
Growing up, I always felt ashamed to be black because society had taught me that being black will not get you far. Until this course, I did not realize that I belonged to a community inside a community. After recognizing “what I am”, I began to think about all that goes into a black women not only in America but in the world. Countless “studies” have been
For instance, Altschul, in “Racial Ethnicity Identity in Mid-Adolescence” found that academic achievement and awareness of racism are factors of connectedness to one’s identity. (2006) Altschul explained that awareness of racism leads to self-consciousness and bring the question of to which group do I belong? Livingston( 2010) in “ Black Studies and Political Ideology as Predictors of Self-Esteem” stated that taking courses on Black studies gives positive image of Blacks and has a positive effect on the way Blacks see themselves and on the way non- black individuals taking these courses perceive African American. He emphasizes that black studies are an important factor of identity among African Americans. Rowley (1998) takes the same approach in his study. In “The Relationship between Racial Identity and Self-esteem in African American College”, Rowley’s major finding was that racial regard and self-esteem have a strong relationship in